BEHIND THE ZOKU CONCEPT
March 31, 2023
And the research behind it
Unlike many hospitality concepts, Zoku was designed to meet the requirements of our guests from the very start – combining the home and the office in a cosy, practical and welcoming space.
Our concept’s foundation was formed by members of our target group: the globally mobile professional. At the very beginning, we conducted 150 personal interviews with them, learning their needs and wants. We discovered many of them were not being serviced by any of the traditional accommodation offerings, be it hotels, serviced apartments or Airbnbs.
In this article, we’ll give you a peek behind our concept – shh… don’t tell the competition!
Key facts about the modern traveling professional
- They travel 11.4 times a year for 8.9 days per trip – an average of 69 days a year.
- They are a mix of 50% men and 50% women, between 25 and 40 years old.
- They travel light, see fast Wi-Fi as their life-blood and are always with their phone in their hand.
- 58% take work home to their hotel room / apartment.
- They relax with exercise, a drink, a movie or a book.
- 64% want to connect with locals while living/working abroad.
- They find maintaining their healthy lifestyle difficult whilst abroad, e.g. eating healthy, exercising regularly, maintaining their work-life balance
During their travels, the global professional feels isolated, and misses their home; their friends and family. No matter how sociable you are, it’s not easy to make new friends in a city you don’t know. Traditional accommodation doesn’t facilitate making connections, even though loneliness can be harmful to health and avoiding it is a top priority for the global traveler. Oftentimes, you are met by a sad, uninspiring hotel bar or lounge – not a place you can spark spontaneous discussions in.
We worked extremely hard to design Social Spaces fit for connecting, with the energy of a bustling party, yet the comfort and purpose of your own living room. We’ve focused on building a vibrant and thriving community, making it easy for you to meet like-minded individuals from the local area and across the globe. Our dedicated Community Manager helps you meet new people, and arranges a packed calendar of inspiring, entertaining and even relaxing events for you to socialize, learn and create whilst away from home.
Feeling at home
There’s no feeling quite like laying in your own bed or snuggling up in your own living room. It’s a feeling that you often miss when staying at a hotel or apart-hotel, especially when you’re there for a short stay and realize that the room is missing the comforts of home.
Our Zoku Loft is a pioneering room design, completely redefining the decades-old formula for creating a hotel room. The Loft is spacious, cosy and efficient, making use of just 25 m2 (260 sq ft) for living, working, relaxing, and sleeping. Traditional hospitality design philosophy makes the bed the dominant feature, with important living features such as a desk, a chair, and storage thrown in at the end of the design process – it’s cramped, awkward and not suitable for much other than sleeping.
In our Zoku Loft, the big table is the center of the space, with the bed residing in its own Loft-style nook raised above the room – you can screen it off and keep it separate. Our Loft can be customized and tailored to your needs – for example, you can swap the art, or pin things to your own pinboard.
Beyond the room, genuinely friendly service was a key way in which people could feel more at home whilst traveling. This is where our staff, our Sidekicks, come in: they are connectors and problem solvers; they know about the local hangouts and events, and can give you advice about anything from beer choices to where to buy a pair of socks.
Working well away
Traveling workspace was something our traveling professionals demanded change in most. When staying in a normal hotel, the desk is usually too small, there’s bad lighting, there’s no office amenities and there is no opportunity to work in a different setting. When renting an apartment or staying in an Airbnb, you will be working alone without amenities in an empty home.
When we asked our test clients to describe their perfect workspace, they demanded two key things, which we concurred with:
- Large, open space with different types of furniture. This variation in workspace design is crucial for people being able to work like they do at home.
- Natural elements like green plants, fresh air and natural light, and having some outside space (a terrace, a garden) for taking a break and relaxing. This is important for concentrated working.
- We’ve made sure that our WorkZoku co-working space, and our Social Spaces in general are a vibrant, dynamic and creative environment where people from around the world can connect and share ideas. If you’re looking for a quieter space for work, our Zoku Loft is also ideal, with your big kitchen table doubling as a large, comfortable desk or a meeting table.
We continue to evolve our concept as we learn more about our residents and members, and as innovations in technology shape the world of work.
Special thanks to our researchers: Jeroen Bosman, Oscar Persoon, Torsten Müller, Robert Bauer, Evaline Hagen, Aliona Churilova and Eke Bon.
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