MILLENNIALS are changing the travel game and hotels have little choice but to keep up.
According to AMEinfo, millennials will represent over half of the total spend in travel by 2020. To continue raking in revenues and capitalise on millennials’ spending power, large hotel chains are scrambling to cater to this new breed of leisure and business travelers.
Last year, AccorHotels announced the launch of a new “lifestyle” brand, Jo&Joe, described as the “best of private rental, hostel, and hotel formats”.
The new properties will be based in major city centers, but will aim to become part of the local community, a desire often expressed when millennials book private rentals on house-sharing sites like Airbnb.
Marriott too jumped on the bandwagon in 2014 with Moxy Hotels, which “combines style, comfort, and affordability with a community atmosphere”. It also calls itself a “boutique hotel with the social heart of a hostel”.
The brand was launched in partnership with Ikea’s real estate arm in 2014.
Marriott International Europe president and managing director Amy McPherson told Skift, “We launched it because in the lifestyle space we thought there wasn’t really a great stylish affordable hotel brand.”
At the moment, Moxy is focused in Europe and the US, in cities such as Oslo, Milan, London, Vienna, Frankfurt, and Nashville. A new property is slated to launch in Bandung later this year.
Facilities and design
Just like Jo&Joe, the lobbies at Moxy are designed as communal areas where guests can mingle, have a cocktail and play card games.
Facilities like a full-service bar, coffee bar, microwave ovens, a large self-service wall stocked with drinks, snacks and full meals accessible 24/7 are available at the lobby.
According to the official brand overview, Moxy is “spirited – always buzzing with high energy, interesting people and an energetic crew.”
Its “design and style is seriously considered and playfully executed” as “today’s millennial traveler spends more time in public spaces, to work and play”.
This is the rationale behind the communal-style lobby that acts as a “living room” and a center of activity and connection for guests.
Rooms are “smartly designed” with motion sensor lighting, in-room Internet TV services including Netflix, Hulu, and Pandora, plenty of power and USB outlets, as well as free WiFi.
Recently, the brand was named by Boutique Design as an up-and-coming hotelier for 2016, which recognizes influencers and promising brands in the hospitality industry.
Moxy Hotels senior global brand director Vicki Poulos said, “Moxy aims to surprise business and leisure travelers with a thoughtful, spirited and playful guest experience.”
Social media and engagement
There’s no doubt digital and social media engagement plays a vital role in increasing brand awareness for hotels.
Guests need to feel as comfortable with the brand online as they do during their physical stay, and localization and personalization of a brand’s online presence are increasingly important.
Moxy implements its own ideas of digital engagement by way of a large video wall in lobbies titled “The Guestbook” where guests can feed their photos and videos onto Instagram and see their photos projected on the wall.
Through the hashtag #atthemoxy, guest photos are also posted on the hotel’s official site at their own discretion.
On top of that, Marriott recently launched its first ever Snapchat video series that showcases the group’s hotels and resort properties around the globe as well as highlight loyalty programs.
The series – titled “Six Days, Seven Nights” – tracks four social media influencers Jennifer Levinson, Tom Jauncey and Diipa Khosla. It follows their stays at various Marriott properties around the globe, as well as shine a light on local culture and sites.
Expectedly, all Moxy properties also offer “furiously fast” and complimentary WiFi.
Entry to India
As Marriott speeds up brand expansion and its integration program following the Starwood acquisition, it will also bring more global brands into India.
Livemint reported the group plans to raise its market share in India’s domestic hospitality sector on top of its current 18,500 rooms in the country.
Marriott International’s chief operating officer for Asia Pacific (excluding Greater China) Rajeev Menon told the publication the company is currently studying the Indian market to bring in Moxy.
“In the moderately priced space in the lifestyle segment, we are looking at bringing Moxy, but we got to make sure we get the right deal before we make those announcements,” he said.
Besides properties slated to launch in Bandung, Tokyo, and Osaka, India will be a test ground for the Moxy brand and Marriott’s “lifestyle” hotel concept.
Menon added, “[Moxy] is starting to get traction in Asia and we believe India also has the opportunity, but we need to design something that fits in the Indian context, which could mean some marginal changes. We are working our way through it.”
Currently, Marriott has 84 hotels and 15 brands to its name in India, including Ritz Carlton, JW Marriott and Courtyard by Marriott across 19 cities.