Buoyed by ongoing strong tourism demand and robust visitor numbers into Southampton, room2, the world’s first hometel is looking to build on an outstanding first year of operation as it further develops across the UK.
Robert Godwin, Managing Director of Lamington Group, room2’s parent company said, “the diverse traveller market into Southampton has made it an ideal location for our first fully-fledged hometel. Having a broad mix of guests throughout the year, who are ready and willing to embrace innovative concepts and design has meant we’ve had a great first year”. He went on to say, “the success of Southampton has helped to pave the way for more room2’s around the UK. Guests are telling us they want to see this more, so we’re responding to that demand”.
All of this comes despite consumer uncertainty around Brexit and ongoing increased competition in the market. The extended stay/alternative accommodation sector has long been a small part of the industry, estimated at around 3% in 2016, but with consumers seeking more authentic, flexible offerings with enhanced levels of technology, its growth has been significant over the last couple of years and is expected to continue. The past year for room2 has seen almost 25,000 beds made, and over 2000 guests use mobile keys to access their rooms, indicating a clear shift toward the use of innovative technologies.
Employing Southampton residents has been a key focus for Godwin and his team, with around 30 employees currently employed within the building. He said, “employment within the hospitality industry has grown by more than 30% over the last ten years, more than three times faster than overall UK employment, and we are pleased to be helping to continue to grow this thriving sector of the UK economy”.
Hometels combine the services and security of a hotel, with the comfort and flexibility of your home, servicing a unique niche in the market between hotels, Airbnb and serviced apartments, and room2 currently have two further sites under development in Chiswick and Manchester, opening in late 2020 and 2021 respectively. They are currently actively seeking partners and sites to meet a vision of 5000 committed keys by 2030.
To celebrate their first year of operation, room2 are welcoming and thanking Southampton locals and guests to the Living Room for coffee and cupcakes throughout the first week of June. They also have a competition running to win one of 10 rooms for just £1 each.