One of the most powerful recipes for business success is to be deeply passionate about what you do, and to treat your customers as you would like to be treated yourself. This model has worked for the likes of Apple, and Virgin--and Tablet Hotels.
From curating some of the world’s most extraordinary hotels, to offering a painless and “proper” booking and customer service system, Tablet has found just the right recipe to place it among some of the top customer-focused business brands. They are one of the best, best kept secrets in the travel business.
Tablet was founded twelve years ago by Laurent Vernhes and Michael Davis who created it out of frustration at the absence of a trustworthy source for savvy hotel recommendations around the world. When the founders became equally frustrated at the difficulty of finding a reliable way to book online, and at the right price, Tablet Hotels was born.
The founders were on a quest for a cure for “boring travel and an antidote to the Internet's most common affliction: an overdose of options.”
photo courtesy of Tablet Hotels
They created a business for people who care enough about hotel experiences to think about more than just price and location, and who have traveled enough to know that the traditional star rating system is no guarantee of quality.
The lure of Tablet is the sense that the hotels offered on their site are curated specifically for your taste. Now, of course, taste is subjective, but Tablet seems to be able to reach into the psyche of a large swath of people, and pull out some amazing places to visit. Vernhes says the Tablet Hotels style is definitely contemporary; elegant but understated; irreverent, and with just a dash of decadence.
Like Virgin, and Apple, they have found a customer base who leans toward the creative industries, and is somewhat well-heeled. “As people travel more, their expectations evolve towards what we have to offer,” says Vernhes.
The selection of hotels is a personal quest for Vernhes, and he uses curators that he trusts, but is always the last word on which hotels fit the Tablet mold.
photo courtesy of Tablet Hotels
The curators are part of a personal network of travelers that the company has built up over the past ten years. They travel for their own reasons. They pay for their rooms and Tablet does not pay them. “They are people who know what they like and why, but they are curious enough to keep trying new things. I know their taste and I appreciate it, even if it is not exactly the same as mine. I am probably not as eclectic as I’d like to think, and Tablet is not about me anyway but about the philosophy: good taste.”
They also rely heavily on customer feedback after each visit, and rarely tolerate bad marks from a customer. And as they grow, Tablet customers become a more powerful source for new discoveries too. They care deeply about harnessing their customer’s collective taste, without losing the focus that’s provided by curation.
It is clear that Tablet loves their customers, and that their customers love Tablet. Within this amazing ecosystem, even the hotels love the Tablet Hotels customers. “From what we hear, they tend to be no-nonsense people, unpretentious, not too needy. Experienced, sophisticated, independent travelers.”
Recently, Tablet has been leaning more and more towards editorial curation as well. They just recently changed their website to expand the editorial voice and make the site more of a travel experience destination site.
Clearly, Tablet has a soul that is well understood by company and customer alike. “Most of our competitors did not really have an editorial mission to start with,” says Vernhes. “perhaps I am oversensitive, but I see gimmicks and opportunism all over the place. We are about substance and simplicity.”
And it shows.
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