Have you heard the one about the brand new, soon-to-be-launched hotel chain created especially for the ‘Millennials’ ?
The project is Moxy Hotels, created by one of the global hospitality ‘big hitters’ Marriott International, in partnership with the global ‘big hitter’ of home furnishings *Ikea to provide “affordable” lodging for “millennial global nomads.”
Pssst… in case you’re not already acquainted, the ‘Millennials’, also known as ‘Generation Y’, or ‘Echo Boomers’, are the demographic cohort to ‘Generation X‘… defined in the link above as… having the attributes of confidence and tolerance, as well as a sense of entitlement, narcissism and rejection of social conventions… and who… have distinctly different behaviors, values and attitudes from previous generations as a response to the technological and economic implications of the Internet.
We digress. Somewhat. Maybe not.
The partnership is said to lead to the building of 150 hotels in Europe over the next 10 years. This is encouraging on Marriott’s part for addressing a very real need for good, affordable (read ‘cheap’) hotels in Europe.
And knowing what we do of Ikea, we are also looking forward to seeing innovative, fun, design-led schemes (regardless of what was most probably ‘entry-level’ budget) that the Scandinavians are well known for. Schemes that maybe even we, ‘border-line Gen Y/younger Gen Xers’ could also look forward to staying in whilst gadding, sorry, we mean ‘nomad-ing’ about?
Ooh… is that another label we’ve tripped over? Apologies for labouring the ‘labelling’ point, but just wanting to be clear ‘who’ it is we’re talking about as we anticipate exciting, ‘next gen’ developments in hospitality that must surely come about for such a specific market as the ‘Millennials’.
Arne Sorenson, President and CEO of Marriott International says “Every aspect of the hotel was thoughtfully researched and crafted to reflect and deliver on the changing lifestyles and expectations of this fast-growing customer segment. We believe Marriott will lead the way in redefining the traditional economy hotel experience throughout Europe.”
The official press release goes further to explain the Moxy ‘vision’ as “designed to capture the rapidly emerging millennial traveler, the new brand combines contemporary stylish design, approachable service and, most importantly, an affordable price”.
“Guestrooms will be functional and well-designed, with upscale bath amenities, large flat screen televisions and built-in USB ports located within each wall socket. The color palette features calming neutral tones reminiscent of rich brown leather, combined with natural materials to evoke an organic, comfortable and restorative feel. Each room will also feature a floor to ceiling signature “art wall” that is hand selected to reflect the local city or surroundings”.
Clicking the link for Moxy which offers to hand-hold us through the ‘glossy’ on-line introductions, the fanfare goes a bit, well, flat; we can’t help feeling we’ve stumbled onto the visual equivalent of (the hotel) elevator ‘musak’ (an ‘invention’ of some earlier generation or other). We’re a little confused, you see. Is Gen Y, for all it’s catchy descriptives, the same as Gen X, and dare we even think it, the same as the Baby Boomers? It’s just that… we can’t really tell the difference to what has already come and gone before in the 3* world of business hotels.
Ok, there will be “adaptable public spaces for guests to relax and socialize offering healthy continental breakfast and an evening bar featuring wines by the glass and local brews. In addition, hotels will have two “Plug and Meet” meeting spaces on the lobby level designed with modern ergonomic seating, large writing walls and 56-inch televisions for presentation projection. The lobby will boast state-of-the art computers and 24/7 market featuring snacks and drinks”.
There will also be free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, and guests may opt to check in using their mobile devices.
That’s OK then.
No wait; are these Moxy’s defining USPs?
The fanfare regains some volume when we read that the hotels are “being designed with the goal of attaining LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council”.
OK time to call room service and request a wake-up call on our obvious cynicism. But before we do, let’s take a step back and assess what might be going on here. Are the plans for Moxy actually progressive enough to be labelled as such? Has it really been put together for the super tech-savvy generation Y (or even the borderline Gen Xers)? Is Marriot International making a rod for it’s own back by labelling Moxy a hotel for a new generation who are… “the middle of the action and the coolest one in the room?
And maybe Ikea should know (and could do) better? Rather than treat this as (what comes across) an opportunity to ‘shift’ some (read ‘quite a lot of’) furniture, let’s see a bit of the quirkyness (do not read ‘gimmicky’) which we have been nurtured on and come to know and love (or hate) these past, ‘so many’ years since it landed on our shores and took over the World.
Could this project be a jump onto a band-wagon to cash in on what seems to be the hospitality equivalent of the ’emperor’s new clothes? With ‘cloning’ and repetition the ‘new black’, to push a trend with a catchy name for a catchy generation?
Let’s save the final word for Moxy’s opening in 2014 and hope we (they) just got the labels mixed up…
End note (for now)… Humble apologies for:
1. the over-use of quotation marks… once you start, you just can’t stop!
2. for sounding pithy.
3.*no matter what your design leanings, Ikea have to be respected for repositioning how retailers operate to bring ‘fair for all, affordable for all and accessible for all’ design for the masses.