"Rayon has transformed the way we evaluate real estate opportunities. We no longer need to rely on rough approximations or costly feasibility studies by architects. With Rayon, we can independently and accurately determine the number of units that can fit in a given space. It's a game changer."
CityHub offers a unique hospitality experience that combines the privacy and luxury of a hotel with the affordability and community of a hostel. Through their innovative "Hub" accommodations, they are redefining the hospitality industry with three current locations in Europe, two openings in 2024, and many more ambitious expansion goals.
Join us in this chat with Martial Robardet, CityHub's Head of Expansion, as we discuss CityHub's values, expansion strategy, and how Rayon helps the team create fast, accurate feasibility studies and nail presentations they give to property development stakeholders.
Redefining Hospitality: Between Hostel to Hotel
CityHub, founded in the Netherlands in 2015, stands out with its unconventional hospitality concept. The brand aims to bridge the gap between hostels and hotels, offering guests the privacy and comfort of a hotel while maintaining the sense of community and affordability found in a hostel.
At the core of CityHub's success is its unique "Hub" accommodation: compact yet stylish sleeping units that provide maximum comfort within a minimal footprint. The Hub approach creates an efficient individual space that offers more room for shared areas, allowing for vast, spa-like bathrooms and sleek lounge and bar spaces. The result is a high-end, elegant design emphasizing the communal vibe and experience.
Furthermore, CityHub integrated technology to enhance convenience and ensure more human interaction. Guests can use self-check-in kiosks and wristbands to help themselves with amenities. These features allow them to feel more at home while freeing up staff to be better hosts and interact on a more personable level. Plus, staff are always available to them on a live chat to give city recommendations and help with other needs.
The Challenge: Pursuing High Expansion Goals with Limited Resources
The concept of CityHub is crafted to provide guests with a unique experience and is also well-thought-out from a business point of view. Creating compact hospitality spaces with minimalist staff teams allows CityHub to base its portfolio in Europe's most exclusive locations.
CityHub currently operates in three spaces, two in the Netherlands and one in Copenhagen, with plans to open in Reykjavik next summer and Hamburg in 2025. The brand aims to expand to 30 (!) cities, targeting areas where hotel prices are traditionally high and they can disrupt the market.
Martial Robardet, CityHub's Head of Expansion, shares three main challenges they faced with executing their expansion strategy:
- Working as a small team: "We are a young company with a startup mindset and big ambitions. Our expansion team includes three people, and our expansion strategy is a lot to handle. That means we must always be super-efficient when examining opportunities coming our way".
- Preliminary stage processing: "For the first steps of examining the potential of a given space, we lacked the right tools to extract precise information about dimensions and square meters. Our feasibility studies were too speculative and non-precise."
- The outsourcing downside: "We usually wait for other real estate development parties to align before outsourcing costly professional feasibility studies. Once we have their input, we send the floor plans to the architects. Then, we have to wait for them to reply with the results. This process is time-consuming and expensive before we even know the exact value of the project."
The Solution: CityHub's Expansion Game Changer, Rayon
Martial introduced Rayon into the workflow of the expansion team, and they haven't looked back since. The user-friendly software allowed the team to collaborate and review plans efficiently on a browser-based canvas. The ability to work on plans simultaneously has been extremely valuable for a small team like CityHub to work faster.
Furthermore, Rayon has enabled CityHub to conduct precise feasibility studies independently. They can now upload a floor plan Image/PDF/DWG file in the software to extract information and create tables with the space SQM according to zones. The team has also created a custom block library with the "Hub" sleeping unit that can be dragged and dropped onto the floor plan to conduct quick test fits.
Finally, Rayon allows the team to create precise, polished floor plan presentations. These presentations are then shared with partners, investors, and developers, enhancing the professionalism of the CityHub and fostering trust among stakeholders. As a result, the team is achieving better meeting outcomes and accelerating the pace of expansion opportunities.
"Rayon is incredibly user-friendly, enabling us to conduct quick feasibility studies on our own. We now attend meetings with property investors equipped with a professional floor plan presentation and accurate project information. This creates confidence and trust between us and the other party, helping us make a successful pitch and achieve our expansion goals."
CityHub's Vision: Beyond the Hubs
CityHub is redefining the travel experience by combining a unique design constellation with human-centric technology. Yet while the trademark sleeping "Hubs" remains at the core of CityHub's concept, Martial reveals that the brand is exploring additional room types to enhance flexibility in different markets. "The heart of the CityHub experience is maintaining the hybrids between affordability, luxury, and community; the aspects that CityHub is known for."
CityHub's journey is a testament to the power of innovative thinking in the hospitality industry. As CityHub continues to expand, it remains committed to making travel more sustainable, affordable, and enjoyable for its guests.
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