A story by Phoebe Truong
A niche is a narrowly carved subgroup based on interests, values, geographic fences, and micro demographics. The term is often used in marketing and value differentiation, where the values offered are tailors specifically to a small group of people with distinct wants and needs. Going niche is said to supercharge marketing ROI, as tactics become cheaper and more effective with less competition. In hospitality, there have been growing niches such as pet-friendly, gay-friendly, music and art, disabled friendly, gastro, eco… In the vibrant city of Barcelona, these following hotels are the hidden gems that demonstrate the further and the direction in which a niche can go.
Praktik is a young chain of boutique hotels opened between 2007 and 2014 that occupy the most central spots in Barcelona. It consists of five establishments, each with its own theme, character and hands-on staple experience.
Praktik Èssens: The world of perfume pays tribute to that original sense of the human being: smell. The hotel boasts three trademark perfumes inspired by the city of Barcelona itself. Each evokes a key scent of the city: the sea, the aromatic herbs of Montjuic and Collserola and the flowers of the hotel’s patios and balconies. Beside these, guests can also create their own perfume with 42 raw perfumery materials and take their own distinctive scent home in a personalized 15ml — 50ml bottle.
Praktik Bakery incorporates a bakery inside the hotel. What could be better than waking up to the smell of freshly baked bread? The bakery, run by Anna Bellsolà who inherits the family bread-making business since 1892, surely intrigues the nose of anyone entering the hotel lobby with the homey alluring smell of freshly-made bread and pastries. Guests can also try their hands at making bread from scratch with the instructions of the award-winning bakery team.
Praktik also partners up with Mary’s Meal in helping provide daily meals to children and schools in the poorest communities in the world, such as Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe and South America.
Praktik Rambla is a little 19th century palace situated in central Rambla Catalunya, featuring original historic elements such as Baroque columns and colourful mosaic flooring. Here one can make their own colorful mosaic art piece with the “trencadís” technique developed by Spain’s most famous architect and teacher Antoni Gaudí.
Praktik Vinoteca carries the motto “In Wine We Trust”. This installment is a singular hotel dedicated to the world of wines, where guests are welcomed with a complimentary glass of wine while marveling at the collection of 900 wine bottles on display in the reception. Expert sommeliers are always on hand to advise at dinner time, in addition to the pre-booked wine-tasting experience.
Praktik Garden is a green oasis amidst the bustling city centre, featuring a large outdoor terrace of abundant lush plants. The hotel collaborates with Marble Matter to carry out plant print workshops where guests can paint their scarf or other garments with leaves, shells, petals, flowers and fresh vegetables… The technique is known to be eco-friendly, combining ecological printing and dyeing.
Formerly the headquarters of Barcelona’s Cotton Textile Foundation in the 19th century, the Cotton House hotel is a trip back in time where class meets sophistication. Beside immersing in the well-decorated and photogenic spaces, guests can make high quality tailored shirts here. The artisanal tailor service experience is provided by the professionals of Santa Eulalia, the most prestigious tailor establishment in Barcelona.
While the niche markets open numerous untapped opportunities for hospitality, there is the crucial need to differentiate trends from fads and embrace those that have long-term influences rather than come and go quickly. Daniel Füglister, the General Manager of Intercontinental Davos, believes that “going after niche markets is not only a trend, it is the future itself”.
This is a story of the Futurist Club
Written by: Phoebe Truong
Currently pursuing a Master in Hospitality Management degree at the University College of Hospitality and Culinary Arts Sant Pol de Mar, Spain. Passionate about facilitating the best authentic travel experiences for myself and for others, at the same time making the world a better place.