Retail and gaming brands enter the hospitality space 

Hotels are facing much competition, not just from Airbnb and similar peer-to-peer accommodation services, but also from consumer brands who don’t traditionally operate in the hospitality space. Increasingly, retailers, automotive brands, and even gyms have been opening permanent or pop-up places for people to stay, and now, a slew of other unexpected companies are entering this category. 


To showcase its products in a more immersive way than placing them on a store’s shelves, home and lifestyle retailer Muji is opening hotels in Japan and China. The hotels will of course be furnished and outfitted entirely with items from the company’s collection, down to the Muji-branded soap and shampoo, enabling guests to try before they buy. The rooms will be compact and minimally styled, as is signature for the brand, much like its foray into tiny houses. The first location is set to open later this year in Shenzhen and a Tokyo hotel is slated for Spring 2019. 


This past September, department store John Lewis gave people the chance to stay over in its fully-furnished in-store apartment dubbed The Residence in order to experience its products. While the accommodations varied by store, some contained a bedroom, living, and dining area, while others boasted a kitchen, study, and indoor terrace. Guests could select specific products they wanted to try during their stay, from pillows, to scents, to beauty products, while the space was also outfitted with clothing and food. Customers could even request to host a dinner party or brunch in the space to enable their friends to experience it as well. 


To promote the Xbox One X this past weekend, Xbox Australia hosted a pop-up venue called Stay N’ Play in Sydney, where people could have video game marathons late into the night in a comfortable space where they could also rest and recharge. The branded venue included four suites, themed around games like Minecraft and Assassin’s Creed, each of which were equipped with an Xbox One X, a TV, headsets, and a full selection of games. Guests could reserve a slot for them and a friend to stay between 8pm and 8am for an overnight experience or for a two-hour visit during the day.