After a false start in 2019 due to the onset of the pandemic, Staycation is finally making its way to London. An arrival that marks the first international step for this French start-up, whose idea is simple: to give the possibility to book a hotel room for 24 hours in prestigious establishments and thus live a unique experience defined for each of the hotel partners. The aim is to allow customers to escape everyday life without leaving home. Why that “urban service” is aimed at local customers who want to disconnect for a day, without having to travel.
Two million subscribers in France
A concept that pleases, because in five years, Staycation has already managed to conquer the French market, having among its partner hotels the prestigious Parisian palaces Le Lutetia or Le Bristol, and managed to convince a community of more than two million subscribers. This is mainly due to an offer of around 500 different experiences imagined from themes such as well-being, the unusual, the ultra-luxury. “We adapt to all desires and needs”, says Kevin Hutchings, one of the three co-founders.
This application was born in the summer of 2017 in his head and two of his friends, Mathieu Ecollan and Mathieu Dugast. “Talking to a hotelier, we realized that Sunday was a complicated day for the sector, because with the crossing of customers, between the departure of tourists and the arrival of business customers at the beginning of the week, most rooms were empty”, says Kevin Hutchings. With that in mind, the three future partners discovered that by dissociating hotels from the travel dimension, these establishments became high places Lifestyle and “pleasurable”where it is good to enjoy interesting services, such as a swimming pool, spa or gourmet meals…
The local clientele is the perfect target: residents close to hotels, don’t necessarily want to go far from home, don’t have an excessive budget for a unique experience, but are looking for a daily “break” in their life. “It is a very virtuous model for hoteliers, as they can offer ‘last minute’, with reduced prices, for rooms not rented”, says Kevin Hutchings. Staycation’s role will be to reflect on the offer of unique experiences adapted to each establishment, which can also see it as a way to challenge themselves and find new entertainment activities. “This new clientele can bring a strong added value to the hotel, as they will publish on social networks. It is also an added value to show traditional customers that the establishment is very popular with the locals”. Booking is very simple. Everything happens through the app, where every Wednesday morning offers are proposed, updated every week, for the following Sunday. The beginning ? “First come, first served”.
After the French success, Staycation decided to take an international step. “London is an interesting city for us, not only because it is the second hotel city in the world, but also because it offers a cultural and urban dimension that matches the criteria of Staycation”, says Kevin Hutchings. Therefore, it is logical that the French company wanted to start its international development in the English capital. ONE “quiet launch”, kind of “beta version” to better understand the London market, had already taken place between 2019 and 2020. “Our ambition when we wanted to launch in London was not just to attract French customers residing there. But also the British. And for that, it was necessary to understand their needs to adapt and adapt the offer”.
When this first release began its acceleration phase, the Covid pandemic set in. Staycation therefore had to put its London ambitions on hold, the moment to let the storm pass. “We finally made the choice to narrow our activity in France and continue our development there”, explains Kevin Hutchings. The team hasn’t forgotten about London, however, and has been preparing for their future comeback behind the scenes. “We were also able to come back with more features and more information for this new release.”
They are already big names in the London hotel industry
In the list of partner hotels in London, Staycation already has some cool names, such as Portobello Hotel, Henrietta, Haymarket Hotel, Corinthia Hotel, Courthouse Hotel Shoreditch, Novotel Canary Wharf. Each establishment offers different experiences. “We started small”, says Kevin Hutchings. Twenty packs are already available before more will be added to the list in the coming months. A team of five people is present in London precisely to think about development.
This arrival in London is not, however, regarded as a fresh start for the co-founder. “Customers come for the same reasons, the desire to recharge their batteries and discover new things. Developing Staycation internationally is like translating a novel from French into English. The approach remains the same, we just adapt the concept to a new environment.”
After London, Staycation does not fail to look beyond the borders of the English capital, as in Manchester, for example. “What we offer is something international and we can also think about markets other than the UK”. The co-founder thinks in particular of the United States and Asia. “We really want to develop in the big capitals, especially in a post-Covid world where people consume hotels differently. For establishments, Staycation is also a way to bring them closer to new customers”. A clientele whose average age is 31 in France. “In general, the customer profile of a hotel is 55 years old, so we bring a new generation of consumers”.