Viva España!, amics, friends! This is the HoCoSo team, reporting back on our 3rd Annual Pow Wow*. This year, our destination was Barcelona. Instead of the usual sun and cool weather, storm `Gloria´ welcomed us and left us with some broken umbrellas. We kicked off with the IHM RECHARGE 2020 conference, followed by two days of reflecting, evaluating, strategizing and planning in the boardroom, in the kitchen and in the city.
A big part of our mission at HoCoSo is to co-create – with our clients – new concepts, new approaches and new forms of value. So, we are always on the look out for fresh ways of doing things.
So, we chose to stay at two different hotels that are each distinctive in their own way.
The first – Hotel Casa Camper has actually been around since 2005 and is, we believe, the only footwear brand with a hotel. The design hotel combines a high degree of functionality with friendly aesthetics and innovative features such as: your own lounge (complete with hammock) across the corridor from your room; and the ´tentempié´ (Spanish for snack), which replaces the traditional in-room mini-bar and restaurant with a complimentary open buffet 24/7. The location, by the way, is excellent – extremely central, yet quiet and a short walk to the nearest Camper shoe shop.
In our current research into critical success factors for community creation, we highlight the importance of diverse social spaces – common and private, large and small – designed to bring diverse groups together and create a better guest experience.
We then packed our bags and moved to Hotel Brummell, a boutique hotel located in a quiet neighbourhood and a 10-15 minute walk away from the Joan Miro Foundation. Whilst the original 1870s façade of the building has been retained, the interior has transformed with a design inspired by ´tropical modernism´. Since HoCoSo places importance on wellbeing, we started the day with a yoga class at local studio ´The Garage´. This was one of the services offered by the hotel. It was a good start to a day of strategy and planning.
… At HoCoSo, we believe that 2020 is going to be The Year of Community. Our focus is on co-creating experiences and solutions for our clients across what we call The Co-everything Spectrum (co-working, co-living and co-existence). Amongst other things, we are working on hospitality-led solutions to loneliness, stress and isolation. We are collaborating to re-invent physical communities for our clients and their concepts.
Consequently, the team could not leave town without time together outside the boardroom. Since one of the best ways to enjoy each other’s company is over food and drink, we took it a stage further and cooked supper together. And what is the first food that comes to your mind when thinking about Spain? Tapas right? So, we tested our Master Chef skills in a gourmet tapas workshop with local chef, Manuel, from “Born To Cook”, a hands-on cooking workshop who guided us on the creation of pintxos, sangría and several Spanish dishes. It was a big tick in the box for creative, amusing and tasty team building! We walked off our dinner in search of Paradiso – a lush cocktail bar, hidden through the back of a local butcher’s shop, reminiscent of a 1920s speakeasy. Finally, we threw caution to the wind with a blast of karaoke at Barcelona´s Olympic District. Question is: has HoCoSo got talent?
To complete the cultural extravaganza, we took a private tour of Gaudí’s masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia, to learn more about Modernism and the story behind Spain´s most visited landmark (4.5 million people in 2017). Do you know that Gaudi was working on this stunning architecture for more than 40 years?
So here’s a toast, not just to the Year of Rat but to The Year of Community! During our Annual Pow Wow*, we realized once again the importance of connection, collaboration and collective energy. We look forward to working with you in the year ahead.
* “Pow Wow” is originally a Native American term for a ceremony involving feasting, singing and dancing. Over the years it has also evolved to mean a conference or meeting for discussion, especially among friends or colleagues. So, we think the concept really embodies the purpose of our annual team meeting.
About Nicola Minderjahn – Co-author
Nicola started her studies of International Hospitality Management at “Hotelschool The Hague” in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She had already collected first experience at the Grand Hotel Central, Barcelona, a member of Small Luxury Hotels of The World . Due to her interest both in numbers and market research, she joined HoCoSo towards the end of 2018 as Hotel Analyst intern, and now holds the position of Hotel Analyst in our team.
About Alba Pons – Co-author
Alba studies International Hospitality Management at “Hotelschool The Hague” in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Prior to HoCoSo, she has worked at Anantara Bophut Ko Samui (Thailand). Her interest in both market research and concept development, led Alba to join HoCoSo on November 2019 as Hotel Analyst Intern.
About Katharine Le Quesne – Co-author
Katharine Le Quesne has spent two decades as a professional advisor to the travel, hospitality and leisure industries. She works all over the world in emerging and mature markets, helping clients to assess opportunities for value creation. She has a particular specialism in: development strategy; destination resorts; luxury and lifestyle brands; and theme parks. She began her career with Jones Lang LaSalle in China, during China’s first real estate boom. She subsequently worked for global professional services firms Arthur Andersen and Deloitte in Europe and Asia, prior to joining HoCoSo. She is a regular speaker at industry events, a writer on industry issues and has been a professional advisor on the World Economic Forum Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report. She is also a Visiting Lecturer at a number of world-class hotel schools.
HoCoSo are advisors with a difference. We create tailor-made and innovative solutions for clients’ hospitality-led projects by bringing together the optimum team of sector specialists. Jonathan Humphries, Chairman and Owner of HoCoSo, and his direct team specialize in the extended-stay, co-living, and hotel-alternatives hospitality market; luxury, lifestyle and boutique hotels; and resort developments in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Our strengths lie in the following core services:
- Product & Concept Creation, for portfolio & individual asset developments.
- Strategic Development Projects with a focus on new-market / new-concept business expansion planning, operator selection, market and financial feasibility studies.
- Transformative Asset Management for brand re-positioning, asset re-evaluation and concept re-structuring.
- Hospitality Education for companies and academic institutions, with a focus on bespoke course development, training and teaching.
- Workshops, Keynotes and Conference Moderating for boards, leading international conferences and incubators.