The BLLA Team sits down with Philip Bates, Co-Founder & CEO of TMC Hospitality & Winner of the Emerging Boutique Hotelier of 2021 Award!
BLLA: How did you enter the hospitality industry?
PB: “I entered the industry from the perspective of a traveler. Exploring different places across the world is my passion and as I got older ‘how’ and ‘with whom’ I traveled became increasingly important. Through this lens I saw an unmet need in the hospitality space, which for us is boutique accommodations for the social group traveler (those who enjoy traveling in parties of 3 or more). I embarked on creating a business that builds and manages boutique hotels for these kinds of guests (as well as for individuals and couples).“
BLLA: How is creating boutique hotels the work of an artisan?
PB: “The hallmark of an artisan is one that is skilled in a specific trade and makes things, usually by hand, that are of a superior quality to those products that are mass-produced or otherwise found in the marketplace. Creating a boutique hotel is exactly that. To deliver a quality boutique hotel, one must touch, feel, handle and craft every detail of the hotel — from the architecture to the interiors to the textiles to the landscape to the food to the people and the service. Not one of these elements can be farmed out or mass-produced. If one artisanally crafts each of these elements in their hotel, there will be an unascertainable quality that is present. The best boutique hotels have this and the mass-produced hotels specifically lack this. The average guest may not be able to articulate this in detail if they are not in the hotel space, but make no mistake that they discern it in their experience. It is the same difference in experience between touching a hand-crafted ceramic pot thrown by an artisan versus a mass-produced pot from Walmart.“
BLLA: Why do you believe in the boutique movement?
PB: “I believe in the boutique movement because people value quality, and in today’s world they even demand it. Yet largely in the hotel space, they cannot find it. That creates an opportunity for a paradigm shift to take place to introduce new, interesting and engaging products that meet, and hopefully exceed, what guests are looking for. This paradigm shift is taking place through the boutique movement.“
BLLA: How does being a boutique hotelier provide fulfillment in your life?
PB: “Being a boutique hotelier provides a lot of fulfillment in a variety of ways. One way that is top of mind right now because we just opened Drift San Jose, our newest boutique hotel located in Baja California Sur, is that moment when you see guests enjoying the product that my team and I worked very hard to create. Things like guest comments on the signature scent or the way the rooms look or how the food tastes, are all very fulfilling.“