Meininger Hotels is a European brand catering to the “urban traveler.” Senior VP of Projects Ankur Vaidya is playing the lead in developing the U.S. market for the brand. He tells us a little more about what to expect.
Ankur Vaidya is senior VP of projects for Meininger Hotels.
What exactly is Meininger Hotels?
We are a hybrid between a limited service 3-star hotel and a superior quality hostel, or “poshtel.” Based on the location and the demand drivers, we can interchange our model to have the flexibility to sell beds or rooms, or both at the same time. Meininger also offers such extras as a later breakfast with service until 10.30 a.m., guest kitchens, laundry facilities, a bar serving drinks and snacks until 11 p.m., free Wi-Fi, and 24-hour reception. For an extra charge, guests can bring their pets or arrange a late checkout.
What’s in the pipeline for Meininger Hotels here in the States?
We have active leads at the moment of about nine parcels that we are reviewing closely and are eager to consolidate and re-brand to Meininger. These are in New York, Miami Beach, San Francisco, Boston, Washington, D.C., and Chicago. We have deals in other cities such as New Orleans, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles, as well.
Are there any plans for the more distant future, beyond the current pipeline?
Our long term goal is to be the leading brand in our sector of hospitality, which is the counterpart of Uber in the transportation sector or that of We Work in the communal work space sector. We like to think that we are a catalyst to the very limitedly regulated online marketplace that caters to and tries to lure the business away from the hospitality sector. We operate with full compliance just like any hotel would in their respective location. We also offer competitive pricing on shared accommodations comparable to 3–4 star lodging.
Do you keep any particular criteria in mind when considering location?
The locations have to be Gateway cities that are hubs for Millennials and global tourism.
There are so many hotel brands. Are you really bringing something different to the market?
Yes. We believe we have something different and unique to offer our clientele, which will enable them to experience hospitality in a completely different way while not compromising on quality and hygiene. It is like flying in business class where you are in a shared environment yet in a pleasant setting. We are much more roomy and comfortable than a business class seat and we charge a fraction of the cost.
Some big draws for shared rides, shared spaces, etc. is ease of use and lower price point. How does Meininger fit in with this new instant-gratification, easy-on-the-wallet economy?
We strive to sell the experience first to our clientele, before cost. We want them to feel comfortable, warm, and safe. We provide state-of-the-art furniture that fits our category of hospitality. This is not the old piped beds and a dirty bathroom down the hallway. All our rooms have ensuite bathrooms, sanitized bedding and sheets, and comfortable beds whether it’s for a family of six or a group of friends. The price point is only the icing on the cake. The cake―our product―is what we pride ourselves on.