Light Human Hotels is a new, flexible concept that will soon be home to elegant, cool and environmentally friendly hotels. Founded in 2016 by Jean-Pierre Bandeira and Julien Veyron, the brand’s motto is ‘The shape of things to come’ and goes beyond the traditional hotel vision.
The second in Premier Hospitality’s Q&A series ahead of Hospitality Minds Europe, we spoke to Jean-Pierre and Julien about their business.
Tell us about what prompted the decision to found Light Human Hotels.
JV: “Considering today’s new aspirations and the nearly status quo of hospitality industry for decades, we thought there was a big opportunity to introduce to the market a new “flexible concept” of elegant, cool and environmentally friendly hotels. When LIGHT HUMAN HOTELS was founded in 2016, we chose as a motto: “The shape of things to come” and we started to develop the brand and the product. Thanks to a collaborative process involving very different people not exclusively coming from the hotel industry, a community aiming to change the game started rising. Everything in LIGHT HUMAN HOTELS is designed to generate human interaction and provide meaningful experiences and entertainment. Our aim is to go far beyond the traditional vision of hotels and develop sustainable ‘places to live’ for the 21st century.”
JPB: “A new public with ecological awareness is coming on the market. In 2015, we observed that the hospitality industry was changing, and we strongly believed there was a big opportunity to be part of it not only by creating true destinations and new experiences, but also by transcending barriers between staff and guests. In every LIGHT HUMAN HOTEL, what you learn and share with local people is unique and totally part of the experience. Humanity is one the most beautiful thing we have on earth. Happiness and ‘positive vibrations’ are highly contagious. People first is in our DNA. By welcoming guests with a broad and natural smile, and by sharing their passion, you’ll always spend a fantastic stay with Light team. “
What does a typical working day involve for you?
JV: “One single day is big and goes fast! Indeed, with our teams, we are leading with site prospective, new partnerships, hotel developments, architecture, planning and interior design. Design plays a significant role in LIGHT HUMAN HOTELS and that’s the reason why ATELIER ARCAU (our French design studio) and LIGHT HUMAN HOTELS are one and the same. Once we declare that LIGHT is not a generic brand of hotel, and we promise an original environmentally friendly brand, it means that we have a challenging work to do every day!”
JPB: “LIGHT HUMAN HOTELS are designed for people and that’s the reason why they are sustainable places with wellbeing as a key factor—not only for guests, but for the staff and for local community in the neighborhood also. In that sense, as human beings are at the heart of ATELIER ARCAU design process, Light Human Hotels are bio-climatic places to live. It means that even if all technology and significant innovation are considered for the operation, each of the buildings is also shaped with the common sense of elders.”
What makes the Light Human Hotels brand standout?
JV: “Hotels required essentials such as clean bed, hot shower, and free Wi-Fi are not enough since long. With 41 years old, I have a mindset that is not far from the Millennials and when I travel, I’m really expecting something else from a hotel. As more and more people, I’m looking for a cool experience, a story to share on social media and when going home. This special experience will be a lot better if it’s an authentic local experience as I love to be integrated in the culture, to go under the skin of the city. Why? Because regardless of generation, people are now conscious about the planet fragility, it’s essential to them promoting social responsibility while traveling. It means that they don’t only want to take away but to contribute to the community and the world.”
JPB: “Today, we have a generation between 11 and 36 years old and they will make-up 75% of the American workforce in about 10 years. Their visions of life, aspirations and distinctive culture have already started to shape our economy and society. In this changing environment and in a very competitive industry, innovation in hotels will always remain a key to success: It provides visibility, raises awareness and helps positioning Brand recognition and differentiation. With the next generations looking for true stories, kept promises and fun, it’s hard to determine with any accuracy what will be the face of tomorrow’s hotels, but we strongly believe that thinking “Bio-climatic Design” and “People first” is what people is secretly dreaming about since long. This represents a tremendous opportunity to change the game.”
You have some exciting expansion plans for the next few years, what do you look for in a new location?
JPB: “Our development model is very simple. We develop with an open mind; that means we are flexible, fast and everybody is welcome: individual owners, developers, management companies and even hotel chains. We work with a flat fee including design and architecture for a project, brand mix and brand license. We truly believe that collaboration, working together brings strength to companies. What for many could be seen as competitors, for us they are possibilities of partnerships. Although we work under the term ‘brand license agreement’ our core business is to bring an innovative concept to hotels, not to charging excessive fixed fees.”
JV: “Under rejuvenation and under gentrification process neighborhoods inside of cities are one of our target. We need for that to work with a vision of the future, to understand how the city is transforming and once we find a place with a true soul, we can start the process. LIGHT HUMAN HOTEL is not just a hotel; with its bar, restaurant and SPA, it’s also an amenity for all who appreciate good food, tasty wine and well-being, sharing moments together. In the heart of Corsica, LIGHT HUMAN HOTEL Venaco has been chosen to become a flagship of the Brand for sustainable development.”
JPB: “Even if Western Europe, US and South America are our first targets, we are also teams are very open to new partnerships in Eastern Europe and Asia. Thanks to its DNA, and its team’s flexibility, LIGHT HUMAN HOTELS has its amazing ability to adapt to each specific context. That might be the reason why we’ve already signed eight hotels before our second birthday. We continue to think like a startup, and that gives us a good advantage in relation to large hotels groups.”
And finally, what do you pride yourselves in as a brand?
JV: “Beyond their welcoming essence, fresh Design and unbeatable comfort, LIGHT HUMAN HOTELS are all about history, respect of local cultures and communities. They are healthy living places with soul, comfort, good food, music… With Light team, and the community, we are proud to deeply rethink what a hotel is and the way it is operated, creating urbanity and well-being inside of our ‘metropolitan villages’.”
JPB: “LIGHT HUMAN HOTELS, which translates as “a vision of things to come,” is entirely focused on the customer approach. It is launching a new hotel brand that is part of the search for the transgenerational concept, designed for the millennials, but which is also aimed at a wider audience seeking a proposal where service is given priority over constraints of hotel management. Families are the link between generations. Because of that, we build a special place for families and kids and we create activities for them.”
JV: “Travelers of 21st century want to be part of the story. In hospitality, LIGHT HUMAN HOTELS represent the cradle of story-telling. By reusing existing buildings, in the heart of cities as well as in a wild landscape, LIGHT HOTELS are already aligned with the notion of sustainable development. Connected to Public transports and equipped of shared bicycles, LIGHT HUMAN HOTELS are becoming vibrant places targeted by all generations sharing the same mind-set. Interior gardens, healthy food, marvellous spa… When everybody feels healthy, from the staff to the guests, it means that something big is ongoing. These good vibrations are precious to retain employees, customers, and to raise Brand awareness.”
JPB: “By being the first at establishing a true reputation for environmental stewardship, LIGHT HUMAN HOTELS is seizing the opportunity not only to grow market share in the coming years, but to build loyalty among future generations also. Architecture, interior design and hotel operations are aligned in a single sustainable strategy. This is all about long-term vision and sustainable performances. As an independent brand, we are very proud to be able to make right decisions and to keep agility to successfully lead the change. We hope to keep as long as possible our start-up spirit!”
To find out more about Light Human Hotels, please visit www.lighthumanhotels.com