Building communities29 June 2022
/ A hybrid model for a hotel: The Student Hotel experience /
“We are one of the best kept secrets in the hotel business.” Charlie MacGregor, founder and CEO of The Student Hotel (TSH), is proud of his brainchild, and rightly so. In a world where hotels have struggled through the upheavals of the past few years and are now facing ever new challenges, MacGregor’s chain of hotels had found a way to differentiate itself from the usual accommodation model already before the pandemic hit, and now it is riding strong and expanding in numerous locations across Europe.
As the name implies, the idea started as an accommodation for students: “The goal at the outset was simply to create a better space,” says MacGregor. “I could not believe how people treated students. No taste in facilities, furniture or space; I wanted to do it better.” But the original idea expanded into something different, something that wants to redefine hotel accommodation.
Contrary to other hotels, where guests have little interaction with staff and even less with other guests or with the community around the structure, TSH is operated with a genuine intent to bring together local people with a more transient community of travelers, entrepreneurs and students. The hotel offers accommodation (both for short and extended stays), workspace (in coworking or shared office modes), a variety of common spaces, and, perhaps most importantly, an open door policy: everyone is invited to come in and make use of the space. “To local people, other hotels are simply buildings that serve a different group of people,” explained MacGregor. “TSHs are vibrant hubs that act as a catalyst for creativity and community involvement. Our open door policy is a bridge to communities.”
As an example, MacGregor mentions the first TSH in Italy, located in Florence. From the outside, the building looks like a traditional Florentine palace, and inside it has everything that a traveler would expect from luxury accommodation, including a rooftop pool with a panoramic view, a restaurant and cocktail bar, but also a contemporary co-working space and meeting area. But the main focus, again, is the open door policy. “We want to tell everyone in Florence that they are welcome to join our community, to hang out and work, and not feel it compulsory to buy a coffee; but compulsory to say hello,” says MacGregor. “We want TSH to be welcome in the neighborhood.”
TSH in Florence was the first to open in Italy, but the country is clearly a focus market for the group: a second location opened in Bologna in the heat of…
Continue reading Games & Parks Industry June 2022, page 26
Photos Courtesy: Sal Marston Photography, The Student Hotel, Martino Dini
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