At Moxy hotels, you can check in at the bar and get a free cocktail. Once you have unpacked, you can experience acupuncture happy hours, nail tattooing, burlesque shows and tarot card reading. And the rooms are cheap. Globetrender speaks to John Licence, vice-president of premium and select brands for Marriott International Europe, about this quirky new approach.
How would you describe Moxy?
Moxy is an animated, vibrant and stylish hotel thoughtfully designed to give guests only what they want and nothing they don’t. We dare to bend all the rules – that means all of the fun, comfort and style without the hefty price tags.
Launched in September 2014 with Moxy Milan, the experiential brand is defined by its attitude – price is just a pleasant surprise. It has cosy rooms with premium comforts, as well as convenient services like 24/7 Grab and Go, fast and free wifi, and tech-enabled everything. Plus an amped up bar experience. Moxy is fun, inclusive and young at heart.
A Moxy hotel is a 24/7 spot for all things fun and impromptu. I’ve stayed at Moxy hotels around the world and they all bring out the local flavour and energy of the cities they are in through bold programming and design elements that speaks to the creativity of each location.
For example #BlankCanvas is a global Moxy campaign that invites international artists to submit their work to be featured at Moxy hotels. The winning piece displayed at Moxy Frankfurt East pays tribute to Goethe the famous poet who shaped Frankfurt and its society. Moxy Stratford, our third hotel in the UK, carries Olympic-theme design and décor as Stratford was home to the 2012 London Olympic venues.
How do they differ from conventional hotels? Why are they innovative?
There has been and continues to be a cultural shift of today’s consumer that does not want a cookie cutter experience. They want to discover a killer experience at the right price and, on top of that, they want to validate that choice and share their experiences with others.
Moxy hotels is an audacious and fresh brand that flips the conventional hotel service model on its head to pleasantly surprise travellers, without the exorbitant price tags. We felt there was an opportunity to play in a completely new space and launch a new disruptive hotel experience that caters to the next generation of travellers.
It is not just about offering a value proposition but it is also about responding to the changing needs of the customer and offering a tech savvy, high energy, playful, but dynamic hotel experience. We feel that Moxy fills that demand in the market.
Who are they targeted at?
Moxy has been designed to give millennials everything they want and nothing that they don’t. Premium in every way but price – its affordability is not a sacrifice of style, nor a loss of comfort. The Moxy brand is designing its spaces to focus on communal environments with a DIY approach. For example, check-in at Moxy Hotels is at the bar, where guests are greeted with a complimentary cocktail. The public space in the Moxy lobbies are broken up by zones – from very active at the bar to a more calm library area – giving travellers a choice for work or play.
Who actually books and stays? Is there a difference?
Moxy appeals to the young and the young at heart. Moxy calls its target guests “fun hunters” – they don’t take themselves too seriously, they live in the moment and they want to experience life to the fullest. Most grew up in a DIY world – they are used to checking themselves in at the airport, they like the independence of being in control and believe self-service is the best service.
The cheeky programming encourages guests to do all the stuff they would never think of doing back home – lip sync battles, acupuncture happy hour, Relax Corners featuring mini massages and nail tattoos, burlesque shows, tarot card readings, adult coloring books, life-size Jenga and much more.
Is the word millennial over-used these day? How does Marriott define the term?
We define them as next-generation travellers who prize nonconformity, open-mindedness and originality above all. Millennials are expected to account for more than 60 per cent of Marriott International’s business within the next four years. Generations Z and Y (millennials) are expected to account for 90 per cent of the working-age population within a decade; the upcoming generation is gradually transforming leisure, work and communities as a whole.
What is a typical room rate?
Room rates vary depending on season and market. Opening rates at the new Moxy London Stratford begin at £68.
How important is technology and design for Moxy?
Moxy design and style is seriously considered and playfully executed. Today’s millennial travellers are social beings who spend more time in public spaces to work and play. So Moxy’s living rooms become the centre of activity in all of the brand’s hotels around the globe, giving guests exciting ways to work hard and prioritise play.
From the communal Now public space to smart, flexible bedrooms, Moxy is a bold, surprising design for the socially extroverted, energetic consumer. The style features an industrial chic look and aesthetic of polished concrete floors, exposed concrete columns, and open ceilings.
When it comes to technology, the hotel is equipped with fast and free wifi, with abundant plug sockets to recharge no matter where you are in the hotel’s public spaces, or keeping it private in the bedroom. Moxy hotels are also the first Marriott brand to feature Keyless entry [whereby Marriott Rewards members can open their room door with their smartphone] across its entire portfolio.
Next-generation travellers are moving away from traditional cable/satellite TV and choosing to stream media from the internet — Moxy offers Internet TV with partners such as Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and Pandora. Additionally, Moxy guests can stream content directly from their mobile, tablet or notebook to watch their personal content on their bedroom’s big screen TV, an extension of their tech enabled lifestyle to keep them connected. Moxy Hotels also offers mobile check-in (with Room Ready Alerts) and check-out.
How many cities is Moxy in right now and what are your plans for expansion?
We have 23 Moxy hotels across the US, Europe and Asia-Pacific. In Europe we plan to expand into more than 40 new destinations in both fast-growing and established markets in the next three years.
With more than 50 signed hotels in Moxy’s pipeline expected to open between now and year end 2020, the brand is sustaining sharp growth in countries such as Germany and the UK, as well as making its entry into key European destinations including France, Portugal, the Netherlands and Norway.
In the UK, by 2020, we will be entering new cities including Birmingham, Bristol, Chester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Slough, Southampton and York.
How do you choose the destinations to open properties in?
We are always looking for the right growth opportunities and strategic partners across our entire brand portfolio. Owners recognise Moxy’s value proposition offering quick entry to market, access to world-class global platforms and backing by Marriott Rewards, the industry’s leading loyalty programme. Moxy’s franchise model is also a fundamental part of its development strategy, driving nearly 100 per cent of signed deals.
Moxy is experiencing record growth momentum driven by owners looking to maximize the value of their assets quickly with adaptive, re-use and conversion opportunities. Moxy’s flexible design makes it a smart choice for owners, as it easily adapts to a range of development projects, including the transformation of unconventional spaces – a spice warehouse, historical office building or vodka factory, for example – into a stylish, disruptive hotel experience.
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