The CEO of the new player in European tourist accommodations presents its concept. Midway between a hotel and apartment sharing, Sweet Inn offers accommodations in the center of major cities with customized hotel services. It brings its own concept of decoration to residential apartments that are rented from their owners empty with longterm leases.
Recently launched on the tourist accommodations market, Sweet Inn is a new concept that combines the best of hotels and short term rental in a single product. The young company thus offers the possibility of renting an apartment while enjoying hotel services, some of which are included in the base price (dedicated host, hotel bedding, welcome products, luggage check, Nespresso machine, tactile tablet, WiFi...) and other services à la carte (airport transfer, local Smartphone, housekeeping service, private chauffeur, dry cleaning and laundry service, restaurant pass card, meal basket delivery, car rental...). Described as "a hotel scattered about a town" by its ceo Paul Besnainou, Sweet Inn has a lobby available to guests staying at its apartments in all the cities where it is located.
What is the origin of the Sweet Inn concept?
Since short-term accommodations rentals is a high growth sector, we began the Sweet Inn project in November 2013. It took two years of work to launch the concept including one to design it and define the strategy to adopt. In all, we invested 5 million dollars in two years to get where we are. The Sweet Inn network has 200 apartments in seven cities: Paris, Rome, Brussels, Barcelona, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Lisbon.
What are your goals in terms of development?
Initially, we plan to open three new destinations in 2016: Amsterdam, starting in the first quarter of the year, then Vienna and Berlin. We will then try to develop in a fourth European city, such as London, before launching our product in Asia and America. Our goal is to have 450 apartments by the end of 2016, 120 of which will be in Paris. We are currently operating sixty or so properties in the French capital.
How would you differentiate yourselves from other short-term rental providers, in particular those that are part of the "sharing" concept?
We are more professional than the sharing platforms. We rent empty, uninhabited apartments from their owners, through the signature of three-, six- and nine-year commercial leases, then we take care of furnishing and decoration before putting them on the market. The Sweet Inn model is thus viable in terms of legislation, whether it is in terms of taxation or obligation to standardize security. It allows us to offer customers a guarantee and protect them from the dangers of short-term rentals, while offering them a local experience. When we open on a new market we first try to adapt ourselves to the legislation at the destination.
What are your criteria for choosing apartments?
Our selection criteria concern first and foremost the location of the apartment, which must be central. Then we look at the charm of the building, which must be well maintained for a successful initial contact with clients. Finally, the apartment must be in good condition and empty, so we may furnish and decorate it according to our brand standards. It is important for us to optimize space and bedding.
What is your positioning on the market?
Our positioning is difficult to define, but I would say that we are relatively upscale. In Paris, we offer an affordable price per night and our average daily rates run between 130 and 140 euros, for a one-bedroom apartment that can sleep 4, to 250 euros for a two-bedroom that can sleep 6, and 600 to 700 euros for a larger three-room apartment. The Sweet Inn product was initially designed for leisure clientèle, but we are also seeing demand from business segment and we are developing an offer that is adapted to business customers.
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