Published on: October 21, 2019by Kevin Coupe
The Washington Post has a story about how "major hotel chains such as Marriott and Hilton are expanding the footprint of the microhotel segment in big cities around the world with new brands … As they do, they are trying to lure customers who are sensitive to price, hungry for experiences and comfortable with tight spaces."
Here's how microhotels are defined: "With rooms generally smaller (sometimes much smaller) than 200 square feet, today’s microhotels are emphasizing in-demand locations and buzzy common areas while offering rooms that are described as 'cozy,' 'highly efficient,' 'functional' and 'the most fun you’ll have in 14 sq m' (or about 150 square feet)."
This isn't exactly as new concept. Smaller hotel chains such as CitizenM, Yotel, Mama Shelter and Pod Hotels have taken the small-is-better route, and the Post notes that "travelers have long had the option to choose minuscule accommodations, experts point out, from bunks in European hostels to capsule-size sleeping quarters in Japan."
The new varieties are something different, however - not "spartan and utilitarian" and relatively cheap, but rather aspirational, with a focus on creating communal experiences. In some ways, there represent a logical progression from a phenomenon that I talked about here on MNB a few years ago ; at that time, I talked about how one chain, Marriott-owned Moxy, which I described as having "a vibe that was somewhere between a frat house and a youth hostel, though a lot nicer than both."
One example: a new Hilton brand, Motto, in which rooms will average about 165 square feet.
This, I think, can serve as a role model for how a lot of retailers ought to think…thinking not just smaller, but differently … focusing on creating experiences that are both aspirational and functional … using format to build community.
One of the things I've been thinking about a lot - especially with Amazon's apparent plans to open a new chain of grocery stores - is what a lot of retailers would/should do if they had the opportunity to start from scratch, to build not just stores but also value propositions on a blank sheet of paper.
What are the strengths that they have that could be built upon and maximized? And what weaknesses do they have that could be minimized?
It is all about not just growing, but being Eye-Opening to one's customers.
- KC's View: