AKEN Hotels & Resorts | November 08, 2021
Inspired by modern luxury travelers’ aspirations, a new hospitality brand is connecting guests to high-end independent properties that exemplify a destination’s most distinctive, compelling experiences. Luxury hospitality management consulting firm Amek Group launched AKEN Hotels & Resorts earlier this month with a collection of upper-upscale to ultra-luxury independent hotels. In contrast to a soft brand, AKEN aims to disrupt traditional, one-model-fits-all approaches by offering deep flexibility and customization for owners and operators, under a single brand umbrella.
“We have seen a need in the industry, among independent upscale-and-above properties that are inimitable, artful reflections of their destinations and unlike any other hotel, Many of these gems need additional support in order to reach their potential. By becoming part of the AKEN brand, they can operate with the same levels of support and technology that international brands have, while retaining their independence. Ultimately, this will connect more travelers to authentic, meaningful experiences.”
-Luis Gallotti, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Amek Group.
The AKEN brand proposition aims to disrupt and reinvent international hospitality management and branding practices. AKEN Hotels & Resorts offers carefully selected properties the opportunity to expand their potential through its services. A hotel that becomes part of AKEN can retain varying degrees of its own branding, based on how much brand presence is needed to help position or differentiate it. On the operational side, AKEN offers an array of different services, from global sales and representation to full management, and has structured 16 different options for properties. “Flexibility is what today’s hotel owners are looking for, and we are incredibly excited to offer this level of customization under a single brand umbrella,” Gallotti said.
AKEN is also changing norms by taking on small projects with no minimum number of rooms, an inclusiveness rarely found within large international chains. Whether a property has eight rooms or 150, has existing technology and property management system (PMS) capabilities or needs dynamic solutions such as the company’s proprietary platform built with Sabre, AKEN aims to add value, ultimately strengthening the growing global interest in independent hotel experiences. The brand offers a service standards culture based on the desires of the modern luxury traveler to be spoken to naturally, in an unscripted way.
The brand offers three collections: Spirit, Soul, and Mind. AKEN “Spirit” hotels are typically luxury to ultra-luxury, AKEN “Soul” properties are upper-upscale to luxury, and AKEN “Mind” hotels are upscale to upper-upscale. These designations are intended to help travelers easily find hotels that best fit their desires, as experience levels vary based on portfolio. In “Spirit,” for example, the Villa Beluno Hotel in Bariloche, Argentina, is a 14-room property nestled along the shore of Nahuel Huapi Lake, surrounded by the Andes. “Soul” offers properties such as the lush, wine-focused Entre Cielos, set amidst a vineyard in Mendoza, or Bio Habitat in Circasia, Colombia, which is surrounded by more than 16,000 square meters of native forest and features rooms and experiences designed to immerse guests in nature. “Mind” includes offerings such as La Urumpta, a 60-room hotel in Cordoba, Argentina, featuring decor inspired by local culture.
When it comes to loyalty, the team behind AKEN Hotels & Resorts has taken a different approach from that of many other travel brands. The loyalty platform, “AKEN Community,” has social and environmental impact and guest gratification in mind. “When a guest makes a reservation through our website,” says Lisandro León Liguori, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Amek Group, “they will have the opportunity to choose from one of three local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to which we, AKEN, and the hotel itself, will donate a total of one US dollar. The three organizations will benefit children, the environment, or animals.” AKEN plans to roll its automatic donation program out in 2022.
AKEN also rewards its guests right away, from their first direct booking. “We believe that for the post-pandemic luxury traveler, instant gratification is especially important at the moment of decision-making, because the future is less certain than in previous years,” León Liguori said. Examples of these instant benefits could be a welcome drink or bar discount, extended check-out, early check-in, upgrades, or a personalized in-room amenity, for example.
Amek Group recently welcomed Rodrigo Tsutsumi as AKEN Hotels & Resorts Vice President for the Americas. Having most recently spent 10 years at Preferred Hotels & Resorts, Tsutsumi has a unique perspective on the distinct advantages and challenges of both chain and independent hotel business models. “One of the core strengths of AKEN Hotels & Resorts is that we are able to provide our member hotels with the knowledge, experience, and competency on par with what a traditional hotel chain may provide, but with a clear emphasis on fostering these independent hotels’ freedom and distinctiveness,” said Tsutsumi.
