Zoku, the next citizenM?

by Youri Sawerschel , 6 July 2017

Discover Zoku, a brand that blurs the lines between hotel, apartment and office.

Success of citizenM, Mama Shelter and The Hoxton or Ace Hotel has been watched by the entire industry. As hoteliers around the world are raising their game, we ask ourselves: who will set the new benchmark? We picked the hotel brands that we believe to have the potential to become the next hits. Discover Zoku.

Located in the Eastern Canal District of Amsterdam, Zoku is a new brand that blurs lines between hotel, apartment and office. We spoke to Zoku co-founders Hans Meyer and Marc Jongerius to understand their vision.

To stand out in a dynamic Amsterdam market, the two co-founders knew they needed a good story. “Hotels don’t sell a bed anymore, but an emotion”, says Hans Meyer. That’s why the brand launched in 2016 with the mission to “connect people and ideas.” To make this position clear from its opening, Zoku partnered up with Startup Fest Europe to host the conference attendees and to organise learning and networking events. With the hotel’s name meaning “family, tribe or clan” in Japanese, Zoku places great emphasis on the common spaces. Everything within the hotel is designed to foster social interactions – from a giant kitchen to communal working spaces and a rooftop garden.

The room design is inspired by a functional Asian micro-apartment. It combines a living and a working area in just 25 m2 – perfect for long-stay customers.

To open 50 new properties in the next 10 years, Zoku relies on a copy-paste approach. Yet, “finding the right balance between standardization and personalisation is a key concern”, explain Meyer and Jongerius. They are now working on a prototype for the next generation of Zoku rooms. “Beta is our most important value”, says Meyer. Indeed, that sounds more like a tech startup than a hotel company.

This article was originally posted on HospitalityNet.

Picture credits: Zoku