When talking about capsule hotels or micro-hotels, it is very likely that you have in mind the concept of a claustrophobic room like the usual ones in destinations like Tokyo. In Japan, the lack of space in the cities, the high price per m2 and the enormous population density push to build such small spaces and the market accepts them. Beyond its functionality, this type of accommodation became famous even among Western tourists, and sleeping in them became almost a mandatory experience. Subsequently, the microhotel concept has become more sophisticated and is no longer focused only on the budget segment, but instead seeks good value for money and intelligent design.
The idea behind micro-hotels that are beginning to create a trend to satisfy the needs of an increasingly sociable tourist is not the same as that one which gave rise to the appearance of capsule hotels in Japan. These new products are designed to sleep in the minimum space (sometimes less than 5 m2) but without sacrificing design or technology, and combine it with the enjoyment of common areas to socialize.
And who might be interested in this way of traveling?: millennials. Among other targets… because the boundaries between target audiences and customer segmentation are no longer so clear in the 21th century.
New needs: new spaces
But, do millennials love tight spaces? Of course they don’t. But they want to travel much more than previous generations, and do it at a much more affordable price to spend the difference on other experiences. In addition, they are willing to give up traditional hotel services because they understand that the most important thing on the trip is not the room, but the city as a whole. After all, they spend most of their time outside of it.
In the high-end segment of this type of product, we find Yotel, which aspires to transfer the luxury of first class to a small, but well-kept cabin. The beds are custom designed to fit the space to the millimeter, while offering an environment of futuristic design and full of technological innovations.
Although Yotel was one of the pioneers, large players in the industry have already created lines of business for micro-hotels. This is the case of Moxy, created by Marriott in collaboration with Ikea to “make you feel at home, but with a bartender”.
Another veteran brand (in innovation this can be considered as someone who has been in the market for more than 5 years) is Citizen M, which emerged at the Schiphol airport in Amsterdam. In the following video they explain their concept:
Other interesting cases are The Pod Singapore, with its exquisitely designed “boutique capsules”, like the image that illustrates this article. Or the Tommie, from Comune Hotels & Resorts, whose motto is “micro lifestyle rooms, which combine form and function with genuine added value”.
In other positioning, the well-known shared rooms for backpackers, we find examples in Spain such as Dream Cube Hostel. Here inspiration is taken from ship cabins and Japanese capsule hotels to create contemporary-looking hostels that sell an inexpensive but fun experience.
Each one in its own style, what all these micro-hotels have in common is that, more than the pocket, they appeal to the desire for a lifestyle.