1. Experience and integrity: Boutique hotel guests are looking for something different from the “cookie cutter” approach. It is essential to give them an experience they will remember fondly, and this is more important than getting obsessed with design details.
2. Clubs: Look out for a proliferation of members' clubs incorporated in to boutique hotels, particularly in key urban markets such as London and New York.
3. Caring for the environment: There is a small but growing band of environmentally aware travelers who are increasingly concerned with their carbon footprint. Boutique hotels can cater for them in a variety of ways from serving locally sourced, seasonal food to allowing guests to control their energy usage. It is also important not to force the green agenda down people's throats.
4. Boutique goes budget: Until now boutique hotels have been operating at the upper end of the price scale, but there is huge scope for budget hotels to offer a more distinctive, less homogenised experience.
5. In-room technology: It's important for boutique hotels to offer technology that is at least as good as the guest would expect to have in their home, but it must be user friendly and practical. The technology must also sit comfortably if installed in heritage buildings, and not jar with its surroundings.
6. Authenticity: Boutique hotels are particularly suited to conversions of historic or interesting buildings. By doing this with sensitivity to the materials used and the original structure, they can be among the most sustainable and authentic hotels in terms of the built environment.
7. Variety: Boutiques can capitalize on their flexibility and independence by providing individually designed guestrooms rather than standardized offers.
8. Location, not brand: Boutique guests are looking to interact with the hotel itself, and the passionate people who drive it and provide great service, not a company or an international brand.
9. Boutique B&B: A significant trend towards offering B&B in distinctive, design-led properties with a range of added service and experiences available, such as visiting chefs, wine tastings etc.
10. Lifestyle hotels: While the multi-nationals will struggle to replicate the true boutique experience, they will increasingly focus on the lifestyle model of 100 to 200 room hotels, using their economies of scale and management experience.
Photo above: Tiara Yaktsa Cannes, boutique luxury hotel with 21 rooms on the beautiful French Riviera