Brand Innovation—Yotel

09 Apr 2010, Posted by Paul in brands,current events / news,design,lifestyle, 0 Comments

An interview with global hotel brand, Yotel, and its London-based marketing director, Jo Berrington, by Paul Newman, Creative Partner of CO-OP.

“There is beauty in simplicity” reads a fortune stuck to my monitor at work. I’ve always believed that some of the best ideas are driven by common sense things or occurrences that are often overlooked. Now more than ever in this multi-tasking, on-the-go, mobile fast paced world we live in, one needs to shut off for a bit and really take in what’s going on around them.

A lot of the best opportunities are staring us in the face. It just takes an innovative mind to notice them and create something special.

We chatted with Jo Berrington, the Marketing Director of one such company – Yotel.

Yotel is a different kind of hotel brand – and the brainchild of Simon Woodroffe. It all started when Simon got upgraded to a 1st class cabin on British Airways. This fortuitous experience sparked a common sense simple innovation in two of the busiest airports of the world – Heathrow and Gatwick.

CO-OP: Can you tell us a little about the idea behind Yotel and how the company came into being? What is the ethos of Yotel?

Jo Berrington: Simon Woodroffe started the YO! company and the first brand that came out of it was  YO! Sushi – a restaurant that transformed the perception of sushi being a high end dining experience to a more accessible one.

YO! was destined to be a retail brand. Simon realized that the holy grail of retail is to innovate in order to deliver high luxury without the high cost.

YO! Sushi and Yotel are completely different but they are both rooted in the ethos of YO! – it’s about giving a range of choices, it’s about getting what you want and getting it at a relatively low cost. It’s about innovating in order to deliver high luxury at affordable costs.

CO-OP: So it sounds like you take deep rooted traditional notions and transform them into a more appealing user experience.

Jo Berrington: Yes, turn it on it’s head really. We know that people want hotel rooms. Simon’s approach has been to look at what people really want and how can we offer it in a funky, fresh, appealing way, in a way it has not been done before.

Our business model is about efficeincy – how to utilizes a hotel room in a 24 hour period and which results in a much higher occupancy rate. Yotel has an 180% occupancy rate.

CO-OP: Yotel’s innovative luxury cabin style experience has added another dimension to the hospitality industry. Do you think the multi-tasking general public expects/demands more of this forward thinking from other hospitality/travel/service sectors?

Jo Berrington: Yes. Today’s consumer wants more value, convenience and quality than before and that is why we design taking into consideration the sensory experience.

We think of the traveller in the airport who is waiting between flights in the airport and the stress and anxiety they experience. We think of how to make it a more comfortable journey for them – from lighting, to the materials, to the amenities in each room, they are put in place to make experience of the traveller relaxing.

Our concept is straightforward – we have a democratic point of view as we deal with a wide target audience range.

CO-OP: What are the core principles of the Yotel brand?

Jo Berrington:
Innovation – it’s about looking at what people want, looking at what’s out there and turning it upside down to fulfill a need. It’s about connecting with people.

Location: You will not find a Yotel in suburbia. You will find us in places where real estate is prime. Yotel is an urban brand for people who appreciate good design that fit there transient needs.

Value: Today’s consumer is looking for value, for efficiency and responsibility – and we give that to them.

Quality: Our core is to provide luxury services and experiences and make them accessible to everyone in more affordable ways.

CO-OP: Name a brand that you admire?

Jo Berrington: Mini – they re-invented themselves but kept their authenticity.

360 view, click and rotate

Photos: Yotel, PRI’s The World/Flickr, missmaria/Flickr, andynash/Flickr, jaceguay/Flickr, NoirinP/Flickr

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