If you are thinking, ‘Aha! Build a chain of hotels and fill it with Ikea furniture. Cunning plan!’ prepare to be astonished. The new hotels will be an Ikea-furniture-free zone. Not a Karlstad sofa or Hemnes bathroom cabinet in site. The chain won’t even be branded Ikea. No, the idea is to go quirky, unusual, irregular. To take on the might of the fast-growing German Motel One chain and Netherlands-based outfit CitizenM who have done so well selling ‘stylish hotel experiences’ on a budget.
The details of the venture are sketchy at best at the moment: all we know is that there will be ‘at least’ 100 new hotels across Europe, and that sites in Austria, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Britain and Poland are either being sought out or are under offer. The hotels themselves will have a pared back offering – high speed internet, yes. Luxurious lobby, no.
This isn’t Ikea’s first foray into the hotel business. Its property portfolio is currently worth about €750m and this includes a handful of hotels and several more under construction - with profits of almost €3bn last year, it has cash to splash. This is definitely Ikea’s most ambitious project in the sector, however. A Swedish daily newspaper reports that the new concept hotel chain will cost around £1bn to build and launch.
The first of these new hotels is set to open in 2014 in an unknown ‘central’ location. MT can get its head around the 'no Ikea furniture' thing. The question is: will they keep Swedish meatballs on the menu..?
An Ikea Rosépeppar by any other name…
The name of Ikea’s new hotel chain is still under wraps and won’t be revealed till September. But if you have a suggestion – or a hunch - tell us about it on Twitter. We’ll retweet the best ones. @MT_Editorial.