Welcome to Arena*

Claus Sendlinger

10:00am – 10:20am

Welcome to Arena* 2017

Welcoming this year’s Arena* attendees, presenters, sponsors, partners, and guests, Design Hotels™ CEO and Founder Claus Sendlinger reasserted the conference’s theme, Focus Filter, addressing the critical importance of re-engaging with guests in a time when demands for their attention are at never-before-seen levels. He further set the stage for upcoming experts and speakers from various industries who, he noted, would explore the benefits, challenges, and opportunities currently facing the hospitality sector, discussing meaningful ways that we can re-focus on what’s relevant to us, and our guests. Sendlinger also pointed out that this year’s Arena* theme was inspired by the leading foresight and consumer behavior consultancy The Future Laboratory, adding that this outfit’s co-founder, Chris Sanderson, would soon take to the stage to deliver a moving poem inspired by the incredible flux of our times, by Yeats, and by a challenge to each of us to “dare to do/and dare to know.”


Sendlinger expressed with a simple anecdote just how powerful today’s hotelier is. Explaining that Lisbon’s cultural authorities said the beautiful Teatro Nacional do São Carlos could not host a commercial or business event, Sendlinger told them, “Arena* is not a business event. It’s the world’s largest gathering of neighborhood makers!” There was no arguing with that truthful assessment and the theater permit was granted. Introducing Arena’s themes, Sendlinger spoke about the meaning of community, stressing that it’s not enough just to bring people together, one needs to gather the people who are right for your property, people with the social connections to influence your brand. “Ian Schrager said ‘every dinner party is only as good as its guests’,” Sendlinger noted, explaining that Jamie Caring, the man who helped put the Soho House brand on the map and an expert on community building and customer engagement, would soon be onstage to expand upon the potential the private membership club offers to today’s hotels.


“It’s critical to apply the power of selective social engagement to your brand and use it in digital strategies,” Sendlinger added, while informing the audience of an upcoming panel that would shine a light on the benefits and strategies of Creating and Re-Creating Social Capital.


Additionally, Sendlinger said that the modern traveler is now looking for more consciousness in hospitality, for experiences that are unique and that linger. With this in mind and referring to a forthcoming panel discussion with The Drifter hotel co-owner Jayson Seidman, he explained how the meeting room at a hotel can become a temple, a place of ritual, or how a hotel can add a new layer (and revenue stream) by undertaking a mission to support local or world causes or some other outside-the-box element. The important thing is to create platforms that bring people together, a topic that he noted would be expanded upon onstage by strategist Laurent Haug. And, of course, addressing a big concern among hoteliers, Sendlinger discussed the partnership with SPG and the impact of Marriott, alluding to an upcoming panel with David Flueck, Senior VP Global Loyalty, Marriott International, and Brian Povinelli, Global Brand Leader, Marriott International that covers the unification of the two most impactful loyalty programs in the hospitality industry. Noting that the impact of this merger has been favorable for all, Sendlinger stated by way of an example, “This has been the best year in Design Hotels’™ company history in terms of financial results.”


Recap Overview