Industry pundits tell us that the appeal of boutique hotels is based on good location, distinctive character (physical as well as emotional), personalized service and perceived value. It would appear that these are qualities that resonate with today’s consumers who increasingly seek “experience” in whatever they do, whether it is a museum with interactive learning experiences, a resort stay where they learn to Scuba, ski or knit, or a shipboard program of lectures, seminars and cultural performances on their Mediterranean or Caribbean cruise. Across all price points but particularly at the high end, consumers expect, or at least wish for a hotel that is more than a bed in a room. And the expectations go beyond state-of-the-art communications technology to those more difficult to quantify or even define qualities such as “ambience,” “character” and “personality.”As a manager of a boutique hotel, however, there are limits on what can actually be “managed.” The location – good or bad – is a given; you live with it, in the case of the latter, or revel in it – make it an integral part of the guest experience – in the case of the former. Indeed, those of us blessed with ideal locations strive to make the hotel synonymous with our neighborhood. Our branding, our marketing strategies, focus as strongly on the guest experience beyond the hotel doors as they do on the character within. The hotel becomes a friendly and welcoming character in the neighborhood, for out of town guests as well as area residents.