Taco Bell made headlines when it opened a 70-room pop-up hotel in August in Palm Springs, California.
It was a marketing scheme that lasted four days.
The day The Bell Hotel began to accept reservations, it sold out in two minutes.
The guaranteed novelty of staying in a Taco Bell hotel obviously paid off for the company, but it’s not the only fast food business that has ventured into the hotel space.
Ten years ago, Simon Woodroffe, founded YO! Sushi, which delivers food on a conveyor belt and has robots that deliver drinks. Woodroffe went on to use his technology and design prowess to co-create Yotel hotels with Gerard Greene.
Yotel began with technology-enabled sleeping cabins at airports.
Today, Yotel Hotels & Resorts is a sustainable hospitality company that recently launched an ambitious plan to expand its presence around the world.
In this episode we talk with Hubert Viriot, CEO of Yotel Hotels & Resorts for the past five years, about the company’s growth strategy.
Also featured is Christopher Grey, chief technology officer at Intelity, which recently teamed up with Yotel to scale its innovative, tech-forward guest-services platform.
And we include some audio clips of Woodroffe talking about the early vision for Yotel.
Resources and Links
Lodging Econometrics has tracked the hotel industry since 1998. Its global database includes new-hotel pipelines as well as renovations and brand conversions. Hotel franchisers once eager to launch new brands are focused on converting existing hotels because it’s a faster way to recover revenue lost to the COVID-19 pandemic than through new construction. In Episode 346, Lodging Leaders explores the increasing number of conversions in the U.S. hotel industry and what owners and operators need to consider before repositioning an asset.
In the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., financiers anticipated a swell of distressed hotel businesses. Some raised rescue funds to respond to what they thought was a pending crisis. Though there are financial rescues taking place, the level of such activity is far below what industry advisers and fund managers expected. Commercial real estate investors positioned to act in the early days of the pandemic held off and are now just beginning to unleash their cash hoards totaling billions of dollars. Episode 345 of Lodging Leaders podcast explores the state of capital investment in the hotel industry.