Room Mate Hotels create welcoming and different spaces that surprise all who visit with their design, but most of all, for the treatment received, customers are treated as a ‘buddy’ a ‘friend’, a ‘roommate’. Here, RLI speaks with Kike Sarasola, President and Founder of Room Mate Hotels to discuss the company’s burgeoning expansion plans.
Staying at a Room Mate Hotel property means you will get an experience unlike any other on the planet. The company’s designer hotels are the perfect combination of original design, fashion, luxury and architecture.
These are one-of-a-kind boutique hotels, and each one will make guests feel as though they’ve been transported to another world and are designed to give the client everything they need. Originally starting out with one hotel in Madrid, the Room Mate Mario in the centre of Madrid next to the “Teatro Real”, the company has grown to today operate 25 hotels in 15 different cities, with locations in Madrid, Barcelona, Miami Beach, Malaga, Florence, Rome, Milan, New York, Paris, Istanbul, Mexico City, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Granada and San Sebastián.
“2018 was a key year for us in terms of development and client satisfaction. We had a turnover of €83M, which was a 3.75 per cent increase, and we have achieved a 91.1 per cent rating on Review Pro,” explains Kike Sarasola, Room Mate Hotels President and Founder. “We have also arrived in new destinations such as Rome, Paris, Rotterdam and San Sebastián, whilst our apartment brand, Be Mate, opened its first full management building in Madrid.”
“We have also arrived in new destinations such as Rome, Paris, Rotterdam and San Sebastián, whilst our apartment brand, Be Mate, opened its first full management building in Madrid”
The pipeline for the company in the next 18 months is impressive as they will be doubling its size, with the number of rooms they operate increasing from 1,800 to over 3,600 with 11 new openings, three of these will be in Rome, two will be in Madrid, while Milan, Naples, Sicily, Paris, Canary Islands and Malaga will receive one each.
“We are always willing to explore new markets and opportunities. London has always been one of our top priority destinations and we are very interested in Germany and Northern Europe too. We also feel there is a lot of room to grow in the US, with main destinations like Chicago, San Francisco or Los Angeles as well as secondary cities like New Orleans or Nashville,” explains Sarasola.
For Room Mate Hotels, the destination is always important when choosing new proper ties, but the building and the neighbourhood is equally pivotal. New hotels need to be well located in the city centre and preferably have something special and unique to it to make it stand out. Good examples of this are the company’s Rotterdam hotel, which is located in an old spice warehouse in the city port, or Room Mate Aitana in Amsterdam, an incredible glass structure built on an island very close to the city’s central station.
So why do guests remain loyal, and what differentiates the brand from its peers in the market? “Travellers know they will not be disappointed. They know they will always get incredible value for money, a smile from all our staff, a location right in the city centre, free WiFi in the entire city and breakfast until noon,” says Sarasola. “One of our most important differential factors is that every Room Mate Hotel is different and unique, with its own name and personality, and has been created by some of the most important interior designers in the world, like Patricia Urquiola or Lázaro Rosa – Violán, so we never lose that wow factor.”
Sarasola and the team believe that the revolutionary business model is what has led to the brand’s success to date, the company’s philosophy is based on making people happy and it has proved that happiness can lead to success. Innovation also plays a very important role in how they operate. They are always on beta and willing to evolve. The launch of its apartment brand Be Mate emphasises this. As hospitality’s main players fought against something as natural and intelligent as Airbnb, Room Mate Hotels decided to put together both of these worlds and created Be Mate, which provides the freedom of an apartment with the services of a hotel.
The ethos of Room Mate Hotels is that the best way of travelling is visiting friends, friends with unique personalities that take you by the hand in each city and with whom people share a way of life. The brand is unconventional, constantly questioning things and challenging themselves every day to make its guests happy, just like a true friend would do. “Our greatest challenge is and will always be continuous innovation. Nowadays especially, innovation should include sustainability. It’s essential for an industry so large to be environmentally respectful. This is why we have created Room Mate Ecolution, a very ambitious eco sustainability program that will help us become the most sustainable hotel chain,” Sarasola concludes.