HX: The Newsletter Talks to Industry Leader Vicki Poulos, senior global brand director, Moxy Hotels
Just named one of Adweek's rising brand stars, Vicki Poulos, senior global brand director for Moxy Hotels, offers a glimpse into the mindset behind the creation and expansion of this hip Marriott brand. With an average guest room size of 183 square feet, Moxy Hotels offer high-tech features throughout the properties, minimalist style, various dining options, and extra lively public areas that boast games and other extras. The first Moxy Hotel opened in Milan in 2014. There are currently 29 open; seven of these are in the United States. Designed to offer a more cost-effective alternative to traditional hotels, the brand's average ADR is around $200.
Q. What was Marriott's intention behind the Moxy brand?
A. We wanted to combine a stylish design with an affordable price point. Moxy strands for "play." And, play makes you be better at life and work in general.
Q. How do your guests "play" at your properties?
A. We have innovative features like selfie elevators with props, check-in at the bar, hyper-communal public spaces, and fun games. At Moxy Times Square, you have yoga and mini-golf on the rooftop. You normally don't see this in hotels.
Q. What are your challenges as you grow the brand over the next few years?
A. We want to insure that we stay locally relative. We work hard to be hip and relevant in all of our markets. For instance, in our hotel in Cherry Creek, Colo., the ski culture is very apparent; we have ski lift chairs in the public spaces. In Amsterdam, where there is a bike culture, there are free bikes available to guests.
Q. Since you want to be locally relative in your various location, how important are locals to the success of Moxy Hotels?
A. Very important. Eighty-five percent of our bar traffic is local - people living in the community as opposed to guests.
Q. What has been the response from travelers to your smaller guest room size?
A. Generally, our hotels are in more urban markets. Guests in these areas are more accepting of this, since they may be living in smaller apartments and smaller quarters.
Q. How do you see the brand evolving?
A. We want to work more with emerging artists to help in the design of our hotels. In the next couple of years, we also would like to have artists possibly teaching classes at our properties. We want to increase our connections in the creative communities where our hotels are located.
Q. What markets are you looking at in your expansion plans?
A. By the end of 2020 the goal is to have 90 hotels open, with one-third of that being domestic. We are looking at markets like Austin, Texas; Chattanooga and Nashville, Tenn.; Portland, Ore.; and San Diego, Calif.
Q. What do you want travelers to say about Moxy in five years?
A. We want consumers to say that it is a brand they trust and that is a brand that is fun. I want people to say that because it is affordable it doesn't sacrifice style or comfort.
Vicki Poulos leads the strategic brand development and execution of the Moxy experience worldwide, and is responsible for building a brand DNA that can translate on a global scale. She is a member of the Distinctive Select portfolio's (AC, Aloft, Element, Moxy) executive leadership team. She previously served in leadership roles with Marriott International's global marketing and e-commerce team, the Drake Hotel, and MTV/Viacom.