The budget hotel industry: Is modern the way forward?

It could be argued that in times of economic downturn there has never been a better time to break into the budget hotel industry.

People have less money, they struggle to afford lavish lifestyles and they look for bargains. In the hotel industry, that means people will generally look for respectable enough accommodation at reasonable prices.

And with the recent news that furniture retail giant Ikea is set to launch its own budget hotel chain across Europe, in partnership with the US hotel group Marriott, European Marketing looks at other success stories in the budget hotel industry and indeed whether there is a demand for more.

Here in the UK the budget hotel market is largely dominated by the likes of Travelodge and Premier Inn, who have in excess of 1000 hotels between them.

Both companies were launched in the mid-to-late 80s and have sustained growth and success to the present day, with their no-frills but comfortable accommodation being a popular choice for travellers.

It was recently confirmed that Ikea’s proposed budget hotels in collaboration with Marriott, which are to be branded under the name Moxy, will also be of this mould – though, perhaps surprisingly, they won’t contain furniture from Ikea; a company that has made its name from selling no-frills, ready-to-assemble furniture.

So, how will it be different and is there room in the marketplace for them? Well, according to an official statement, “guest rooms will be functional and well-designed, with upscale bath amenities. The colour palette features calming neutral tones reminiscent of rich brown leather, combined with natural materials to evoke an organic, comfortable and restorative feel.”

You’d be forgiven for thinking, upon hearing that Ikea are going to launch their own budget hotel chain, that it would be of the most basic nature and use the same bold blue and yellow colour scheme that it uses in its retail stores.

However, it doesn’t sound like that at all and if anything it seems as though Ikea will be giving away no clues as to the link between the flat-pack furniture group and its hotel business.

What Ikea will be doing is joining a growing list of budget hotel chains that decorate rooms with style and identity. The coined phrase for these types of hotels appears to be budget-boutique hotels: they have a certain swag about them, and they can be found across Europe.

In Spain and the Netherlands, there is the Chic & Basic hotel chain. This chain, founded in 2003, offers rooms with a modern-urban and very art-like style to their guests and can be found in cities such as Madrid, Barcelona and Amsterdam.

The rooms are functional and are installed with interactive digital TV which gives guests the opportunity to watch TV, films, use the internet or play computer games.

Room Mate Hotels, again a Spanish chain, founded in 2001, is another budget chain that has succeeded in using contemporary and very modern styles to its appeal.

Their rooms have fun and unusual shaped furniture and are designed in such a way that some of them look almost futuristic. Room Mate Hotels has a name – as in ‘Room Mate Emma’ – in each of its hotels’ names, and the idea is that it gives each hotel a roommate or houseguest feel to it, with its own unique personality.

Head north east to Germany and there’s Motel One, a budget hotel chain founded in Munich in 2000 and recently expanded into the UK market.

Motel One prides itself on offering great design for little money, and is instantly recognisable by its bright turquoise colour scheme and classy feel. The chain now has hotels in Edinburgh and London and has a presence in Austria and Belgium too.

And while the economic forecast for Europe in 2013 remains bleak, coupled with the fact that the tourism industry across the continent is still ticking over nicely, there is no reason why Ikea – or Moxy, rather – cannot make a success of their proposed plans to enter the budget hotel marketplace as people continue to have that hunger for travel with the necessity to save money and look for cheaper accommodation.

Hopefully, there will be room for all because from a consumers’ point of view, choice is never a bad thing.

 

Photo courtesy of http://www.fotopedia.com/items/flickr-6836285398

Photographer: || UggBoy♥UggGirl || PHOTO || WORLD || TRAVEL ||’s (http:[email protected])

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