Marriott & IKEA Launch a Hotel Brand for Millennials: What Does That Even Mean?

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Most hotels are marketed to a specific group: travelers. Not Baby Boomer travelers or Gen X travelers or millennial travelers—but all travelers. But a new hotel brand called Moxy has been specifically “designed to capture the rapidly emerging millennial traveler.”

This week, hotel giant Marriott announced that it was partnering with the Swedish furniture maker IKEA to create a new brand called Moxy Hotels. The first location will open near Milan’s Malpensa airport in early 2014, and the plan is for roughly 150 Moxy properties to be launched all over Europe during the next 10 years.

The fact that a famed furniture company is involved in the venture has raised eyebrows. (And no, the hotels won’t be packed with IKEA bed frames, book cases, and other merchandise.) It’s also noteworthy that the brand is being aimed at a specific age group:

Designed to capture the rapidly emerging millennial traveler, the new brand combines contemporary stylish design, approachable service and, most importantly, an affordable price.

In other words, if you’re old, this probably isn’t the place for you. Moxy properties won’t be checking IDs or posting an age maximum or anything. In fact, in the press release announcing the brand, a Marriott executive clarifies that Moxy was created for “the next generation traveler, not only Gen X and Y but people with a younger sensibility.”

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So what do millennial travelers want in a hotel, according to Moxy’s designers? What is that “younger sensibility” all about? A few key phrases plucked from the press release offer some clues:

“Economy Tier”
Moxy rooms will be offered at price points and amenity levels somewhere in between a hostel and a four-star hotel. Typical nightly rates will range from $80 to $100. Considering that today’s millennials are living with high unemployment and underemployment amid a global economic slump, the below-average hotel price point is apparently a necessity. Younger consumers have also shown a reluctance to pay for things that older generations consider necessities, including cars and their own independent living quarters—and perhaps also upscale hotel staples like concierges and room service.

“Wildly Self-Sufficient”
“No design element was too small to test with these tech-savvy consumers,” Ramesh Jackson, Moxy Hotels vice president is quoted as saying. “We learned that these confident explorers are wildly self-sufficient, but still want a chance to connect with each other in inviting social spaces in person or digitally.”

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In this case, being “wildly self-sufficient” translates as being OK with self-service. (Here’s where you might see the IKEA influence, what with its renowned cost-cutting DIY business model.) Guest shouldn’t expect a gaggle of fawning hotel staffers at Moxy properties. If anything, staffing will be minimal—which also helps Moxy keep prices down. Self check-in will be available via mobile devices, in an overall atmosphere designed for “savvy travellers who thrive on self-service and embrace new technology.”

“Guestrooms will be functional and well-designed,” the Moxy announcement states. Read: small and uncluttered. Again, both of those characteristics help control costs.

The Guardian (UK) described the furnishings as “no-frills,” and yet the chain is splurging on many tech amenities that younger travelers are presumed to want, including flat-screen TVs and built-in USB ports in rooms, as well as “Plug and Meet” public areas with computers, seating areas, and 56-inch TVs. Free Wi-Fi will be standard too.

If the features described above sound appealing, then no matter what your age, you seem to be a traveler with a “younger sensibility.”

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It’s worth noting that one make-or-break hotel characteristic isn’t mentioned by Moxy executives: location. Considering that the first Moxy will open near an airport rather than in a center city location, let alone in a hip, desirable neighborhood, it’s a safe bet that subsequent Moxy Hotels will also open in the outskirts of cities. Is that what millennials want? Perhaps not, but this is often the tradeoff for cheaper prices.


I think this is just one of the many innovations we can expect to see as a new generation comes of age. I wish these were around when I was studying abroad. I would have booked a weekend here easily, although I don't think $80-$100 is inexpensive enough to lure customers from hostels. The only place I'd spend that much on a hotel, rather than a hostel, is Paris because hostels there are crime ridden and overpriced.


I don't give a damn about the TV in a hotel room- why would I? I've gone on holiday to see the city, not to watch TV. Maybe useful for business travellers, but if you have a laptop with you then you have access to much more entertainment choice. Free wi-fi is a big bonus- I need the internet so I can check flight times, contact friends, etc. Access to a printer would be useful too, as some budget airlines give you the choice between printing your own boarding pass or tripling the price of your ticket to have one printed at the airport.

It will be interesting to see how these hotels pan out, and if they're used by domestic/local users too. I know people in my generation who are booking into hotels when the want a private night with their partner- when you live with 4 other people (or worse, your parents!), it can wreck your relationships.


The first location will open near Milan’s Malpensa airport in early 2014,...

HOTEL - AIRPORT - “Wildly Self-Sufficient” - AIRBUS ( First A350 XWB with wings complete emerges for outdoor testing )

Simply great.


Great a hotel room with cheap furniture that needs to be replaced every 6 months.

Ikea is okay for cheap stuff when you are in college or newly married(and broke) but when its time to purchase "good" furniture educated millennials will goto Ethan Allen and other stores.

You can pass on Ethan Allen products to your kids but Ikea products will be lucky to make it thru your first divorce.


@BenIncaHutz I think at that point Millennials will have moved on from Moxy's target audience. Moxy is focusing on megatrends that start with millennials but do not end with them (i.e. free wifi and self-sufficiency). Considering passing on furniture to your kids is probably not a "younger sensibility."


The hidden truth is baby boomers are just as tech savvy these days and just as demanding. The largest growth of internet users is from seniors. Marriott are already sparse in their furnishings. Most carry their own phone/lap tops. From my experience every guest irrespective of age would like to see a newer model of T.V and they are only few hotel that don’t offer these today, so what is Marriott planning for the generation after. 3d TV sorry they are already in demand.

At the end of the day it’s about service not gadgets. Something I have found inconsistent at Marriot

padgettsemi 1 Like

Hopefully the furniture is already assembled when you get to the room.