Hotel Plus — Shanghai International Hospitality Design and Supplies Expo recently took place in the Shanghai New International Expo Centre (SNIEC) in Pudong, Shanghai. Shimao Star Hotels Group (hereafter referred to as “Shimao Star”) participated in the event and launched its all- new hotel brand – ETHOS (the Chinese name “Fan Xiang”).
Purposely designed for Chinese millennials, ETHOS hotel offers a blend of contemporary culture and Chinese legacy with a view to igniting millennials’ imagination and their explosive creativity. The brand is a response to Chinese millennials’ sense of identity as a generation which sees themselves as born to be proud and strive to redefine Chinese heritage.
At the press conference, Tyrone Tang, Vice President of Shimao Group, Chairman & CEO of Shanghai Shimao Hotel Management Company, CEO of Shimao Star Hotels Group said: “As the primary force driving consumption in the Chinese tourism market, the millennial generation has always been an important customer segment for us. Since the collaboration between Shimao Group and Starwood Capital Group (SCG), innovative upgrades have been continually practiced to our existing 6 hotel brands. Now the launch of the all-new brand ETHOS marks the first hotel brand that Starwood Capital co-created with a Chinese company and designed for a Chinese demographic group. Drawing upon the extensive expertise from both parties in hotel development, brand operation and asset management, we will bring a vibrant lifestyle experience to China’s millennials, which resonates with their pride in being Chinese, and opens up a new direction among Chinese hotels.”
The Chinese name of the brand is “Fan Xiang”. “Fan” in Chinese stands for everything in its totality, and also represents the secular, as well as reflecting Chinese millennials’ determined and out-of-the-ordinary outlook on life. Meanwhile, “Xiang” encompasses diversity and represents all forms of change. The English name ETHOS is derived from Greek, and refers to the particular character or spirit of a culture or time period. Here, it is used to express the unique disposition of Chinese millennials and their sense of national pride, as well as their refusal to settle for the status quo. As an upper-mid tier lifestyle brand that Shimao Star has tailored to China’s millennial travellers, ETHOS is well-adapted to benefit from the rise of China and the nation’s rapid development, as well as from the appeal that Chinese culture holds for Chinese millennials who are proud of their heritage as well as modern innovations. As such, the brand will satisfy the demand of millennial travellers, and deepen the world’s understanding of China’s new culture along with the brand’s expansion and growth.
Significantly, the new China pride is fully evident throughout the design and construction of ETHOS hotels, during which preference was given to high-quality and original Chinese products and designs. Also, in cooperation with many outstanding independent Chinese brands, ETHOS Hotel develops customized products that better suit the lifestyle and inclinations of Chinese millennial travellers. More than just a slogan, “Made-in-China” has truly become eccentric to the brand experience.
In terms of travelling experience, the new generation of consumers demands more than simply lodging – they place greater emphasis on interaction with the local culture, self-expression and connecting with like-minded travellers. Simulating the sense of cosiness needed in a real work environment, the ETHOS hotel creates a work space for guests that is designed with detail-oriented human touches and draws guests closer together, encourages interaction and social contact in order to trigger moments of inspiration and creativity. The co-working space at ETHOS Hotel, branded as “Connexis”, is a creative and vibrant community that fosters thinking and collaboration, in which social activities such as informal discussions, evening refreshments, and night-time runs will be regularly organized for guests to socialize and enjoy the spark of new connections.
ETHOS firmly believes that the neighbourhood culture surrounding a travel destination is the heart and soul of a city. The space inside the hotel offers a glimpse of the city in miniature. When guests step into the hotel’s social lobby, “The Common Room”, they will stumble upon local cultural and art workshops, local music performances and authentic local food markets. Through the “AI Interactive Community Screen”, developed by ETHOS together with the artificial intelligence company SenseTime, guests can explore the local community, interact socially, and share moments with others. In addition to an enthusiastic ETHOS service team, guests can also benefit from smart technology with a human touch, including self-service, smart room control, and facial recognition throughout the ETHOS Hotel. This blended service system allows guests to experience unique and seamless service from booking, check-in to departure, and each and every visitor can enjoy unparalleled VIP treatment.
ETHOS has gone to great lengths to ensure that every detail of the hotel speaks to the millennial generation of China’s identify and ingenuity with break-through from traditional boundaries. From the moment guests arrive at ETHOS, they find themselves on a journey immersed with Chinese heritage redefined. Stepping into the hotel lobby, guests encounter flowing music that energizes and inspires the imagination, which is especially composed by the brand’s partners – Chinese independent musicians. ETHOS has also joined hands with emerging Chinese artists, making use of custom-made statues, photography exhibitions and art installations conveying the characteristics of the local culture. In this way, ETHOS revitalizes the inner cultural identity of Chinese millennials as a leading national hotel brand created for which they can feel a true sense of connection.
In sight of millennials’ pursuit of originality and self-expression, ETHOS particularly promotes personalized services, and the hotel’s online platform allows guests to customize their own experience, including the content of the mini bar, technology infused mattress, made-to-order breakfasts as well as the choices to upgrade amenities and dining experience to distinctive local alternatives or independent brands. ETHOS seeks to satisfy customers’ desires in every detail, creating a highly personalized and exclusive experience for each traveller, enabling them to enjoy his or her own personal touches amidst the busy rhythms of each day. Not only is that so, ETHOS also fully appreciates that China’s convention-defying millennials would not be satisfied with a traditional membership plan. A diversity of carefully screened partners with the same brand philosophy have been selected to provide guests with a wide range of membership benefits. Meanwhile, Shimao Star Hotels Group, in conjunction with ETHOS, invites ground-breaking Chinese technology, culture, and lifestyle companies or product IPs to join efforts to create a world-facing platform where Chinese millennials can experience the true ‘proud to be Chinese’ lifestyle.
ETHOS is expected to launch in Xiamen and Wuhan first, with the world’s first ETHOS Hotel opening in the fourth quarter of 2019. Shimao Star Hotels Group will also strive to gradually promote the ETHOS hotel to China’s first- and second-tier cities. In addition, ETHOS will be one of the main brands to be expanded by Shimao Star in overseas cities. Preferred locations include business areas and transportation hubs in vibrant neighbourhoods. Pioneering in terms of its new Chinese national pride and its advancement of China’s hotel industry, the launch of the new ETHOS brand marks a further expansion of Shimao Star’s market domain, yielding an array of seven distinctive hotel brands. These are the luxury Yu Resorts, upscale Yuluxe Hotels, upper-tier Yu Hotels, upscale serviced apartment Yu Residence, upper-mid tier select service MiniMax Premier Hotel, mid-tier select service MiniMax hotel, and upper-mid tier lifestyle ETHOS Hotel, which targets millennials. The brand lines satisfy the needs of different consumers, ranging from high-end full service to select service hotels, and from urban business hotels to resorts and serviced apartments.