“An aspirational home away from home for time-poor people”: Ed Potter, Thissaway

BHN speaks to Thissaway creative director Ed Potter about the revamp of Hotel Du Vin’s Bistro Du Vin brand, the rebrand of TA Hotels to The Hotel Folk and competition from serviced apartments.

  • Why is good design so vital to ensure boutique hotels stand out from the crowd?

Boutique hotels can thrive on being curators of style through good design. Especially to more visually-led and digitally-savvy audiences. Good design helps to add personality to inspire credibility, make aspirational and crucially, create the unique experience today’s travellers seek. Acting as the antidote to the large, uniformed and more corporate hotel chains, design is a channel in which hotels can tell stories of locality, independence and cultural relevance – all reasons why guests should choose you over someone else.

  • How do you ensure boutique hotels get their message heard quickly and clearly in the modern age?

Strong branding and intelligent use of creative are great ways to land messages efficiently. Good design should do much more than just look pretty, it should immediately say something about you. Then when it comes to getting your messages out there, a little bit of creativity can help grab people’s attention. Think of all the fun ways brands are making use of animation, short form video, infographics or imagery. To engage people for longer, content is becoming increasingly more interactive or challenging audiences to think. It’s important to embrace all the changes and challenges with reaching people – there’s a lot of noise, so we all need to work harder than ever to get heard. 

  • In January, you refreshed Hotel Du Vin’s Bistro Du Vin brand. What can you tell us about that?

Hotel Du Vin recognised the need to emphasise the independence and quality of their bistros with increasing competition from restaurant chains. To make the bistros local destinations rather than just the hotel restaurant, we created the Bistro du Vin identity – distinct from, yet sympathetic to their core hotel brand. The logo makes use of a clean, classic typographic treatment free from corporate overtones.

With a focus on simplicity and authenticity, design elements were combined to evoke the all-important human touch. The overall brand features hand etched illustrations and a typewriter font to add personality, permanence and heritage with a sense of value and craft. 

Featured across menus, signage and promotional materials, the singular iconic use with strong colours and natural paper stocks all help to create impact and inspire confidence.

  • You recently rebranded TA Hotels to The Hotel Folk to focus on Folk members and guests. Why is it so important for boutique hotels to invest in people?

It’s important both internally and externally. In the first instance, it creates a brand people want to work for. In turn guests benefit from the staff’s enthusiasm and dedication in the service they receive. It’s all in the name of long-termism, staff stay with the company and guests return because of the resulting experience.

  • Self-catering and serviced apartments are becoming increasingly popular. How can boutique hotels overcome this competition?

Again, it goes back to service and personality, offering an aspirational home away from home for time-poor people. Breaks spent in desirable surroundings, where everything is taken care of, down to the last detail, by people who are passionate about what they do.

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