The Standard’s new CEO explains why it doesn’t have a loyalty program — yet
In a world filled with hotels, it’s not always easy to stand out from the competition. That’s not necessarily the case for Standard International, the New York-based brand that’s turned the idea of what a hotel could possibly be on its head.
Known for its ultra-trendy properties in hip destinations like New York City, Downtown Los Angeles and Miami Beach, the brand’s boutique-like properties are fun, witty, design-forward and irreverent. They’re places to be seen, to experience and, when it’s time, to retreat into the room or a dimly-lit corner.
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At The Standard High Line in New York earlier this year, Madonna performed a surprise show to celebrate the reawakening of New York City at Le Bain, the rooftop club with hot tub access and lines down the block. The now-closed Standard Hollywood was where Carrie Bradshaw stayed in "Sex and the City."
“Everyone is welcome,” Amber Asher, the company’s newly appointed CEO and former president, told TPG. “And we are much more than just a hotel. One of the special aspects of all of our properties is that we have such diverse experiential offerings.”
You might not run into Madonna but, according to Asher, there’s still plenty to do, from swimming with manta rays and enjoying CBD-based wellness treatments in the Maldives to having your star chart read before soaking in an outdoor bathtub in Miami.
“There is no other hospitality brand that invites and encourages unabashed adventure and fun.”
Now, the brand is placing new pins on the map with the opening of a handful of locations around the globe, including in Hua Hin, Thailand’s answer to the Hamptons, on Dec. 1; Ibiza in Spain come April 2022; and The Standard, Bangkok Mahanakhon, located in the tallest building in Bangkok, on May 10, 2022.
Other future hotels include locations in Singapore, Melbourne, Brussels, Dublin and Lisbon.
“When I started with the company, Standard was a single brand with four hotels, all in the U.S.,” Asher explained. “Now, as a company, Standard International has almost 20 hotels across the world under three distinctive, very special brands: The Standard, Bunkhouse and Peri.”
The company’s other two brands, Bunkhouse and Peri, shy away from the cosmopolitan spotlight in favor of a more laidback, local approach. Bunkhouse has Instagram-worthy properties like The Austin Motel and the chic trailer park-inspired El Cosmico in Marfa, Texas, where guests can beat the Texas heat by soaking in a cool watering trough.
Peri, a boutique hotel chain in Asia, has locations in Hua Hin and near Thailand’s Khao Yai National Park.
“We went from a small, founder-led company to a global force in hospitality,” Asher continued. “From a brand standpoint, specifically, we are vastly more inclusive, tech-forward, socially active and caring for our guests and team members than we ever have been. All while preserving and enhancing the creative and social elements that we have always stood for.”
Independent of the major hotel groups with expansive loyalty programs, The Standard and its sister brand have held off from creating one. For many travelers, its lack of a loyalty program is an instant turn-off. For The Standard, it’s all by design.
“We never have had a traditional loyalty program, but then again, we have never been traditional. We believe loyalty is earned every day by being our guests’ favorite place to stay,” she said, adding that there’s no current plan for a program. “We do think a lot about it and also often discuss what membership would look like for The Standard. But if and when we do it will be unlike any other — just like everything The Standard does.”
As Asher takes the reins of Standard International and the world continues to open, the brand has its eyes on even more locations to plant its flag, presumably plastered with its signature, bright red, upside-down logo.
“Would also love to have a Standard in Mexico City, Paris, Tokyo and Sydney — all locations we have been targeting,” she said. “Secretly, or not so secretly, I would love to bring The Standard to Detroit, where I am from, and be a part of its renaissance.”
Brands like The Standard continuously set trends that influence the entire industry. Personally, I’d be excited to see how it would execute a loyalty program, especially as it continues to expand. No matter where The Standard lands next, it’s one to keep your eyes on.
And Asher agrees. “We’ve been around over 20 years, but we’re just getting started."