How can we help an Australian hostel brand launch a presence in one of the most "hostile" hostel markets?
Americans need "a place to land," when moving to a new city, to give them the time and resources they need to establish themselves.
People need time to find their people and their place. Rushed housing decisions fuel a vicious cycle of discontentment.
Create a brand extension of Nomads, an Australian hostel brand, offering short-term housing that helps people find their long-term home.
THE PATH WE TOOK TO GET THERE
Identify hostels as an interesting concept to bring to the US -> Research similar brands -> Identify a US consumer problem hostels can help solve -> Create User Journey of Moving Process -> Build Survey to unpack pain points -> Identify Opportunity -> Brand Building Exercise -> Test concept with NYC Citizen's Planning Counsel -> Refine the Brand / Create Brand Essence Video -> Conduct Design Interviews -> Build the Space/ Create the Programs -> Craft Personas and Strategy for Comms -> Create Comms -> Presentation
FIRST, WE IDENTIFIED THE NEED FOR "A PLACE TO LAND" AS AN OPPORTUNITY IN THE AMERICAN MARKET
AMERICANS ARE ON THE MOVE
An American moves an average of 11.4 times in their lives and holds an average of 11.9 jobs, half of these before the age of 25 (Mintel). Yet, 50% of the people we surveyed said they waited until they got to their new city to explore while 45.2% said they did not know anyone in their new city.
THIS LEAVES THEM WITH LIMITED HOUSING OPTIONS
Interviews revealed short-term options like Airbnb were very expensive if stays needed to be extended. Hostels were rarely mentioned, and when they were a lack of US presence and privacy were cited as downfalls. Long-term options, like hotels, were described as expensive and isolating. Craigslist apartments racked up complaints as people wished they would not have rushed long-term commitments to what ended up being sticky situations.
QUICK LEASES RESULTED IN MORE THAN A FEW HORROR STORIES
IT WAS NOT JUST THE LOCATION OF THE APARTMENT, PEOPLE ARE WHAT MAKE A HOUSE, A HOME.
WE DISCOVERED MOVING IS A CYCLE
We began researching the moving journey through interviews, social listening and craigslist stalking. As we were trying to identify different pain points we discovered something interesting-it was not a journey, it was a cycle. There was usually a “Falling to crap phase” when the apartment or roommate was not what they seemed- people would break their lease or count down the days until they could move again. The cycle needed to be broken.
OPPORTUNITY: Create an affordable place to land that helps a new arrival find their people and their place.
WE TESTED OUR CONCEPT BY SHARING IT WITH THE DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF THE NYC HOUSING COUNSEL
Hostels have had a difficult time breaking into the US market, but Nomads has the ideal structure to serve as a foundation for a brand that is built to be an affordable, community centric short-term option for Americans moving to a new city. Sarah mentioned three brands as the closest competitors, but they are all geared toward luxury or long-term markets.
WE BUILT A BRAND TO SOLVE AN AMERICAN PROBLEM
HOW WE DID IT: Create a brand extension of a popular Australian hostel brand, Nomads, using their communal living concept, to solve an American problem.
THE BRAND PROMISE: We are short-term housing that helps you find your home.
WHAT MAKES US UNIQUE: Affordable short-term housing for new to the city-ers that provides the time and resources to help connect them to a community.
VALUES: Community, Exploration & Prosperity
ENEMY: The Vicious moving cycle
DETAILS: The first Spot will be tested in Brooklyn Heights, New York City. Spotters will be able to stay for a max of three months by enlisting in a Spotter's membership (vs. a traditional lease). The rooms will range from $350 for a three-person room to $1400 for a single room. The spot activities are designed to on-board a new arrival to the city and connect them to a community.
WE ADAPTED THE SPACES FOR AN AMERICAN AUDIENCE
The Spot's kitchen, meal preparation and dining areas encourage interaction while not making a person feel like they are in a college dining hall. The cozy living area showcases The Spot events and displays a housing listings board.
We designed one, two and three bunk rooms with lofted beds with a privacy curtain and personal office space underneath to help combat what many Americans shared was their least favorite part of hostel life- the lack of privacy. We devoted the center of the room to a shared living space to cultivate points of connection for roommates.
WE CRAFTED A GO-TO-MARKET STRATEGY BASED ON THE PEOPLE AND PLACES A NEWBIE IS ALREADY TURNING TO FOR HOUSING OPTIONS