Industry Update
Opinion Article 6 July 2017

Zoku, the next Citizen M?

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

By Youri Sawerschel, Founder of Creative Supply & Brand Strategist

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The success of Citizen M, Mama Shelter 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, 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 the 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 the 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 with Startup Fest Europe to host the conference attendees and to organise learning and networking events. 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 standardisation 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.

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Zoku

Facilitating global living and working for the travelling professional, Zoku, which is Japanese for family, tribe, or clan, will disrupt and create a new category in the hotel industry - a home-office hybrid, also suitable for long stays, with the services of a hotel and the social buzz of a thriving neighbourhood.
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Youri Sawerschel

Youri Sawerschel is a Branding Expert and Founder of Creative Supply, a strategic branding agency based in Zurich. Solicited for his creative thinking skills, Youri has been involved with projects focused on creating, launching and managing brands in Europe, China and the Middle-East. He has worked with brands as diverse as Kempinski Hotels, UBS, EPFL and Mondelez.

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