There is only one line of defense against a novel pandemic that overturns norms and upsets the status quo. Science does not have the answers. A return to the pre-Covid -19 past will never come. The hospitality business was booming, but… History repeatedly demonstrates that new ways of thinking is the only way forward. Innovation builds the future that we will all inhabit.
Longtime hospitality and lifestyle trend-watchers, John Ashworth and Regina Connell decided to team up to meet the challenge straight on. John is the Managing Principal of Bull Stockwell Allen, an award-winning architecture and interiors firm specializing in resort, recreation, and hospitality projects throughout North America, whereas Regina Connell is a strategist and brand expert exploring consumers’ everchanging notions of value, pleasure, and identity. The two had already been talking about ways to take hospitality of all forms to the next level; already questioning aging formulas and the proliferation of too many “brands.” Experiential travel, on the surface, has already become a commodity. They shared the desire to redefine hospitality as a way to cut through the clutter and define new products offering resonance and meaning.
And so Collaboratory was born.
“We’re excited to be creating this opportunity for our clients,” said John. “We see this as the evolution of BSA with its 50-year heritage in recreation hospitality. Integrating strategy, planning, architecture, and brand under the larger BSA banner feels like what the world needs now: smart thinking and execution that makes a difference for our clients, their guests, and really, the world at large. In our experience, there’s always such a close relationship between strategy and brand and design and service – that it makes perfect sense to provide those services to clients as well. We believe this will create a much stronger offering, all the way around.”
Formed in April, 2020, Collaboratory is the new strategy and concept development engine at Bull Stockwell Allen, seeking out and synthesizing the best thinking and ideas to create new-to-the-world hospitality and lifestyle brands – and refine and elevate existing ones. The goal: to create memorable and transformative guest experiences that inspire rave reviews and deep loyalty.
To do that, Collaboratory weaves together a deep focus on the guest experience with brand and storytelling, creating elevated concepts expressed through tight integration of architecture, interiors, vibe, design, service, and programming.
As its name implies, Collaboratory is designed to bring together disparate ideas and disciplines to create new ways of envisioning the evolution of hospitality. Tightly integrated with BSA’s core architectural and interiors studios, it also draws from an external collective of thinkers and doers from the worlds of food and drink, design, retail, hospitality, fashion, culture, sustainability, technology, social enterprise, and the arts.
Regina Connell, who leads Collaboratory, brings expertise in strategy, branding, experience design, and communications from the worlds of retail, design, hospitality, and lifestyle. She says, “We believe that hospitality is in a unique position to unlock human greatness – and not just through inspiration or discovery, or by bringing together people, or providing a room for the night. It can do more, mean more, and become more resilient – and we want to help that evolution.”
Collaboratory provides research and insight, trend analysis and foresight, strategy and concepting, experiential design; and brand, story, marketing, and communications. Regina says, “Whatever it is we do, we work alongside our clients, rather than throwing reports over a wall, never to have them read or acted upon: we think of our clients as members of our ‘lab’ – collectively elevating hospitality and lifestyle for the benefit of all.”