How sub-brands are helping Marriott and Best Western target the Airbnb generation 

Over the past two years, global hotel chains such as Marriott and Best Western have aggressively pursued millennial consumers with the launch of sub-brands aimed specifically at the Airbnb generation of young urbanites.

Moxy - Marriott

Marriott introduced Moxy in 2014, which is far removed from its formal, luxury portfolio in design terms, with a focus on 24/7 communal living and ‘budget is beautiful’ mantra.

The newest and most affordable entrant to the international chain, Moxy is aimed at “lifestyle-orientated millennial travellers’, explains global brand director Vicki Poulos. Although there are only two Moxy hotels in the US and three in Europe at present, by 2018 there will be 60 hotels globally, including new sites in London, Aberdeen and Edinburgh.

“We launched Moxy because we saw a huge opportunity in the affordable lifestyle segment that was not being addressed. We found a lot of the budget segment, especially in Europe, had stripped the personality and fun back and the offer was quite bland, so when designing Moxy we wanted to make sure it was fun, energetic and vibrant,” says Poulos.

READ MORE: How to avoid fragmentation when launching a sub-brand

The intention behind the sub-brand was to attract new visitors who had not necessarily experienced Marriott hotels. From the hot pink logo to the compact 183 sq ft rooms, the Moxy aesthetic is based on ‘industrial chic’. Other features include keyless entry, mobile check-in  and the traditional reception desk replaced with a bar. Game arcades and bowling alleys also dominate communal areas.

Taking a modern approach

Refreshing and modernising the reception area has also been a focus for Vib, Best Western’s sub-brand aimed at travellers “looking for social engagement”. The reception space includes food and drink areas, a pop-up space for local retailers and murals designed by local artists, all lit by customised lights that have been programmed to suit the time of day.

Vib Best Western

“The main goal for the design of our newer brands is to ensure that the lobbies are more versatile,” explains managing director of design Amy Hulbert.

“We achieved this by creating spaces with furniture elements that can easily be moved to accommodate larger group seating. We also recognised that communal tables are terrific, as they help to break up the landscape by providing a taller element within the space.”

Suited to urban locations, the compact, modular design of the rooms means each Vib hotel can fit on less than half an acre of land. While still under construction, seven Vib hotels are on schedule to be built in North America, with other sites planned in Cape Town in South Africa, Seoul in South Korea and Vientiane in Laos. The design of each will be tailored to relate to the specific location.

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