July 29, 2019

Sustainability for Hotels — Creating a strategy that resonates with your guests.

We know that over 64% of people base their loyalty to brands on shared values. As travellers are becoming more conscious of the needs of sustainability, hoteliers are developing environmental strategies that run through the entire business model.

Guests are looking for authenticity and unique experiences. Incorporating sustainable practices into hotels has a long-term value. 

A sustainability strategy that is part of the hotel’s DNA — permeated throughout the entire customer journey — can imbue the hotel narrative with personality, whilst ensuring guests have an understanding of the mission. 

As stewards of the guest experience, hotels have a unique opportunity to advocate environmental support in a conversational way to an engaged audience. Even simple initiatives, such as reducing water and electricity use, and asking guests to reuse items, are an opportunity to take an active role in communicating the most pressing environmental issues of our day.

“We’ve seen firsthand how a single collective action by a dedicated group of people can create a world of difference,” says 1% For The Planet, an organisation that supports the environment through a community of businesses and individuals who commit 1% of their totally revenue annually. 

A great example is at the Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort in Fiji, where guest experiences such as diving, snorkelling, and medicine walks are tailored to focus on environmental issues so guests can take sustainability lessons home with them to put into practice.

Australia is one of only 4 travel destinations that sit on both the top 15 lists for desirability and sustainability, which is a great headstart. Hotels can design their customer experiences with this in mind, and actively lead environmental initiatives, whilst appealing to the growing number of conscious consumers who care about the values of the hotels where they choose to stay.

If you are considering the total customer experience for your hospitality venue, let’s talk about how we can develop your sustainability strategy.

Kirsty Ludbrook & Co is a member of 1% for the planet. 

Kirsty Ludbrook

July 29, 2019

Signature fragrance design for hotels.

As Australia experiences a surge in international and domestic travellers, the new breed of discerning travellers expect a fully immersive experience from their hotel stay. Guests are increasingly looking to hotels for a complete brand experience, where the personality and promise is consistently delivered by engaging all the senses.

In particular, the sense of smell is the most immediate of all the senses. The olfactory system is directly linked to the limbic system, which plays a major role in regulating mood, memory, behaviour and emotion. 

Fragrance design is critical to help customise the hotel experience. Many hoteliers are placing cafes and bakeries within the social spaces that welcome guests into hotels with aromas that are warm, welcoming and familiar. 

With its documented impact on memory and emotion, scent has a vital presence. Hoteliers are also investing in bespoke fragrances designed to evoke particular feelings. 

Recently, we worked with Romayne Fleming, director of Contemporary Hotels.

“We wanted to create a signature scent for Contemporary Hotels that was luxurious but reflected the relaxed beachy feel of our brand,” she says. “We manage distinctively different luxury villas, so it was important that the fragrance didn’t overwhelm. Kirsty helped us develop a brand fragrance that welcomed our guests with warmth and personality.”

Fragrance design is indeed a topic very close to my heart, having worked closely with fragrance specialists to develop my own Enfants Paradis botanical range, specifically designed to meet the needs of travellers. The result? “Enfants Paradis' divine botanical serums …. a cult brand.” — SUNDAY STYLE MAGAZINE. 

If you are considering the total sensory experience for your hospitality venue, let’s talk about how we can develop your own cult signature fragrance.

Kirsty Ludbrook

July 29, 2019

Your brand also needs a chain of custody.

What really influences consumers when it comes to how they feel about brands? 

Where they are prepared to invest their cash when making everyday buying decisions?

The resounding answer is: Sustainability. We know a genuinely considered chain of custody, is the one thing an overwhelming number of buyers put ahead of all other considerations. This is according to a global Nielsen study with more than 30,000 consumers from over 60 countries. 

“66% of people (and 73% of Millennials) say they’re willing to pay more for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact.

— Nielsen Global Sustainability Report 2015 

Millennials buying power is becoming increasingly critical for brands. This group is particularly invested in this trend — 77% of millennials are willing to pay more for sustainable goods, compared to 66% of global consumers who feel just as committed. 

And this chain of custody applies to every aspect of your brand, including the development of your brand strategy and visual identity.

The simple fact is that people like good brands. They trust them. They believe them. They see value in them. They see them as the counter to unethical behaviours. 

