I had the chance the other day to catch up with Tina Edmundson, Marriott International’s Global Officer, Luxury & Lifestyle Brands, to discuss the hospitality giant’s first budget brand – Moxy.
The first Moxy opened on Sept. 1 in Milan at the Malpensa airport.
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It’s Marriott attempt at creating a “value” brand for consumers who don’t want to stay in a typical Marriott hotel and want something edgier. Using the brand’s website, I found the cheapest rate for one night next week to be 89 euros, or about $115.
Edmunson told me she thinks the Moxy brand can grow quickly, initially in Europe but eventually elsewhere.
“Looking at the economy space in Europe, it’s very clear that the opportunity is huge. What exists today is mostly independent hotels. Only 28% of the supply there in this space is branded, and what exists today is a little dull.”
The opening comes more a year after Marriott announced its partnership up with Ikea parent, InterIkea, to launch a chain designed to appeal to Millennials and others value style, a good price, free Wi-Fi and self service – and don’t necessarily seek big rooms because they’d rather hang out in the lobby/lounge area.
At least one other airport location is in the works at the Munich’s airport.
The 12 deals to build Moxy locations in Europe so far span a variety of locations designed to cater to business travelers, she said, addressing a question that a reader had asked me.
“We think that we can be very disruptive in this space,” Edmundson said, citing the “nice vibe” the hotels will have. “The (low) price is a pleasant surprise. It is a value brand, near budget.”
The rooms are “pretty cozy” at about 183 square feet, she said.
“It’s very clever and efficient. When you’re in a space you don’t feel claustrophobic,” she said.
What closet? The guest room contains hooks that guests can use to hang their suits, dresses or other items. Whether that is enough depends on how much of a clothes horse you are. Both Edmundson and I tend to like wardrobe changes during business trips, so I asked her if we would be able to make this un-closet work.
“I think we can manage a two-night stay,” she said jokingly.
Of course, Moxy wasn’t designed for long-term stays.
Don’t expect a waiter to ask for your order or to deliver you a room service meal at a Moxy hotel.
It’s all about self-service (see photo above), which is popular among the Millennial generation and those with a Millennial mindset.
You can go to a refrigeration unit or the counters to take what you’d like 24/7 and pay for it. In the morning expect pastries and coffee. There is a barista to make a cappuccino or another espresso drink. The coffee, by the way, is Nespresso.
For lunch or dinner, she said, expect salads and frozen pizza that an employee can heat up for you and garnish it.
For dinner, the Moxy hotels will also feature a home-cooked type meal – a comfort food type dish – that reflects the location in some way, she said. It might be a stew or a curry served in a large crockpot. “It’s unexpected for that environment. It’s simple. It’s not trying to be the restaurant spot of all time but provide you with a meal that’s healthy and convenient.”
At night, the barista becomes a bartender.
Readers: Marriott is going up against some small but already established players in this field, such as citizenM and Yotel. What do you think?