PARIS—Designed to meet the expectations of millennial-minded travelers, Jo&Joe, a new brand launched by AccorHotels, based here, takes on the challenge of blending the best of private-rental, hotel and hotel formats by promoting interaction with community living.
“AccorHotels wanted to create a brand that offered the freedom of a rental, the fun/community of a hostel and the comfort and security of a hotel,” said Frédéric Fontaine, SVP of marketing innovation lab at AccorHotels. “These three pillars are key to the co-living concept, which attracts the new generation of travelers.” The way for brands to adapt to this novel tendency is to shift the focus away from “selling rooms to now selling experiences that include food, beverage, events and bedding.”
The concept of Jo&Joe: A living space open to both “townsters” (people living nearby) and “tripsters” (people in town looking to explore). The idea is to foster positive community living through common areas open to both external and internal worlds.
Led by AccorHotels’ Marketing Innovation Lab—which identifies, tests and shares customer-centric and disruptive solutions, with the expectation of generating additional revenue for the group—Jo&Joe overcame a construction process with future guests, external experts, its shadow executive committee and AccorHotels teams. It even worked with teachers and students from Webschool Factory, a Paris-based management school specializing in design, marketing and digital technology.
“The Marketing Innovation Lab worked with the school in different ways: a workgroup of millennials as a test community, a small group dedicated to community definition and management; and also with their teachers, namely, a sociologist who specialized in user experiences,” said Pascal Locatelli, SVP of marketing innovation & project at AccorHotels. “We learned to delegate some topics to the school bringing fresh air, and to focus (even more) our brand identity and design on user experiences and expectations to deliver astute responses.”
Jo&Joe complements brands already designated to the economy segment of the group’s portfolio, which consists of Ibis, Ibis Styles, Ibis Budget and Adagio Access. To date, overall, AccorHotels owns, operates and franchises more than 4,000 hotels and 570,000 rooms in 95 countries across five continents.
“Jo&Joe is unlike any of the current AccorHotels brands,” Fontaine said. “Created for the future guest, the new brand is creating an accessible community for travelers and locals alike. Guests will experience the total immersion of a rental, with private and communal facilities, the social immersion of a hostel, and the reliability of a hotel. The employees at Jo&Joe will be open and communicative with guests, sharing local knowledge while animating the venue and maintaining the quality of the venue.”
While AccorHotels is hoping to attract millennials with this up-and-coming brand, it’s also expecting to draw travelers with the millennial mindset. “It is very important to keep in mind that Jo&Joe is open to everyone,” Locatelli said. “Youth is a state of mind.” Guests who value sharing, spontaneity and experience are also target markets.
“While millennials are cost-conscious, they especially prioritize experience-based travel and convenience. They want experiences that feature a true sense of place and connects people and city,” Fontaine said. “Jo&Joe helps to fill that demand.”
U.K.-based Penson constructed Jo&Joe’s design, despite having never worked on a hotel before. The design company is known for a variety of projects, including campuses for Google, YouTube, Jaguar Land Rover, PlayStation and Jay Z’s Roc Nation. It also created the interiors of the Lotte World Tower in Seoul, South Korea.
“The spaces were designed to be easily adaptable to each person’s situation and budget, marketing to millennials’ desire for a personalized experience,” Fontaine said.
The Playground area will always include an outside area (e.g., a garden, rooftop or community vegetable patch). Neighbors can meet up in the space to eat, drink and participate in events. “This is where the F&B outlets will take center stage,” he said.
“Guests can expect to find local concepts at each individual Jo&Joe property,” he said. “The cuisine will be affordable with a range of authentic flavors and a warm atmosphere with the bar as the centerpiece of the property. The bar at each location will be highly visible from the street and be a space for townsters and tripsters to interact.”
The Happy House is complete with communal areas for interacting, relaxing or working. The space will also include a collaborative kitchen, washing machines and lockers.
“In short, we invented the open house, a house open to neighbors and travelers alike,” Fontaine said. “A cool, affordable and caring house with local flavors and design, filled with animations and talents.”
The Jo&Joe concept will offer travelers various room types. Happy Floors provide access to various kinds of spaces adapted to everyone’s needs and budgets.
“Jo&Joe offers solutions—distinctive experiences and living space with accessible communities for the townsters and tripsters, solo socials, small tribes, and love birds,” Locatelli said.
As far as technology, “Jo&Joe will offer guests an app “designed to enhance the guest experience and act as a social accelerator during their stay,” Fontaine said.
“The app will foster a community for townsters and tripsters to connect and propose activities or serve as a discussion tool,” he said.
The app enables guests to look up news and activities happening at Jo&Joe, discover the community and explore the city, and communicate with other guests.
Jo&Joe is forecasted to open 50 of its properties by 2020, with locations ranging from Paris and Bordeaux to São Paulo. “After extensive research into the millennial generation, the goal is to develop key locations where millennials are traveling,” Locatelli said. “The properties will be located near bustling city centers and close to public transportation and less than 15 minutes from the cities’ major attractions.
“Jo&Joe will be the place where townster meets tripster,” he continued. “Millennials traveling to Jo&Joe will have the opportunity to share experiences about their trip and about the city with locals coming to enjoy the atmosphere of a very cool place. The flexibility of the concept and the different kind of accommodations will offer a wide range of possibilities to enjoy the space for short, medium or longer stays.” HB