Locke offers design-led aparthotels for those who want to experience the unique and authentic. Designed for travellers, the brand immerses guests in the neighbourhood’s culture through spaces that connect them to their surroundings. In this interview, RLI sits down with Stephen McCall, CEO of parent company edyn to learn more.
Offering seven unique boutique hotels where all the rooms are apartments, Locke believe life shouldn’t stop when people are away from home. Staying at a Locke locations means staying the way you want to stay and having the freedom and autonomy to travel the way you want.
The company creates spaces where you can incorporate all facets of life in one place instead of you just being another guest in another hotel.
The brand operates four locations in London, with the latest having opened last month in the vibrant Dalston neighbourhood along with further in locations in Manchester, Edinburgh and Dublin. In March, a second site will launch in Dublin and in May two locations will open doors in Munich.
“Germany is a key market for us because of its size, the commercial value in the sector and the fact that Germany has multiple key cities whereas most European countries have only got one or possibly two,” explains Stephen McCall, CEO of edyn, Locke’s parent company. “Outside of Germany, we are looking at key gateway cities such as Paris, Milan, Barcelona, Madrid and Lisbon. We are also looking at doing a project in Helsinki, which is a top location within Scandinavia.”
When looking for new properties, they talk about finding the right micro-location, the right neighbourhoods that are on the cusp of becoming increasingly cosmopolitan. McCall feels these locations can be judged and measured by the number of really innovative and interesting restaurants and bars in the area.
As for keeping them interesting, this is an area in which Locke excels. Once they have finalised negotiations on a hotel, what they do is create a muse. What they do is spend time in the surrounding neighbourhood and bring together people such as DJs, artists, creators, local restaurant operators, independent brands among others to learn more about the neighbourhood. This in turn allows them a better understanding of how to design the hotel, what it should look and feel like, how to programme the soundtrack, which restaurants and bar operators to approach etc.
“So we use this idea of a muse to get the place really embedded in the community. Then when the community evolves, we evolve the muse, speak to new people and the cycle continues in this way, helping to keep the hotels relevant and fresh for guests,” explains McCall.
When considering the key drivers behind the success of the company to date, people stand out as the primary reason for the company’s quick rise. “We deliberately hire outliers, innovators and corporate refugees like me, who have spent time in their career doing things on a global scale and who really want to create something special moving forward.”
He goes on to explain that they also utilise a fantastic operating model, as they have full control of the brand and the acquisitions and operations processes. “We talk about edyn as being a business with soul and being a business that is human. We want our employees to be free, relaxed and at ease at edyn so they can concentrate on their role in the company.”
The business is still in the early stages in the development of its capabilities in the social media arena, and it is still deciding on what sort of brand it wants to be across mediums such as Facebook and Instagram. “For Locke on Instagram, we are looking to be a bit edgier and to give the brand a personality and a tone of voice. We aren’t quite firing on all cylinders just yet on social media but it is a huge opportunity and we will continue to make strides in this area,” says McCall.
The operating ethos of Locke is to create soulful hospitality and they want to set pulses racing when guests arrive on-site, whether this be because of the amazing music they hear or the wonderful food and drink from the latest artisan restaurant that pops up inside. They want visitors to feel like they are living that part of the town or city in which the hotel is situated.
“In my mind scale is the enemy of distinctiveness, and the bigger the company becomes the more you run the risk of just doing one more of what you did before. We fight quite hard against that and whilst it may be inevitable that after the company reaches a certain size this happens regardless, but we want to keep ourselves distinctive and soulful as we look ahead to what comes next,” McCall concludes.