When we started working on Zoku a while back (around 5 years ago), we started out with 150 personal interviews with our target audience: the international mobile professionals whom we like to call “global nomads”. A lot of quirky traits were discovered from this group of people during our research period, and interestingly enough, their needs reach far beyond the current hotel / accommodation offerings out there today. We learned the following about them first:
Global nomads travel 11.4 times a year and stay on average 8.9 days per trip. This makes a total average of 69 days per year. They are a mix of 60% men and 40% women, between 25 and 40 years old with a generation Y mentality. They travel light, see fast Wi-Fi as their life-blood and are always with their iPhone in their hand.
The top most important hotel feature has been crowned a stable, FREE Wi-Fi connection all throughout the hotel.
The thing they miss most during their stays abroad is the connection to their friends and family, making social connections in their new place even more important to them. However, it’s not easy to quickly make new friends and connections in a city you don’t know and the current accommodation offering doesn’t really help with this aspect of staying abroad. The importance of this is again stressed by many of these global nomads telling us that the people you have met during your stay always enhance the positive experience of staying in any form of house or accommodation.
At Zoku, we’re focused on building a community for these people by providing social spaces and programming, making it easy for them to meet like-minded people and creating a local social life for themselves.
Next to the social aspect, global nomads miss the “homely feeling” they are used to from their own home. When staying at a hotel, many of them feel like they’re living in a bedroom for days on end. At Zoku, the big kitchen table is the center of the space, not the bed. In addition, we’re giving residents the option to close off their bed-area and have some influence on the way their new place looks and feels. For example, they can swap art from the art collection in the corridors and they can stream their own movies and music through the entertainment system.
When we asked them to provide us with some insights on what the perfect working space has, they came up with the following needs:
- Large, open space with plenty of nooks and crannies with different types of furniture. This variation in workspace design is crucial for people being able to work like they do at home.
- Green plants, air and light are important for concentrated working, having an “outside” (a terrace, a garden etc.) for taking a break and relaxing is considered a plus. For this reason Zoku Amsterdam has a greenhouse and rooftop garden- and terraces.
Their private workspace was not something they were highly positive about: the desk usually is too small in most hotel rooms and there’s bad lighting, no office amenities etc. When renting an apartment and then having to separately rent a workspace, the office amenities were also a problem. We’ve made sure the Zoku Loft is a place that is adaptable for both living and working, where your big kitchen table can also be used as a large desk or a meeting table. The Loft also offers the option to rent an office package complete with printer and post-its to improve work efficiency. If you’re not a fan of working alone, you can easily go up to our social spaces and grab a seat in our coworking spaces.
Also, a (very, very strong) need came up during the interviews that implied switching the rather sad-looking hotel bar with the occasional lonely drinkers for a social place. Basically, the full and lively living room you’d have at home whenever there’s a birthday party going on. Hotel staff that doesn’t act like hotel staff but more like friends are also a plus in this regard, giving them local tips on where to go in town.
Next to that, a rather obvious need for genuine, good service was still high on the list. This is where our Sidekicks come in: the connectors, problem solvers and more, knowing all about the local hangouts and events.
Last but not least, some more bonus facts:
- 58% of global nomads takes work home to their hotel room / apartment.
- For relaxing, global nomads prefer having a drink, doing physical exercises, watching a movie or reading a book.
- 64% wants to meet locals while living/working abroad for a longer time.
- Many global nomads have difficulty maintaining their healthy lifestyle abroad, e.g. eating healthy food and drinking healthy juices, exercising regularly (yoga etc.), but also maintaining their work-life balance.