Marc Jongerius, Managing Director & Co-founder Zoku

Marc Jongerius, Managing Director & Co-founder Zoku 2490 3598 BUCHAREST REAL ESTATE CLUB

BREC Talks to Marc Jongerius

Managing Director & Co-founder Zoku

“Zoku is an entirely new product category: a home-office hybrid, suitable for long stays, with the services of a hotel and the social buzz of a thriving neighborhood.“

As new generations enter workforce market and start spending money, new, innovative real estate products are developed targeting them. Zoku Amsterdam was opened in 2016 and is a “combination between Airbnb and WeWork”, as Business Insider pointed out. The company is now developing in Europe, so BREC talked in an exclusive interview with Marc Jongerius, Managing Director & Co-founder Zoku about targeted cities and the expansion model.

What is the secret behind the success of Zoku?

The secret to our success lies in our ability to really understand the needs, wants and frustrations of our target audience. In developing Zoku, we did extensive research and found out that current offerings were often perceived as too traditional and not flexible enough for global nomads.
Where traditional hoteliers start with a floor plan, we see this as our end station. Instead, we started with a blank canvas to define how we can create more value for our guests compared to industry alternatives. We defined and tested all functional experiences that people would like to have to make their stay convenient, efficient and comfortable. After this we defined how we can increase the experience even further by offering tailor-made services, creating a social concept where people feel relaxed and well immediately, and designing a seamless integration of the on- and offline guest experience to really enrich people’s lives while living and working abroad.

Previously, none of this had been developed for the long stay segment.
Before going to the drawing board, we coined factors and ideas that would result in an attractive price point as well (leaving the frills out and creating space in less square feet). Most importantly, Zoku was a real crowd-sourcing project, where the entire concept was developed in close co-operation with our target audience, who extensively challenged us and tested all four prototypes and concept designs.
Designed in collaboration with Concrete, the award-winning interior design and architecture agency, Zoku is an entirely new product category: a home-office hybrid, suitable for long stays, with the services of a hotel and the social buzz of a thriving neighborhood. It’s a relaxed place to live, work and socialize with like-minded people while getting wired into the city.

What are your targeted cities for expansion? How do you see the potential for SEE Europe in general and Bucharest/Romania in particular?

Zoku aims to create an international community network of Zokus through an international rollout in cities that are innovative, tolerant and have a large international network.
In the next years, it is our ambition to open at least five new locations with around 750 units, focusing on European cities such as London, Berlin, Paris, Hamburg, Barcelona, Vienna Zurich or Copenhagen.
Zoku is always looking for interesting opportunities in areas that will be rapidly developing in the upcoming years. When we find an opportunity in a city that matches our pre-defined criteria, we will definitely always look into it.

What is the expansion model? Do you take financing for expanding the network or do you consider to franchise?

Zoku will keep the operation of its hotels within the company and can be realized in existing buildings as well as on new-built locations.