It shouldn’t come as a surprise to many of you but a small and scrappy startup called AirBnB has burst onto the hospitality scene with a valuation of over $30 Billion. If you’re like me you’ve probably stayed in a bunch of their properties by now. I’ve had the pleasure to have stayed in Airbnb properties in Europe and all over North America.
Airbnb’s latest valuation is on par to be if not more than Marriott and Hilton put together. Making this scrappy 4-year-old startup a true disruptor to the traditional hotel model and scaring all the big industry players.
One thing I’ve noticed on my travels is a mix of reactions as to how to combat such a high-flying startup like Airbnb. Some hotel chains have decided to stay the same hoping their customers continue to come to them, while others have decided to innovate and adapt to the changes consumers demand and want.
In business, it’s super crucial to solve a problem for your clients or give them the best experience necessary because if you don’t, you’ll lose them to someone else who is doing a better job than you. We have so many choices today so it’s important to differentiate yourself and be different than others in your space.
On a recent trip to New York City, I had the pleasure of staying for the first time in a hotel chain that I had never heard of before called Yotel. Wait, you’re probably thinking, I just forgot the “H” in hotel, but I didn’t so kudos for the hotel to brand themselves as Yotel; it’s catchy.
There were a few areas of the hotel that I wanted to elaborate more on because I find them changing the hotel game. They aren’t doing what everyone else is doing, instead, they are innovating and doing something different.
I feel other brands can learn from Yotel because I had a truly unique experience and needed to share with you a few things I picked up on that I feel would be valuable for other business owners and entrepreneurs to discover new ways in innovating their business.
Simple is Usually Better
I bet you have heard the term, keep it simple stupid before right? Well, that term applies to many things and Yotel decided to take it to an extreme.
Usually, the first thing you see when you enter a hotel is a lobby with front desk staff. When you enter the Yotel location in New York City you get greeted by touch screen check-in machines and a few employees to help with your luggage. That is if their luggage robot isn’t working at the time.
Sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie right? In parts, yes, but I feel Yotel is just making a hotel experience more simple. They are doing something different than every other hotel.
No front desk. No long line-ups. Just checking in efficiently and effectively through a touch screen monitor. Something I feel can go a long way for a business.
Instead of always thinking about adding this or that to your business, why not think differently and ask yourself what can you take away? What process can be made simpler? How can technology make this process better somehow? This is what Yotel has done effectively.
Build a Community with Inviting Spaces
With the number of choices all of us have today for anything from toothpaste to cars to phones, differentiating your business couldn’t be more important. It’s crucial to stand out.
I’m always asked by businesses or entrepreneurs I advise on how they can be different and I tell them something I’ve told others before; go left when others are going right. In an effective way of course that catches peoples’ attention and doesn’t rub your customers the wrong way.
If all the hotels in the industry are staying with their outdated features, updating some rooms, and not creating new spaces that inject energy into the building attracting millennials in the process then instead ask yourself, how can you do something they are not?
When you create a space that people want to be in or a part of, you will naturally grow a community. Something that can be very powerful for any business whether it is a physical or virtual space. Yotel has achieved this with their location in New York.
On the 4th floor, they have created this massive open floor concept where they have a restaurant, front desk, cafe, rooftop terrace, bar, and a common lounging area. Everything is very inviting and trendy with amazing designs throughout the entire space.
This kind of space within a hotel or office is crucial in making people feel at home and makes people like myself want to spend my time there. You need to create an environment or some sort of an oasis that makes people want to stay there, bring their friends there, and hang out. This is what Yotel has done extremely well and I urge you to do something similar for your business.
Clinton Senkow is the Co-founder & COO of Influencive where he manages and oversee’s all business development and partnership activities for Influencive. He’s also the CEO of Senkow Ventures which is a digital consultancy for high-growth startups and SMB’s, a member of the invite-only Forbes Business Development Council, and was named a “Top 20 Speaker by Forbes”. He’s also a three-time Top G20 YEA Entrepreneur representing Canada.