The highly innovative ’25 Hour Hotels’ set new standards in hospitality
In an exclusive interview to CPP-LUXURY.COM, Christoph Hoffmann, CEO of 25 Hour Hotels has shared his insights into the success of the highly innovative hospitality concept.
How was the 25hours Hotel concept born? Were you inspired by any of the existing hotel brands in the market?
25hours was originally developed as a stand-alone concept in Hamburg. My fellow shareholder Kai Hollmann opened the Loft-Hotel Gastwerk in 1999 and wanted to create a dynamic, colorful and more youthful counterpart within the same neighborhood. In 2003, 25hours Hotel Number One opened as one of the first lifestyle hotels for the budget-minded in Germany.
The market has of course changed since then. We have developed into a small group of individual mid-priced boutique hotels – but still with verve and dynamics.
What are the key elements that make up the DNA of your brand?
Certainly a love of adventure. We do not like boring things – in design, in service, in life. And 25hours Hotels are democratic. We don’t believe in target groups. Anyone open to our style of hospitality is welcome.
Which is the business operations model you apply? (management, ownership, franchising etc)
The seven existing 25hours Hotels are operated under lease agreements. We do have talks on management contracts, particularly outside Germany. Franchising has not been an issue yet, as the concept contradicts a bit with our highly individual approach to hotel development.
How would you position your brand? – premium, upscale etc
Traditional categories don’t work for us. We have no classifications with hotel stars and try to pick the best from all worlds. Take the professional attentiveness encountered in a grand hotel and combine it with the lively community at a hostel.
Your rooms feature upscale amenities such as Nespresso coffee, fine linen and premium bedding as well as natural bathroom cosmetics. Yet, you do not have room service. Tell us more.
We do focus on certain services and infrastructure we believe are needed in a city hotel. Free Wifi or free bike and MINI rental is standard with 25hours, but we don’t think bell boys or room service are necessary. And we believe in the power of public spaces; 25hours encourages people to meet and mingle and therefore rather have dinner at the restaurant or bar – nevertheless it is of course possible to take all dishes to the room or even order from a pizza delivery.
How important is interior design for the concept of your brand? Is there a sense of place?
Good and quirky design is part of our brand. It helps selling the product and makes it understandable at first sight. But far more important for the 25hours experience are people and stories. Our staff is finally responsible for making you feel at home and a lot of small details, events and surprises in the hotels give you something to write home about.
What is your approach to dining? Do your hotels feature local dishes?
Gastronomy has a growing importance within our company. We were cautious with restaurants in our first projects, as we believe that hotel guests should leave the hotel and experience the city. In later projects we began to develop stand-alone brands for the restaurants and bars. The focus can vary and depends on the need of the neighborhood and the style of the hotel. We have eclectic world cuisine in the mundane Zurich hotel, and down-to-earth local fair at the more rustic Hamburg HafenCity hotel.
What is the profile of your most loyal guest?
We have in each destination a good share of business travelers who come every week and choose us over standard chain hotels. On the other side we have a growing number of 25hours fans who like the quirky style and deliberately plan their weekends and holidays in 25hours destinations to see what we do there.
Tell us more about your expansion and development plans.
At the moment, we work on a second hotel for Zurich due to open in 2017. At the same time we negotiate contracts in Munich, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Istanbul. Several other destinations are under evaluation. But it is always tricky to say what comes next, the processes are usually long and complex.