Marriott International Inc. (MAR), the largest publicly traded U.S. hotel chain, and Ikea’s parent will start a chain of European budget hotels, with the first due to open in Milan in 2014. Moxy Hotels will have 150 locations in Europe over the next 10 years, Marriott, based in Bethesda, Maryland, said in a statement today. “We see a huge opportunity to expand our market share in Europe,” said Amy McPherson, president of Marriott International in Europe. “The economy tier in Europe represents nearly half of total room supply, yet only 20 percent of these hotels are branded.”
Moxy will open in countries including Germany, the U.K., the Netherlands, Belgium and Austria, Marriott said. Inter Hospitality, a subsidiary of Inter Ikea Group, will develop and own the properties, according to the statement. “The new brand will fuel Marriott’s companywide growth (MAR) in the region, which is expected to reach 80,000 rooms by 2015,” Marriott said.
To grow the brand rapidly, Marriott is working closely with Inter Hospitality who will be the initial developer and owner of the first MOXY HOTELS properties. Marriott has selected Nordic Hospitality to be its first franchisee to operate the brand. Nordic Hospitality is an experienced hotel operator that currently manages several Marriott brand hotels in Scandinavia.
“MOXY HOTELS is the essence of the next generation traveller, not only Gen X and Y but people with a younger sensibility, for whom contemporary style is paramount,” said Arne Sorenson, President and CEO of Marriott International. “Every aspect of the hotel was thoughtfully researched and crafted to reflect and deliver on the changing lifestyles and expectations of this fast-growing customer segment. We believe Marriott will lead the way in redefining the traditional economy hotel experience throughout Europe. We are thrilled to be able to launch the brand with Inter Hospitality as an owner and Nordic as our franchisee. With a dedicated real estate partner and an experienced operator, we expect a fast start and the exceptional customer service that is associated with all of Marriott’s brands.”
Marriott plans to add 150 franchised MOXY HOTELS in Europe over the next 10 years, aiming for locations in Germany, Austria, United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, Italy, The Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. The new brand will fuel Marriott’s companywide growth in the region, which is expected to reach 80,000 rooms by 2015. Amy McPherson, president and managing director of Marriott International in Europe, added, “We see a huge opportunity to expand our market share in Europe with MOXY HOTELS. The economy tier in Europe represents nearly half of total room supply, yet only 20 percent of these hotels are branded. MOXY HOTELS will be a great addition to our portfolio of brands in Europe.”
Peter Andrews, managing director of Inter Hospitality, commented, “The agreement with Marriott and Nordic Hospitality gives us a great opportunity to use our development expertise to build a high-quality hotel property investment portfolio. Our initial focus is on acquiring sites for the new brand in Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium and Austria. Over the next 5 years we aim to secure at least 50 sites for development.”
MOXY HOTELS has been in development for nearly two years. Marriott, together with Nordic Hospitality, has conducted extensive consumer research across Europe including construction of sample rooms for focus group studies. According to Ramesh Jackson, brand vice president of MOXY HOTELS, “No design element was too small to test with these tech-savvy consumers. We learned that these confident explorers are wildly self-sufficient, but still want a chance to connect with each other in inviting social spaces in person or digitally. Based on the concept test results we believe MOXY HOTELS will revolutionize the industry.”
Harald Jacobsen, President and CEO of Nordic Hospitality, stated: “We are proud to be part of the development of this brand and to be the preferred operating partner for MOXY HOTELS. We believe strongly in the competitiveness of the concept and we are convinced that our partnership with both Marriott and Inter Hospitality will result in a rapid development for MOXY HOTELS.”
The contemporary and stylish 150- to 300-room MOXY HOTELS, which are being designed with the goal of attaining LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, will cater to today’s budget-minded, savvy travellers who thrive on self-service and embrace new technology. Guestrooms will be functional and well-designed, with upscale bath amenities, large flat screen televisions and built-in USB ports located within each wall socket. The colour palette features calming neutral tones reminiscent of rich brown leather, combined with natural materials to evoke an organic, comfortable and restorative feel. Each room will also feature a floor to ceiling signature “art wall” that is hand selected to reflect the local city or surroundings.
MOXY HOTELS will feature adaptable public spaces for guests to relax and socialize offering healthy continental breakfast and an evening bar featuring wines by the glass and local brews. In addition, hotels will have two “Plug and Meet” meeting spaces on the lobby level designed with modern ergonomic seating, large writing walls and 56-inch televisions for presentation projection. The lobby will boast state-of-the art computers and 24/7 market featuring snacks and drinks. Guests will enjoy free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, and may opt to check in using their mobile devices. MOXY HOTELS will also be part of Marriott Rewards, Marriott International’s award-winning global guest loyalty program with more than 40 million members worldwide.