The Annual Member Conference


September 21-23, 2016





This year’s Arena* in Barcelona—“Come Together: The New Culture of Collaboration"—was the most well-attended conference in our history, with more than 221 hoteliers and representatives from 171 member hotels as well as potential new members joining. Presenting an inspiring panel of experts and speakers from various industries, Design Hotels™ explored the benefits of collaboration and community endeavors in business today.
In order to further our mission to define what it takes to stand out and thrive in an interconnected, globalized marketplace, The Design Hotels™ Team addressed the complexities of today’s hospitality world, emphasizing that invention, creativity, and execution may no longer be enough to guarantee success. Increasingly, forward-thinking companies are pooling resources, sharing communities, and exploring collaborative opportunities.

Arena* also served as an enriching platform, bringing together key trend forecasters and leading media representatives for discussion and exchange. In this spirit, both the conference and the social events that spanned the two-plus days promoted insightful industry discourse and served to connect our community of member hotels.

Design Hotels™ looks forward to seeing you at its next Arena*!

Speakers at Arena* 2016

This year’s Arena* featured an inspiring panel of experts and speakers who explored the benefits of collaboration and examined what it takes to stand out and thrive in today’s interconnected, globalized marketplace.

On the Attribute of a Good City

Curious who joined Arena* 2016?

View Delegates List


Trend Briefing by The Future Laboratory

Predicting the future since 2001, London-based The Future Laboratory joined us at Arena* to share their vision of what’s up next in hospitality. Their intriguing presentations explored two very different angles by which brands engage with consumers and predict trends. The first presentation, Backlash Brands, was a hard-nosed challenge to the convention that “the customer is always right,” arguing that radical can lead to revenue, while the second talk, E-motional Economy, delved into human psychology to reveal how emotion can be a useful conduit through which brands can communicate a clear message.


The Future Laboratory’s Backlash Culture Report 2016, encompassing their talks on Backlash Brands and E-motional Economy, is available as a free download—Enjoy the read.


Download here


September 21, 2016

Welcome Cocktail
at Grand Hotel Central

Close to Barcelona’s most popular museums, bars, and shops, the rooftop terrace of Grand Hotel Central served as the perfect spot to kick off this year’s Arena*, allowing guests to enjoy stunning views and absorb the majesty of this grand city.


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September 22 & 23, 2016

Conference at L’Auditori

For two spirited and highly engaging days of talks and presentations, Arena* attendees gathered at the state-of-the-art L’Auditori. One of the city’s leading music venues and home to the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, this national institution is a cultural and creative icon.


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September 22, 2016

Dinner & Party at Ocaña

One of the city’s hippest places, Ocaña captures the beauty of Plaça Reial and its original 1850s architecture, while incorporating works by contemporary artists. A packed crowd of Arena* attendees gathered together here for a night of authentic food, inspiring drinks, and a boisterous party that evoked the vibrant spirit of Plaça Reial.


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September 23–25, 2016

Arena* Owner’s Weekend
in Ibiza

Bringing together the most creative hoteliers in this world, this year’s Arena* Owner’s Weekend in Ibiza was fueled by the spirit of collaboration. Spending two engaging days with each other, ideas were exchanged and memorable experiences created.


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“The delicate balance between being able to disappear and be part of the crowd.”


Chief Editor