With 13 beach clubs and 5 hotels and resorts across the world, the brand has grown into a global, luxury hospitality company with an unrivalled reputation for exclusivity, glamour and style – all combined with a relaxed vibe in keeping with beachside living.
We caught up with Lucia Penrod, CEO of Nikki Beach Global, to learn about how the band has evolved over the past two decades, and the unique characteristics that have given it global appeal.
For those who haven’t visited a Nikki Beach venue, could you start by telling us about some of the brand’s USPs and what they could expect to find at one?
"When our beach club business started 20 years ago, we changed the way people party all around the world and we’re still 'Celebrating Life' this way with our guests each and every day.
"Whether we’re welcoming celebrity guests, locals, tourists or jet setters, we make sure that everybody feels special. We have six pillars of marketing; these are Nikki Beach’s signature elements: music, dining, entertainment, fashion, film and art. By combining these six elements, Nikki Beach creates its magic. Each one of these elements is present daily in the way we run our business at all of our locations. It keeps our guests coming back for more.
"Nikki Beach is to adults what Disney World is to kids. You have to experience it at least once in your lifetime."
Do the services, amenities and design style of each venue depend on the destination, or are these quite uniform across all of your venues?
"We have locations in Koh Samui, Thailand; Porto Heli, Greece; Bodrum, Turkey; Dubai, UAE and Santorini, Greece. Our newest location, Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Santorini, has 62 rooms and our upcoming location in Montenegro is slated to have 110 rooms with another 150 in Sri Lanka.
"As a boutique concept, our services, amenities and elements of the design always depend on the destination, but everything we do is tied together by the unique look and feel of Nikki Beach."
Can you tell us more about the new Santorini venue – what are some of its main highlights?
“Our 5-star Santorini beachfront resort is a lifestyle concept with incredible views, modern accommodations and décor inspired by nature. There are 9 different room options with either a sea or pool and garden view.
“Our brand’s signature hospitality is in full effect at the resort’s pool and restaurant, with plush, all white daybeds and cabanas. We also have additional dining options with Café Nikki, an all-day urban bistro; Escape, an outdoor restaurant fusing Greek cuisine with Peruvian-style recipes; and Skybar, a rooftop bar with creative cocktails, Champagne, shisha and panoramic views.”
What about the food and beverage offering?
"At our beach clubs, one thing we never neglect is our dining experience. We strive to have the freshest local ingredients we can find. We look to deliver a comfort food experience that makes our customers feel like they are at home when dining with us. We never complicate anything.
"Our job is to listen to our customers and give them more of what they want; we aren’t looking to educate them. We have a globally-inspired menu that is 60% consistent across our locations with 40% being influenced by the location’s local culture."
And the music guests can expect?
"Music is the number one element in our 6 pillars of marketing. A lot of work is put into the various ways we bring it into our daily operations. We have our own music ambassador who trains team members and constantly researches new sounds and trends to keep us current. 70% of our format is happy music and vocals that are recognizable to our customers.
"The days start with chilled out tracks and slowly build into songs that you can sing to out loud if you want to. We encourage guests to dance on the table, and laugh out loud. Our DJs must play to the crowd, not to themselves."
Nikki Beach has a reputation for chicness, exclusivity and luxury – what are the main challenges in trying to maintain that reputation?
"It is a reputation that we have earned through consistency with our message and operational standards. We started as a unique beach club concept that grew into a global luxury lifestyle brand. We keep innovating the old to keep our brand fresh but always stay true to our roots. We have very lifestyle-centric customers who expect to experience our vibe with every offering.
"I love knowing that the expectations are continuously high because it keeps us on our toes. It’s important to grow but to also keep the family feel that we’ve developed over the past 20 years. We can’t lose sight of the core of the brand, what we do well and how we do it. With all of the advancements of the Internet, our customers are more knowledgeable and trend fluent, so it’s a daily challenge. Our social media division puts a lot of time and research into it."
Finally, how has the Nikki Beach brand evolved down the years, have you had to adjust your concept to follow changing trends among consumers?
"When we first started 20 years ago, beach clubs around the world were mainly small family businesses that operated during their seasons. The whole family was part of the business, cooking, serving, cleaning, etc. Our family took this concept to a whole different level. We taught the world that this business can be an extremely profitable global enterprise. Customer expectations have also reached higher levels in terms of service, quality of food and wine, entertainment, and design.
"Even though our beach club business is all about 'the experience', we pay close attention to the evolution of technology since social media is the language for the younger generation. Our social media team is constantly creating opportunities for our customers to share what they are experiencing at our locations in real time with their friends and family online. This social media trend works perfectly well with our concept of “Tell Only Your Best Friends.”
"Every business has to find a way to adjust to these trends. There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy. The heart of our business is made up of six elements (music, dining, entertainment, fashion, film and art) that together create “the Nikki Beach experience.” We entertain our customers through these six elements, which are present every day in every single one of our locations.
"Our beach club division is incredible and very unique. But we also saw a pivotal point when we were opening beach clubs adjacent to or part of a hotel. My husband Jack, as the successful businessman he is, started looking into doing our own hotels. We now have a more mindful hotel expansion plan for the next 20 years and just opened a hotel division office in Barcelona to support this vision.
"We will always grow very consciously in order to deliver great experiences in a true Nikki Beach fashion, and we don’t want to repeat the mistake of bigger brands. However, the strong demand for our resorts, beach clubs and hotels across the globe will definitely support our current pipeline and its respective openings."