The launch of AKEN Hotels & Resorts also includes “Experiences” that connect guests to deeply immersive, non-traditional lodging experiences including luxury glamping, yachts, and more. The brand’s “Residences” offerings are secluded private residences with full service and amenities similar to many of those found at a traditional hotel. Uman Lodge, a 16-room AKEN Residences experience in the midst of lush vegetation just north of Chile’s Aysen region, offers a harmonious blend of relaxation and adventure, and amenities suited to a longer stay.
About AKEN Hotels & Resorts
AKEN Hotels & Resorts is a US-based brand that connects travelers to one-of-a-kind experiences at a collection of independent, upscale-and-above properties that illuminate a destination’s most compelling attributes. AKEN’s continued growth includes additional properties expected to be announced by the end of 2021, and plans to continue expanding into the US and Central and South America. For more information, visit akenhotels.com, or follow the brand on Instagram at @aken_hotels.
About Amek Group
Amek Group is a white label hospitality service offering tailored management and consultancy for hotels and resorts. Strategically located between Miami, Florida, USA and Buenos Aires, Argentina, Amek Group is the only hospitality company to singly offer independent brands all operational and strategic needs to develop, manage, or operate a hotel. It currently carries 15 properties and experiences in its portfolio. “Amek,” which means “big brother” in the indigenous South American language known as “Onas,” was formed by childhood friends Luis Gallotti and Lisandro Léon Liguori. Basketball brought them together in their native country of Argentina, forming a partnership that would carry them from their youth through recruiting a team of their own. Amek Group’s portfolio of consultancy, development, management, learning, and quality assurance speak to the current favored business model of using remote teams, vertical integration, and a cooperative of hand-selected industry experts. Visit amekgroup.com for more information.
Etihad Airways | December 01, 2020
Arieli Capital, a holdings and investment organization, said that Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, will be an accomplice in another Israeli accelerator program focused in on cultivating new businesses in the field of the travel industry.
The NIS 10 million ($3 million) program, called OnBoard, tries to help fledgling Israeli and international firms in the field of travel technologies interface up with travel giants and develop business relationships with them, enabling travel firms to tap into the latest technologies.
AIRLINES AND AIRPORTS
Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority | August 10, 2021
Corporate business travel on airlines is expected to shrink by as much as 19 percent, and that decline could become permanent, an analysis from Raleigh-headquartered Beroe, Inc. found.
“When travel restrictions were imposed worldwide, businesses replaced direct meetings with virtual ones to contain the pandemic’s spread. Many businesses adapted to virtual meetings and have realized that not all meetings must be in-person. Businesses have also realized huge cost savings on air travel spend,” said Anusree Mohan, senior analyst at Beroe, in a statement. “In the future, airline travel will be a more mindful and thought-out way of traveling, allowing employees to have a better life balance and employers to have a better return on investment.”
Prior to the onset of the global coronavirus pandemic, business travelers represented about half of airline revenue, or about 1.7% of total global GDP, according to Beroe.
But with businesses seeking cost-saving measures, and integrating virtual meeting tools to conduct meetings, Beroe analysts are predicting short- and long-term effects on air travel.
“Businesses have suffered around the world in this pandemic. Thus, cost-cutting will remain their prime focus at least for the coming few years. And this will mean fewer corporate air travels,” said Anusree Mohan, Senior Analyst at Beroe. “Employee travel rate will decrease as corporate customers will remain concerned about health and safety.”
At Raleigh-Durham Airport (RDU), air traffic consisted of about 50% leisure and 50% business travel, spokesperson Stephanie Hawco told WRAL TechWire.
“The leisure market is recovering faster than the business market,” said Hawco. “Our current mix is about 65% leisure and 35% business.”
At the onset of the global coronavirus pandemic, and soon after, a dramatic reduction in air travel occurred at RDU, Hawco told WRAL TechWire in March. Compared to 2019, when about 14 million passengers traveled through the airport, 5 million traveled through the airport in 2020, Hawco noted.
Air travel through RDU is steadily increasing, Hawco said. The latest available data, from June 2021, released by the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority, showed that June travel set a new passenger traffic peak since the onset of the pandemic in 2020.
The airport saw more than 887,000 guests pass through the airport in June, nearly a 15 percent increase over May traffic levels.