The explosive growth of the budget airline made weekend trips away an affordable treat for many and the one or two night stay in a hotel was an essential part of the treat. So the recent news that Yotel, a lodging chain, has announced that it is going to open 50 new hotels over the next five years would seem an appropriate thing to do. Except that their hotel rooms are cabins that measure little more than 75 square feet and can be hired for as short a period as just four hours!
We at Explorer Travel Insurance were intrigued as to who would use these hotels, but the answer is clearly, a lot of people. Since the hotel chain first opened in 2007 it has achieved an occupancy rate of 140 per cent in its Amsterdam hotel and 240 per cent in Heathrow. Those are occupancy rates that the more established hotel chains – where you are expected to stay at least overnight – would be envious about. Of course, as the company’s management admits, their hotels are ultra-busy because they “can sell the same room several times a day”.
The chain’s 669-room ‘flagship’ hotel that opened in Times Square, New York three years ago has admittedly bigger rooms, but they are still described as being ‘compact’.
The new hotels will be built on two airport sites at Charles de Gaulle in Paris and Changi Airport in Singapore, as well as sites in central new York, Miami, San Francisco, Boston, Dubai and Singapore.
It didn’t surprise us to learn that the founder of the hotel chain, who has now sold his entire shareholding, is Simon Woodroffe, who started the ubiquitous UK restaurant chain, Yo Sushi! (Come to think of it, the seating in those restaurants is pretty compact too; perhaps that’s what gave him the idea?).
For old fashioned hoteliers whose guests used to book into their hotels for their entire two week holiday, then these new hotels must represent another step towards a more uncertain future, but for anyone who has been forced to sleep at an airport all night, then these hotels must represent the height of luxury. Just don’t expect any chocolates on your pillow.