Aparthotels are on the rise but what exactly are they and why are they so appealing? We speak to room2, the people behind two innovative hotels in Southampton and Hammersmith, to discover why consumer behaviour is changing & how good hotel interior design is improving the user experience of hotels.
1. What is a hometel?
By combining the best bits of hotels (service, security, and facilities), with the flexibility, freedom and personality of Airbnb, we believed there was a space in the hospitality sector for a new hospitality segment, and thus hometels were born.
Home + Hotel = Hometel – a place to live not just to stay.
At the heart of these environments is a sense of freedom and flexibility, because what a home means is different to everyone. It's a feeling, a set of rules which you create and live by. It is about providing guests with a platform to do what they want when they want, but with the security, services and support of a hotel environment.
2. Why do you think people are moving away from traditional hotels and towards innovative accommodation concepts such as room2
It is a combination of consumer behaviour shifts and market evolution. When we developed the hometel concept we conducted a range of broad research and identified a number of key trends:
- There is an increasing blurring of the lines between work and leisure. As such guests are seeking greater flexibility and connection compared to restricted and formal hotel environments.
- In the experience economy, there is a growing appetite for unique and authentic living environments. Guests are more discerning than ever before and savvy to the wider breadth of options.
- The mid-tier hotel market now delivers improved design but it is ubiquitous and often limited to the lobby space. Good design is about the user experience, not just design for design sake.
- Modern design, quality bedding and free wifi are now market prerequisites. But consumers expect more if you really want to standout in a complex and convoluted marketplace.
3. room2 was created because its founders wanted to avoid the soulless accommodation they’d experienced while travelling with the GB boat racing team. What gives room2 its unique personality?
Brand personality comes down to human emotional connections. We believe truly unique and memorable experiences are formed through a host of individual touch points, genuine personalised interactions, and enabling guests to utilise the space as if it were their own home. That way there is an emotional connection which is different for every guest.
Our team are encouraged to bring their personalities, beliefs and passions to work on an everyday basis. The removal of traditional procedures and policies helps to allow our roommates to genuinely engage and connect with guests in a relaxed and welcoming manner.
4. Why is good design crucial to creating a hometel?
Because the hometel experience is different for everyone, we needed to create a platform which would allow a range of different guests to be able to utilise and enjoy the environment however they wish. Whether this be families, cruise guests, business travellers or leisure seekers. As such, the design has been developed with a guest first approach. We explored how to maximise the existing spaces to deliver the best possible guest experience. For instance, the floors have a high ceiling height so we installed loft beds in a number of rooms to create a better combined space for families or small groups.
5. The Verona Sofa is proving so popular we’ve even had guests inquire about purchasing them. What’s your favourite piece of furniture in the Project Orange design?
It really is hard to go past the Verona sofas. Not only do they provide a true feeling of home and comfort for the guest but the styling and colour pallet perfectly complement the room design for a totally integrated and connected space.