And this applies to the provenance of your brand and visual identity, how it was created and by whom.

The process of developing your brands' chain of custody begins with discovery; the activity to understand your business’s unique value proposition. What are your company’s values and principles? What does your company’s culture look like, now and in an ideal future? Who are your consumers and what do they value about your business? 

Without taking this journey of discovery, no amount of lipstick on the pig is going to help you. 

Kirsty Ludbrook

June 18, 2019

The perfect hotel experience — it’s all part of the journey.

In Australia, domestic travel is on the rise. A new generation of luxury travellers favour spending on experiences over assets and this is fuelling the travel market. As the booming AirBnB business offers less expensive but potentially isolating accommodation options, guests are turning to hotels with the expectation of a new kind of experience designed around not just comfort but community.

In response to this hoteliers are creating community around a variety of social spaces Hoteliers are thoughtfully designing the entire customer journey to capture the hearts of discerning travellers; from first contact when shopping around, to the hotel experience, to sharing with friends via word of mouth and social.

How do hoteliers create an easy and enjoyable experience for the entire customer journey? They work on all of the six phases of the hotel customer journey — Research & Planning, Shopping, Booking, Pre-Travel, The Stay, PostStay.

Digital Experience —the start and the end of the journey.

We know the first half of a guest’s experience with your hotel from research & planning, shopping and booking — will be online. 

From review sites, to social media and their website, hoteliers ensure these critical touchpoints are easy and enjoyable. Added to this we know travel is very much a part of one’s own personal “brand” — how will your hotel be shared socially by your guest? Have you made it easy for them to share positive and “instagrammable” moments in your hotel?

Hotel Stay — Comfort, Community and Certainty

From the moment a guest walks through your doors, the experience of your hotel’s culture and vision will be apparent. This includes thoughtfully engaging all the senses, through lighting, acoustics, scent, colour, and customer flow. 

Hotels are increasingly answering the very human need of belonging through social spaces, from the entry experience, to restaurants, cafes and bars, reading rooms, spas, gyms and of course, rooms. Covering the whole guest journey. Service design, which includes journey mapping to deliver a consistent brand experience, is also critical to success.

“... Customers of hotels that get the journey right may be 61 percent more willing to recommend than customers of hotels that merely focus on touchpoints.”

* McKinsey Insights Customer experience: New capabilities, new audiences, new opportunities. Number 2, June 2017

Unique experience in every room.

I recently worked on a very unique hotel project. The Collectionist Hotel, in Camperdown in Sydney, was the brain child of architect Andrew Cliffe from the World is Round in collaboration with up and coming Interior Design firm Amber Road. By assigning the design and unique artwork to several well-known Sydney artists, each room achieved a personality of its own. Artists included myself, Matt Dampney, Dion Horstmans, Kane Skennar, Brooklyn Whelen, Rose Ashton, Brett Chan, Daimon Downey, Nick Hernandez and Dave Homer.

Source: https://www.yellowtrace.com.au/collectionist-hotel-sydney/

Over the coming months, I will be looking into these aspects of hospitality design through a series of articles. I am always looking to connect with others in the hospitality community, so please don’t hesitate to shoot me a message with your thoughts.

Kirsty Ludbrook

May 31, 2019

Achieving Creative Flow — Create a strong strategic foundation first.


We all understand the concept of creative flow — when your brain is able to create the discretionary links between disparate ideas. It feels like magic when it happens. And it is the one skill that humans will have over artificial intelligence for a long time yet. 

But how can a designer get into a state of creative flow? The answer is simple — establish a strong foundation through sound brand strategy before even starting the creative process.

A simple solution it may be, but brand strategy takes a lot of grit and hard work, from market research, brand workshops, collaborative thinking and re-iterations.

In our brand workshops, we work with clients to establish the four pillars of the brand — purpose, positioning, personality and promise. We investigate the core values of the company, the business strategic aims, the market and competition. We look for ways to create a new category of which the brand can become the leader. We establish the brand's personality that customers will interact with.

And that's when the design process begins. Armed with a complete and comprehensive understanding of what the brand needs to communicate, that blissful period of creative flow can be embraced, ultimately producing the most original and engaging results. 

Kirsty Ludbrook & Co.
383 George St Sydney 2000