Moliving presents nomadic and ephemeral luxury – HOTELSMag.com
When Jordan Bem, founder and CEO of Moliving, decided to launch his own hotel offering, he was looking to introduce a unique concept that no company has been able to master. With Moliving, he has finally struck a balance that he feels the hospitality segment lacks – a mobile luxury hotel. Seeking to create a niche space, between glamping and traditional luxury hotels, Bem envisioned Moliving as a “nomadic, hybrid hospitality solution” that eschews the concept of seasonal demand in hotels.
Moving works as a group of units, or hotel rooms, which can be placed in the same location depending on demand. Designed in-house and built on a bespoke chassis, the number of these chambers can be increased or decreased according to seasonal demand and can be easily transported to other destinations “leaving no trace” in the field. Units typically offer 400 square feet of interior space and around 220 square feet of deck space. In total, the rooms are about 60 square meters, about the size of a 5-star junior suite, Bem told HOTELS in July. Each Moliving destination will have at least 50 keys and will include a bathroom, Wi-Fi, smart TV, wireless speakerphone, USB ports and a private bar.
Moliving is a business that requires few assets. The sites will be developed as a joint venture between the company and the landowners. Moliving partners with owners and joins them as an operating partner with a vision to run a reservation system, set up marketing, branding and more. Profits will be shared in accordance with the joint venture agreement.
“We don’t own any land. The landowner still retains the land and some of the structures we put on the land — spa, food and beverage outlets, etc. Bem continued. “Once the joint venture agreement is completed, we can either extend the partnership or terminate it and move our rooms to another location. operators and invest significant capital.
“Moliving is ideally positioned between glamping and luxury spaces. Nobody managed to deliver what we created,” Bem added. “Many companies have attempted to do this while using existing products. For example, some hospitality companies use shipping containers, but no one has created anything specifically for the hospitality industry. More importantly, no one has created anything like this for the luxury hospitality industry. We are a hybrid, between the mobility side of the business and on the other side, we exist in the ultra-luxury space.
In July, Moliving signed a $15 million manufacturing deal with SG Blocks for 60 initial units, all of which will be shipped to Moliving’s Hurley House location, its inaugural property, located in the Hudson Valley at New York. The Jacksonville, Florida-based developer, designer and manufacturer of modular structures also invested in Moliving in March and led its seed investment round. The Hurley House property is expected to open by the third quarter of this year.
Luxury eco-resorts are what Moliving strives to be known for. Aiming to provide the same level of service and amenities as any other luxury hotel, Bem counts brands like Aman, Four Seasons, and Six Senses as competitors to Moliving. With a target audience of 25 to 60 years old, Moliving seeks to attract a traditional luxury clientele, also interested in experiential stays.
“The idea is for people to really enjoy nature, while providing them with the comforts of a luxury hotel,” Bem said.
The development costs of these rooms are much cheaper than those of traditional hotels, which allows the company to benefit from faster returns on investment. Development accounts for approximately 50% of total costs. Building a Moliving room typically costs between $150,000 and $200,000, while development costs for a traditional hotel room range from $800 to more than $1 million, Bem explained.
Moliving also brings flexible inventory. Hotel rooms will be grouped and fluctuated according to inventory. For example, 60 units will operate in New York during the summer, while in the low season they might only operate 30 keys and move the remaining 30 rooms to Florida or another location where there is more demand.
“The idea is to reduce costs and run a project at peak occupancy levels. By having mobile units we can open hotels cheaper and faster,” Bem said.
Not only are the rooms built with recyclable materials, but they are also self-sufficient, in the sense that they can operate 100% off-grid. Each room is equipped with solar panels, recyclable systems to collect rainwater and separate tanks for fresh and black water.
Bem hopes to open several hotels over the next two years. While he plans to focus on growing the business nationally, first on the east coast, west coast, and then centrally, he also wants to expand globally.
“We take the interests of the developers at this point,” he said. “It may take us a few years to expand internationally, but we are very interested in Europe, Africa and all of Asia.”
Right now, Bem says, the challenge is to keep up with demand and educate people about their unique concept.