join.
Foster international connections and creativity. A community center. Which happens to have rooms.

Solution

Work in Progress: http://www.nyjoin.com


The inhibition threshold to enter a hotel is high for locals. While travelers used to appreciate a luxury enclave away from the riffraff, today's social media has changed the way we define our tribes and clans - we like to belong to groups that share our goals and values, and those groups don't have to be real-life or local anymore. 

When designing an inclusive space for guests and locals alike, you first need to make the place attractive for locals. Build a community center that becomes a part of the neighborhood... and which happens to have hotel rooms.

Then play into the groups aspect and have activities and facilities that make it easy and natural to join. 

The handmade movement is an excellent example; people from different countries, social status and paths of life are united in the shared love of creating, and of buying handmade instead of China-made, simply because those items have a story and a maker that they identify with. 

Have craft labs with workshops and machinery, where locals can hang out - and guests join. Nothing makes for better friendships than crafting in a group. Have a shop selling art and crafts from local individuals, where guests can buy truly original souvenirs with a story - and meet the maker for coffee. 

The open plan kitchen serves many purposes - allow guests to host supper clubs, have cooking workshops, and allow local restaurants to showcase their cuisine on site. 

A vintage cafe with large groups of jumbled, comfy seating arrangements and a direct entrance to the street is the perfect place to hang out, mingle, and meet.

Adopt-a-tourist is Couchsurfing without the couch - join a like-minded local for a day in their studio, exploring the clubs, or just having dinner at their place.  

Use technology to forge connections before, during, and after the stay - the APP.

Guests and locals use Facebook Connect to log-in. They can book workshops or studio space, invite friends and strangers for their supper club, and see who will be around during their next stay. See a profile you like? Just connect with them and make a date, for crafting, working, fitness, brainstorming, or just a coffee.

Update the shared blog during your stay or when crafting on location, share your story - and help others see what the hotel is all about. See who is on location and join them.

Keep in touch after the stay, make friendships that last a lifetime... and join them again the next time you come to New York, or when you visit the previous guests in their country.


P.S. If you need a marketing manager, gimme a call. ;)

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UPDATES:

9.4.2012 - focus on "join", first experimental render; old concept still applies.
9.4.2012 II - additional features (app, blog) to facilitate joining the fun, first two renders.
10.4.2012 - added a video outlining the thoughts & trends behind the concept
11.4.2012 - started with the website to easily present the concept: http://www.nyjoin.com
12.4.2012 - floor plans for the lobby added
13.4.2012 - distilled the whole concept on 12 slides
18.4.2012 - improved some renders
19.4.2012 - added a video with some footage to clarify the idea
end of April - app screens added, slides clarified.
30.5.2012 - rearranged floor plan to take feedback into consideration, added open plan kitchen



Initial description:

A real hotel? Locals usually don't dare to enter. And tourists? Ugh. They never see a city through the eyes of inhabitants. 

Let's turn around the focus and the idea of who a "paying guest" is. Build a community center first. Bring together the best of NY creativity under one roof. Shared studio space, practice rooms, craft labs, an international daycare center. All of these finance themselves, all participants are paying guests, in a way. Now throw in guest rooms... and you offer a truly inclusive experience.

As a guest, you could live, work, and create in the hotel itself for a whole stay. Or you can mingle... and have a local adopt you for a day. Couchsurfing lets you meet people from all walks of life - why not offer the same experience without having to sleep on a... well, couch?

This also offers great opportunities for business travellers - they can easily bring their wife or kids along and not worry about them being bored while they work inside or outside of the hotel.

Connect all participants for lifelong friendships. Anyone can update the live blog. Connect through a social network, an app, or Facebook. Plan activities in advance, get to meet some of the creatives beforehand. Have an ever-changing, international daycare center. 

Combine a luxury hotel with affordable hostel rooms. Offer conference space and work stations for locals and people in NYC for business. True networking should not be limited by social status. True networking is limited only by your imagination.

If you build it, they will come. 

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