Lore Group’s CEO, David Taylor, talks to Can Faik about recent opening One Hundred Shoreditch London, and what Lore Group has planned for the next few years …
Lore Group is an international hospitality company that designs, transforms, manages and operates hotel and food and drink concepts in notable cities across Europe and the US. Thoughtful design and interesting use of space is at the core of everything the brand does.
Lore Group’s Collection portfolio includes Riggs Washington DC, Lyle Washington DC, Pulitzer Amsterdam, Sea Containers London and the recently opened One Hundred Shoreditch London.
What was your background prior to working for Lore Group?
Prior to joining Lore Group I led the transformation of a number of UK hotels including the Principal brand. I also launched the London EDITION as GM, where I’m proud to have seen the hotel win multiple awards including the prestigious Catey Hotel of the Year award. I’ve also done many other openings and repositioning projects such as the original Hoxton Hotel in Shoreditch, along with the Great Eastern Hotel and Sofitel St James in London. I also served as a trustee at the Savoy Educational Trust for several years, and am a member of the prestigious Master Innholders.
What does your current position involve?
I’m fortunate that I lead fantastic teams both in my office and at our hotels – I never want to be too removed from our hotels, as at my core I’m a hotelier. In addition to the usual strategic, financial and operational roles of a CEO, I really enjoy looking forward at new hotel acquisitions in new markets and cities for the group, and getting the teams ready and excited for new projects and concepts. I love the creative side of my job, and also working to inspire the next generation of hospitality professionals while attracting best-in-class talent to our team.
How do you see the company changing in the next two years, and how do you see yourself creating that change?
We don’t have a specific number of hotels that we are looking to acquire, but are more focused on opportunities to acquire hotels that have the potential to be part of our collection. This could be in Europe or in the US. My role in this is working with the team to identity and create new concepts in cities which give us inspiration. With this growth comes the need to expand our teams, and I have to ensure Lore Group is seen as a hospitality employer of choice at all levels of the operation to appropriately deliver these new and current projects.
“I’m fortunate that I lead fantastic teams both in my office and at our hotels – I never want to be too removed from our hotels, as at my core I’m a hotelier”
What role does Europe play in Lore Group’s growth?
Europe is a key area of growth for Lore Group. We operate in London and Amsterdam currently, and I see us expanding in both of these cities while looking to grow to other key cities in the region.
Hotels in key European locations also allow us to drive guest loyalty by presenting options in multiple cities associated with both leisure and business stays.
How does design play a role in driving customer loyalty?
While the designs vary greatly across our hotels, there are certain features that our in-house design team keep at a consistently high level. The combination of clever design with playful, unexpected moments, alongside key components such excellent bedding and well-designed bedrooms, plus exciting restaurants and bars, helps to drive loyalty, as our guests know that all the key touchpoints are consistently excellent across our properties. We drive loyalty by not creating cookie-cutter hotels, but looking at each hotel and city and ensuring that the story that we are trying to weave encourages people to choose us rather than another hotel in that city.
What is the biggest challenge you’re facing in improving guest experience today?
Our biggest challenge is building and maintaining a guest-focused, high-touch team. We were fortunate that during the last few months we have had so many applications and excellent candidates for our new opening in Shoreditch. I’d like to think this is because we put people at the centre of what we do, and as an employee of choice, we did everything we could to look after our teams during the Covid pandemic (unlike many other hotel groups). In addition, we keep on top of digital trends, and make booking as easy and hassle free as possible, as people consume information in such different ways than they did even two or three years ago.
How important is interior design in your hotels?
We are very much a design-driven group, so it’s hugely important to us. Both Jacu, our creative director, and Caitriona, our design director, work so well with their teams on the design and launch of new projects. Having them in-house means that their work continues following the launch, so they’re constantly tweaking and updating our product.
They are not driven by ‘trends’, rather they focus on doing what is best for any given property, its city and community.
“Europe is a key area of growth for Lore Group. We operate in London and Amsterdam currently, and I see us expanding in both of these cities while looking to grow to other key cities in the region”
What we can expect from One Hundred Shoreditch in London?
It’s a hotel for a new ‘grown-up’ neighbourhood and community. Shoreditch residents aren’t exactly who they were 10 years ago, and as such this hotel suits them, while also appealing to the local business community and visitors to the area.
Guests, either local or hotel, will experience a wide range of restaurants and bars, from Seed Library by Mr Lyan, a new rooftop concept launching in May, through to the Lobby Bar and Coffee Shop, and a Seafood Restaurant with wine bar and take-out hatch. Rooms-wise, we offer a calm experience with neutral colours.
How do you think new technology affects travellers, and could do in the future?
I think travellers now know more about a property prior to staying than they ever did before – previous guests can now not only leave a traditional review, but provide a window into the hotel through their posting on Instagram and other social media platforms. In many ways, this allows them to fully understand a hotel – however, it can be a downside when their stay ‘looks different’ to what they’ve seen on Instagram Stories.
How would you define Lore Group’s identity?
As a group we strive to create storied hotels for the long term, both for our teams and our guests. A large part of our identity is the pride we have in our team of people – we always look to attract the best talent in the industry to help us deliver extraordinary experiences.
Property-wise, we’ll always look for unique opportunities in major cities, and when we find them we bring the hotels to life by remaining true to their architecture, design, and neighbourhood.
I think we can summarise our identity in our belief that the passion, care and generosity of spirit that we bring to our businesses is rewarding to everyone that experiences our hotels.
What is the magic ingredient that helps you deliver the best service to your customers?
It is a mix of both best-in-class, imaginative design and strong F&B at each property, but ultimately it comes down to our people. Without excellent people at each hotel, we can’t deliver the service we always strive to provide.
What would be your dream hotel project?
It would be a combination of a new city for us, and the ability to design and deliver an entirely new concept – something that would shift the hospitality landscape in that city through design, product and service … the type of new hotel that becomes synonymous with the hospitality identity of a city.
What one thing have you not yet done that you really want to do?
A year ago I’d have said to become CEO of a hotel group like Lore Group, and I’m fortunate to have been given that opportunity. My focus is ensuring our foundations are strong across our existing group of hotels, to then allow us to focus on future projects.
What plans and aspirations do you have for Lore Group?
To be an employer of choice for hospitality professionals and a go-to for travellers looking for unique and storied experiences when they are visiting some of most vibrant cities in the world.