How can we take a social housing idea and introduce it to a culture that values personal space?
Take Nomad, a popular Australian hostel chain, and successfully introduce it into the United States.
American Hostels are Becoming Airbnbs.
We found that, not only do hostels exist in the United States, but they’re growing and evolving to fit American needs. Chain hostels and ‘poshtels’ have blown up in the last half-decade, offering the same amenities as Airbnb and local Bed and Breakfasts for a slightly lower cost.
A True Hostel Experience.
To get a better understanding of a real hostel experience, we visited a local HI hostel in Richmond and were blown away. This newly renovated building had a lounge, kitchen, iMacs, even a projector for movies. Their rooms were clean, fully furnished and occupied – except one.
The room where occupants shared bunk beds was completely empty. The owners told us that no one wants to rent a bunk bed because they’re uncomfortable with sharing a room with a complete stranger. It was a surprise to us that these shared beds, a fundamental element of what makes a hostel a hostel, was not being utilized in the United States market. With this new information our objective became simple.
How can we encourage Americans to stay in shared bunk bed living spaces?
Hostels Can Be Impactful.
Once we narrowed down the problem with introducing hostels to the US market, it was easier to find opportunities. We met as a group and brainstormed three directions that we could take the brand, picking the one we felt had the most potential both creatively and commercially.
Endless Cycle of Disappointment
To better understand the emotional impact of each step a mover takes, we put together a consumer journey map. While building the map, we started to notice that the negative emotions of consumers increased with each part of the moving process. We also noticed that the two most important steps, The Plunge and The Move, were the ones where users had the least amount of time. Lastly, because of the lack of time to make the best choices, new movers would often have to start the journey over, looking for a new apartment in a different neighborhood.
Using this new information we interviewed recent movers to better understand their emotional journey and, in doing so, we discovered our opportunity.
“Craigslist fails to identify more than half of rental scam listings and suspicious posts linger for as long as 20 hours before being taken down.”
The Woes and Headaches of Moving to a Big City.
Millennials are moving to cities now more than ever. Often when they do, they enter a world filled with unplanned decisions, unfamiliar locations, and no social network.
No Time to Avoid Nightmares.
A terrible apartment, a rental scam, a nightmare roommate, these have become a right of passage for many new residents of a city. But by providing a little bit of time and support, novice residents can find the perfect apartment and roommates.
“I had a weed smoking nudist as a roomate. I only met him for drinks and thought he was hot. Biggest regret ever.”
Alone With Little Options.
When moving to a new city, you may be surrounded by more people than ever before, but many report never feeling lonelier. You don’t know where to go, how to get there, or who to go with. Some suggest short-term leasing but that can cost double or even triple the cost of a regular yearly lease.
“The problem with short-term housing is that people expect it to be cheaper than long-term housing, and it’s generally more expensive. So there’s a disconnect between expectations and the way the market prices those apartments.”
An Emotional Rollercoaster.
According to Crimson Hexagon, three of the top five emotions consumers have when moving are Sadness, Anger, and Fear. Even the posts marked under “joy” usually mentioned pain points in the content, i.e., “It will be hard, but you will discover yourself.”
Can we use Nomad hostels as a tool to give new city dwellers the time, skills, and social opportunities they need in order to make transitioning to a city fun?