IKEA launch budget "Moxy" hotel chain in Milan

19th Sep 2014

Photo credit: IKEA

IKEA has made the move into the hospitality sector in a big way by opening its first ever budget hotel in Milan. Word is that locations in Antwerp, Brussels and Ghent are also on the cards in the near future though ideal locations have yet to be found, as chief executive of Inter Hospitality (IKEA subsidiary brand) Peter Andrews explains:

"We want a Moxy hotel near Brussels Airport and the Antwerp city center. We are also looking around in Ghent but is incredibly hard to find a good location. There were talks, but they did not lead to anything. Nevertheless, we hope to come to Belgium soon." The ultimate plan is to open 150 hotels over the next decade.

The furniture brand has gone into partnership with Marriot to create the “Moxy” hotels – fashionable, budget spaces which contain between 150 and 200 rooms and span 5,000 to 10,000 sqm. Prices will lie between €65 and €95, and the complexes themselves will be built in Italy and then shipped piece by piece to the location – a building process that will take approximately a year. The promise is "contemporary stylish design, approachable service and, most importantly, an affordable price".

The furnishings are to be produced by IKEA though not available for purchase in-store – and will be chic yet simple, to reflect the budget price. They are to be “functional and well-designed” in “calming neutral tones that “evoke an organic, comfortable and restorative feel." It is predicted that the UK – where affordable hotel chains such as Travelodge have flourished – will be an important market for Moxy. Last year IKEA gained approval for the revamp of a plot of land called the Strand East in Stratford, which is likely to become a hotel site, as well as space for homes, shops and offices. The managing director of IKEA's property sector Peter Andrews said the project "gives us a great opportunity to use our development expertise to build a high-quality hotel property investment portfolio.”

This foray into the hospitality sector is not the first venture outside of retail for the brand, and it seems certainly not to be the last. Though the company name is synonymous with homeware, the holding firm Inter IKEA also has a property division with land and real estate in the UK, Belgium, Poland and Spain, and the finance arm manages investments worth €2.3 billion. There has even been talk of moving into the student accommodation area in a variety of European countries, so there is no resting on laurels for IKEA, only a determination to conquer each new sector it enters. The combination of consistent good service, innovative design and low pricing has meant the brand has succeeded in every country and area, with eager customers queuing outside each new branch before it opens for the first time. The business savvy that has been shown suggests it will prove a worthy rival for current UK budget hotel brands, such as Premier Inn. The aim to build 150 locations in ten years shows a confidence that for other companies could be called too bold - but IKEA has the goods to back it up.

Elizabeth McLoughlin

My Retail Media

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