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As you may already know, we earn our keep as consultants running a brand strategy business. Sometimes, our consultancy and travel content cross over, so why not share it with you lovely people? If you haven’t yet heard of Selina Hostels, now is the time to study up on the brand that has swept across Latin America, and now has its eyes on the rest of the world.
To kick off 2019, we’re exploring brands that we feel are on the road to great success in coming years. These brands, in our humble opinion, have all the ingredients and potential to reach global success of epic proportions. Will these brands reach the dazzling heights in their industries, similar to the likes of Netflix, Airbnb and Uber to become household names the world over? We certainly hope so!
First up on our list of brands set to take over the world is Selina. Now, force-fitting Selina into a conventional category for accommodation is difficult; as stated on their website they are a ‘hospitality network’ offering everything from and between boutique lifestyle hotels, premium hostels and co-living arrangements, whilst targeting everyone from Digital Nomads, families, adventurous travellers, flashpackers and even surfers. In what they call ‘The Selina eco-system’, the brand invites you to stay, eat, work, surf and explore new destinations through the Selina brand; living the lifestyle, not just staying in a hotel (check out their compelling brand story here).
Though originating in Central America, Selina is rapidly growing and has established a vast footprint in LatAm, as well as expansion into North America and Europe. Already in 12 countries, their growth plans are vast – as is their investment – with 5 new locations already set to open early this year. In September 2018, Forbes cited them as ‘The Digital Nomad Hotel of the Future’; quite the praise for a brand very much in its infancy at less than 5 years since opening their first location. So, what exactly makes us think that there are even bigger things to come from Selina?
A unique position in the market
As mentioned above, the Selina brand sits in an incredibly unique space in the market for accommodation. Sure, there are great hotel chains, beautiful boutique lodgings, and a multitude of hostels out there; yet in this seemingly congested market, Selina brings you the best of all of these in one place. They offer the guarantee of quality that a large recognised brand can bring, the distinctive feel and design of a boutique and the community feel of any good hostel chain. However, they also bring so much that these other alternatives don’t, blending an array of locations from big-city metropolises to remote beaches, a range of price tiers for all budgets and a complete ‘eco-system’ allowing you to stay in comfort, work in creative spaces and explore ‘til your heart’s content.
Selina understand their customer better than anyone
Despite a seemingly broad target audience, Selina focuses on what needs and motivations unite these types of traveller, rather than why they are different (as traditional hospitality categories have done). A need for comfort, a thirst for exploration, adventure and a desire to learn and understand about people and cultures. This makes them a perfect destination for the humble backpacker, a two-week ‘flashpacker’, or even a family wanting to be in the ideal spot in town whilst not paying through the roof. The choice to explore with complete autonomy (with the support of their staff’s local knowledge), or through organised trips and excursions, as well as activities such as yoga & language classes give you the option to make the most of your experience with Selina.
On top of all this, the brand commits to giving back to the areas in which they operate, which in a world where consumers are increasingly thinking about social impact, shows even more how Selina understand the needs of the modern traveller. They allow employees volunteer time, employ members of local communities and also run a series of initiatives around ‘Sharing talent’ and ‘Protecting the environment’ in what they call Selina Impact.
Complete coherence, but never a carbon copy
It is often said that a great brand should be consistent; however, replication is rarely a good thing and consumers can often grow weary of the same old offering. Instead, in providing a coherent and instantly recognisable product or service, brands are able to enjoy the benefits of their consumers feeling comfortable, yet also still feeling they are still exploring what you have to offer. Selina is a great example of this, with no two locations looking the same – be it the rooms, communal spaces, cowork etc. – whilst also being instantly recognisable through their quirky design. It’s not uncommon to see hollowed out school buses, VW campervans or retro Mercedes cars as space to relax and unwind.
What they really capture is a consistent feel and vibe in each of their many sites. You really get the sense that nothing was just thrown in, or included for the sake of it, every part of the Selina experience is well thought out; giving you a seamless and hassle-free customer journey. This is true, regardless of whether you find yourself in a capital city, or a small beach town inaccessible by road (they even somehow still manage to offer great working spaces and fast Wi-Fi in the most remote of locations!).
Selina’s ability to cater to an increasingly mobile and curious population of travellers (and workers) is making them a go-to choice across Latin America, and their recent endeavours into North America and Europe seem destined for success, coming from a brand that focuses on the customer experience first, not the product.