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Episode 35: Serdar Kutucu

Slow – A Daring Shift in Hospitality with Serdar Kutucu – CEO, Slow

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Serdar Kutucu, CEO of Slow, aims to provide a daring shift in hospitality experiences. Rather that simply offering guests a pit stop from their hectic lives only to return to the same frenetic pace a week later, Slow feels it is their responsibility to inspire their community and show them ways to live a better, happier and healthier life when they leave their places and go back to their daily routine. Host David Kepron talks with Serdar Kutucu about his trajectory through the hospitality industry, his role at Design Hotels, and his plans to bring more meaning to hotel places.

INFO ON SERDAR KUTUCU

Serdar’s LinkedIn profile: linkedin.com/in/serdar-kutucu-0808021b

Websites: https://slowness.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/slowness/

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BIO:

Since April 2020, Serdar is Chief Executive Officer of Slow, a collective of people, places and projects around the world that reframe the ways we live, work and interact. Based in Berlin, Serdar oversees the strategic & brand development as well as all operational efforts. The portfolio of Slow currently includes a farmstead in Ibiza and a treehouse in Tulum and will soon add a creative campus in Berlin as well as a little palacio in Lisbon, providing not mere physical spaces but a journey to an altered state of being.

Previously, Serdar was Chief Operating Officer of Design Hotels, a global hospitality brand based in Berlin. He oversaw various business units, including business & portfolio development and brand management. Serdar had joined Design Hotel in 2008 as Director of Business Development and played a vital role in shaping the company’s collection of 350 independent and design-driven member hotels – in over 60 countries. An aesthete with a natural affinity for brand narrative, architecture, and design, Serdar soon assumed leadership of Design Hotels’ brand strategy and continuously developed the company’s business in alignment with its vision to create original hospitality experiences.

With his deep understanding of the travel industry, gastronomy and hospitality, paired with a wealth of experience in marketing, communications and business innovation, Serdar aims to strategically develop the Slow brand … Serdar holds a master’s degree in international business administration from the University of Vienna.

SHOW INTRODUCTION:

I have heard it said that travel changes us, mostly for the better. We go and return with a different view on things, new learnings and realizations. It draws us together and often can shed light on the differences of our human experience. Hopefully, a new awareness brings us all together in the shared meaning of being human.

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We all expect good design in the hotels we visit but the experience of a hotel stay is more than the architecture. More often these days guests are looking for something deeper. A hotel stay that aligns with the search for meaning and a purpose driven approach to deciding to go out and go far.

What if we sought out hotel destinations where a stay was not only about a good night’s sleep – though that should be a given – but where the place was a collective of people, places and projects around the world that reframed the ways we live, work and interact.

Perhaps the place you would go to is a farmstead in Ibiza or a treehouse in Tulum or maybe it’s a creative campus in Berlin as well as a little palacio in Lisbon, and each of these provided not mere physical places but a journey to an altered state of being.

And then there is the hospitality company called SLOW who dares to be slow in the face of everything around us that seems to be speeding by. SLOW chooses to create places that not only creates memorable locations and does more than shift the velocity of experience, it seeks to alter a guests’ state of being. SLOW conscientiously defies conventions, and embraces the imperfect, the strange and the indigenous.

Serdar Kutucu is the Chief Executive Officer of Slow.

Based in Berlin, Serdar oversees the strategic & brand development as well as all operational efforts.

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Serdar was Chief Operating Officer of Design Hotels, a global hospitality brand based in Berlin. He oversaw various business units, including business & portfolio development and brand management. Serdar had joined Design Hotel in 2008 as Director of Business Development and played a vital role in shaping the company’s collection of 350 independent and design-driven member hotels – in over 60 countries.

With his deep understanding of the travel industry, gastronomy and hospitality, paired with a wealth of experience in marketing, communications and business innovation, Serdar now aims to strategically develop the Slow brand by taking a localized, conscientious approach to every element in the creation of integrated aesthetic environments that are design to enrich wellbeing and provide a model for a more sustainable future.

INFO ON DAVID KEPRON

BIO:

David Kepron is a multifaceted creative professional with a deep curiosity to understand ‘why’, ‘what’s now’ and ‘what’s next’. He brings together his background as an architect, artist, educator, author, podcast host and builder to the making of meaningful and empathically-focused, community-centric customer connections at brand experience places around the globe.

David is a former VP – Global Design Strategies at Marriott International. While at Marriott, his focus was on the creation of compelling customer experiences within Marriott’s “Premium Distinctive” segment which included: Westin, Renaissance, Le Meridien, Autograph Collection, Tribute Portfolio, Design Hotels and Gaylord hotels.

In 2020 Kepron founded NXTLVL Experience Design, a strategy and design consultancy, where he combines his multidisciplinary approach to the creation of relevant brand engagements with his passion for social and cultural anthropology, neuroscience and emerging digital technologies.

As a frequently requested international speaker at corporate events and international conferences focusing on CX, digital transformation, retail, hospitality, emerging technology, David shares his expertise on subjects ranging from consumer behaviors and trends, brain science and buying behavior, store design and visual merchandising, hotel design and strategy as well as creativity and innovation. In his talks, David shares visionary ideas on how brand strategy, brain science and emerging technologies are changing guest expectations about relationships they want to have with brands and how companies can remain relevant in a digitally enabled marketplace.

David currently brings his creativity and insight on brand experiences to an international audience as a member of VMSD magazine’s Editorial Advisory Board, as a Board Member of the Interactive Customer Experience Association (ICXA) and Sign Research Foundation’s (SRF) Program Committee.

He has held teaching positions at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.), the Department of Architecture & Interior Design of Drexel University in Philadelphia, the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising (L.I.M.) in New York, the International Academy of Merchandising and Design in Montreal and he served as the Director of the Visual Merchandising Department at LaSalle International Fashion School (L.I.F.S.) in Singapore.

In 2014 Kepron published his first book titled: “Retail (r)Evolution: Why Creating Right-Brain Stores Will Shape the Future of Shopping in a Digitally Driven World” and he is currently working on his second book to be published soon. David also writes a popular blog called “Brain Food” which is published monthly on vmsd.com.

In September of 2020, he launched the “NXTLVL Experience Design” podcast which brings listeners dialogues about “DATA: Design, Architecture, Technology and the Arts.” His guests include thought leaders who are driven by a passion to create the ‘New Possible’ and promote new paradigms of experiences into the mainstream.

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FEATURED VIDEO

MasterClass: ‘Re-Sparkling’ Retail: Using Store Design to Build Trust, Faith and Brand Loyalty

HOW CAN WE EMPOWER and inspire senior leaders to see design as an investment for future retail growth? This session, led by retail design expert Ian Johnston from Quinine Design, explores how physical stores remain unmatched in the ability to build trust, faith, and loyalty with your customers, ultimately driving shareholder value.

Presented by:
Ian Johnston
Founder and Creative Director, Quinine Design

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