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Marriott to run IKEA hotels

At yesterday’s (Mar 5) International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) conference in Berlin, Germany, Marriott announced a partnership with Inter Hospitality, the property division of Inter IKEA Group, to create a new brand called Moxy Hotels.

The new brand will be Marriott International’s first entry into the economy tier, three-star hospitality segment in Europe.

Designed to capture the rapidly emerging millennial traveller, Marriott said the new brand “combines contemporary stylish design, approachable service and, most importantly, an affordable price”.

The brand will debut in Italy, with the first Moxy Hotel expected to open in Milan in early 2014.

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.

Inter Hospitality was established in January 2012 to “create long term value for the Property Division of Inter IKEA Group by developing and investing in hotel properties and student properties across Europe”, according to the company.

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 traveler, not only Gen X and Y but people with a younger sensibility, for whom contemporary style is paramount,” said Marriott International’s President and CEO, Arne Sorenson.

“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 [and] 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 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,” said Inter Hospitality’s Managing Director, Peter Andrews.

“Our initial focus is on acquiring sites for the new brand in Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium and Austria.

“Over the next five years we aim to secure at least 50 sites for development.”

The new brand will help fuel Marriott’s companywide growth in the region, which is expected to reach 80,000 rooms by 2015.

“We see a huge opportunity to expand our market share in Europe with Moxy Hotels,” said Marriott International’s President and Managing Director of Europe, Amy McPherson.

“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.”

According to Marriott, 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.

“No design element was too small to test with these tech-savvy consumers,” said Moxy Hotels’ Brand Vice President, Ramesh Jackson.

“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.”

He said guestrooms would be functional and well-designed, with upscale bath amenities, large flat screen televisions and built-in USB ports located within each wall socket.

The color 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 also 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.

 HM flew to Berlin with British Airways. BA flies daily to Berlin and the author recommends flying in Club World (Business Class), which features flat-bed seats, hundreds of hours’ entertainment on demand, a great selection of wine and some of the best meals in the sky. For bookings, visit www.ba.com

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