Opinion: The End Of the Hotel Room As We Know It?

Like in almost every industry, game changers enter the world of hotels as well with AirBnB as the best example. But how to innovate from the inside where the majority of hotels became carbon copies of each other, devoid of any imagination and innovation? There is certainly a gap between the typical hotel product and wishes of the modern day guest. Within the long stay segment (also called serviced apartments or extended stay hotels) Zoku aims at re-inventing this fast-growing part of the market by creating a new business model through guest-centric design and value innovation.

Hans Meyer, Advisory Board member Impact Hub Amsterdam

OPINION: HANS MEYER, CO-FOUNDER & MANAGING DIRECTOR, ZOKU

Personal and professional lifestyles changing, boundaries between work and leisure fading, and borders blurring as people become more mobile than ever. The internet and other progressive technologies and infrastructures are enabling an ever-growing number of people from a variety of backgrounds, nationalities and disciplines to become part of a growing collaborative travelling business movement. These traveling professionals work for companies or outside the traditional employment relationship. They travel light and are not bound by duty since they are passionate about what they do.

Tips for innovation in an existing industry? Start from scratch with a white sheet of paper, create more value at fewer costs and work together with your target audience: from inception until forever. The world doesn’t need more stuff, it needs smarter solutions.

Yet no one has designed a home specifically around the wishes of these global nomads — while an obvious and rising demand exists. Although this tribe maintains strong online connections, they don’t always find real and physical ones. Traditional hotels or serviced apartments can be slightly boring, potentially lonely and are often no more than a shelter offering the basics. Typical hotel studios can be seen as double sized hotel rooms with a microwave. And AirBnB, although the idea is there, often doesn’t provide a social structure either. In fact, the nature of a hotel has always been a place where people from different nationalities, backgrounds and fields of expertise stay together. However, they rarely met and interacted. We started thinking about the possibilities in creating a place where people and ideas came together. We saw the potential of stretching the definition of a hotel into a place where people can stay for longer periods and truly engage with the world and people around them.

Facilitating global living and working for the international travelling professional, Zoku, which is Japanese for family, tribe, or clan, creates a new category in the hotel industry — a home-office hybrid, also suitable for long stays, with the services of a hotel and the social buzz of a thriving neighbourhood. Zoku offers the travelling professional a global nomad’s home base through a smart loft (private areas) and social spaces (communal areas). Zoku will be a relaxed place to live, work and socialize with like-minded people while getting wired into the city.

Zoku started as an examination of both extensive desk and field research amongst 150 people from the target audience. We lived the global-nomadic lifestyle ourselves for six months while roaming the globe (Buenos Aires, Washington DC and Bali) and continuing with our work. We’ve developed a total of four prototypes of the Zoku loft which -together with the concept of the public areas- have been tested by our future residents, also with the help of cool mobile EEG scanning technologies.

Zoku has been designed by and for global nomads with a Millennial mindset: international entrepreneurs, self-employed professionals, project managers, management consultants and free movers. They share an entrepreneurial interest, are curious and open-minded. They can be individuals as well as groups like project teams, incubators, start-ups and due diligence teams.

Hotels are interesting places: they’re gathering grounds for international talent, but until now this has not yet been used as an advantage. Guided by the belief that “amazing things can happen when people come together” Zoku will facilitate connections between talented global nomads, companies and the local community.

Tips for innovation in an existing industry? Start from scratch with a white sheet of paper, create more value at fewer costs and work together with your target audience: from inception until forever. The world doesn’t need more stuff, it needs smarter solutions.

www.livezoku.com

Originally posted on: http://amsterdam.impacthub.net/2016/03/30/the-end-of-the-hotel-room-as-we-know-it/

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