room2 is the UK’s first hometel brand that was born in 2015. It was founded by brothers Rob and Stu Godwin from Hammersmith, who had travelled for ten years racing boats for GB. Tired of staying in soulless accommodation, which disrupted their training, they set about creating unique, thoughtfully designed environments.
Sabi Phagura caught up with Rob to discuss the comfort and flexibility of home through room2 hometels.
Luxurious Magazine: As former British Olympic Development Sailing team members, we expect you stayed in a fair few hotels. Was this the reason you decided to launch your hotel brand?
Rob Godwin: My brother Stuart, who is also my co-founder, and I stayed at many hotels while we were on the road. We were surprised how many hotels lacked any personality or warmth, which is what you need when on the move.
That’s when we got the idea to create a space for people to stay that would bridge the gap between a hotel and the homeliness of staying in an Airbnb.
Our idea came to fruition when we launched room2 Hammersmith in 2015. Our dream was to combine the best bits of hotel facilities and security with comfort, human connection, and the flexibility to do what you want on your own time.
LM: Describe to us what the concept is behind room2.
Rob: The concept behind room2 is hometels, an exceptional environment where guests staying at a hometel could feel as comfortable and relaxed as they would at home. We want guests to travel flexibly, to be able live, eat, work out or unwind without having to change their daily routine too much.
It’s why all of our rooms feature a fully equipped kitchenette, dining, working and sleeping area, and access to a modern gym and on-site food and drink. We thought of all the things we would need from a hotel and home comforts and put it all together to create the room2 concept.
LM: Sustainability and climate change seem to be key buzzwords right now. What do they mean to your brand?
Rob: After working in the hotel industry for several years, Stuart and I felt it needed to step up its game and be more sustainable. The launch of room2 Chiswick last December was a step forward toward this initiative. room2 Chiswick is the world’s first whole life net zero hometel and has set a new global industry standard for environmental responsibility.
We are on a mission to disrupt the traditional hospitality industry, with sustainability at the forefront of every decision we make from the concept and creation of all our new openings to come. With these initiatives, we hope to encourage others in the hospitality industry to follow in our footsteps for a greener future.
LM: room2 opened the world’s first fully net zero hometel in Chiswick. Can you tell us what this means in practice?
Rob: As the world’s first whole net-zero hometel, the carbon emissions will be rebalanced throughout the entire hometel’s lifecycle allowing for all emissions associated to equal zero. To put this into context, the hometel is forecast to use 89% less energy per m2 compared to typical UK hotels.
We have worked hard to find the most advanced technology to make this feat possible, such as ultra-energy efficient lighting, occupancy sensors, a blue roof, which can hold up to 50,000 litres of rainwater to reduce localised flooding and a green roof to increase biodiversity and absorb CO2.
The hometel is also zero waste to landfill and is one of the first hotels to separate food in custom-made in-room recycling bins.
LM: When you were looking for locations and, indeed, future locations, what do you look out for?
Rob: When choosing a suitable location for any of our properties, there are multiple factors that we have to consider, from demand and supply to breadth of accommodation, choice and profitability. Within cities, corporate hotels lacked personality, so with room2 hometels we are always looking to find a location that would drive us both corporate and leisure demand whilst giving travellers the slick hotel design and home-like place to stay.
We are also super passionate about contributing to our local communities; this is why all our hometels are inspired by the areas they’re located in.
LM: Is there a particular type of customer that is attracted to room2?
Rob: Our philosophy is focused on two core pillars, people and the planet, so our target customers are all those individuals that support inclusivity and care for the planet.
There’s evidence to show that people’s perceptions of nature changed during the pandemic, and this is likely to continue as we move forward. So many more people are more concerned about addressing environmental challenges as a result and are looking at changing their own behaviour through travel and life at home to advance sustainability.
LM: Do you have long-term or repeat customers heading to room2?
Rob: We have many repeat guests and those who stay for a little longer, with the average stay currently hovering around three days. In our room2 Southampton, we even have an occupier who permanently lives with us at the property. Again, like all our properties, room2 hometels offer the comforts of home when you’re away from home, which is incredibly desirable for those who travel a lot, whether for work or pleasure. Hometels created by room2 are somewhere you can live, not just stay.
LM: What is next for room2, and are you planning on opening further hotels?
Rob: We have lots of exciting things in the pipeline and will soon be looking at a portfolio of room2 hometels throughout the UK. Our goal is to reach 5,000 keys for 2030. So do watch this space.
room2 hometels- Where and how?
For more information on hometels created by room2 visit https://room2.com/.
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