The Dutch Zoku is preparing to conquer the world by targeting the "digital nomads".
The brand’s first, and so far only, property, opened two years ago in Amsterdam. If De Wallen is historic, it also brings together a concentration of young entrepreneurs, hence its nickname: the "Knowledge Mile". An ideal framework for business tourism which, inevitably, did not escape the eye of Marc Jongerius, co-founder and managing director of Zoku, and Hans Meyer, already author of the CitizenM concept.
Starting from a 25 m² cube, Marc Jongerius has imagined mixed spaces that can be transformed into offices to propose a new approach to professional accommodations. These loft apartments are designed so that colleagues who travel together can work in their rooms.
"The vision for Zoku came from a trend which we saw becoming apparent of work becoming more and more independent from time and space [...] We looked at what the frustrations are of our target audience of the digital nomads when they are away from home doing work, what do they want and what is the current offering," said Marc Jongerius.
The hotel group says it is ready to announce new hotels within months, targeting the main European cities (London, Paris, Barcelona and Berlin), as well as US cities (Boston, Seattle, Denver and Austin), and eventually Asia.
Marc Jongerius believes that his hybrid approach, between a flat and a hotel for professionals, can help overcrowded cities to better cope with the influx of visitors. In addition, Zoku Amsterdam is converted office space, so it isn’t encroaching on real estate that locals need.
The general manager also said that the brand will look to establish properties in hotel or tourist areas within cities that provide good connectivity and links to business centres.
"We will have achieved our goal when we have successfully landed in a few continents. [...] This is a market that is only going to go up, and big cities need smarter solutions for how they make use of the square meters they have."
The hotel group has appointed Christoph Hager as its new Rollout Lead Europe. With 12 years of experience in hospitality real estate and hotel operations, he has held key positions in Europe, the Middle East and Africa with Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
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