Selena Playa Venao in Panama. Selena Playa Venao in Panama.

Hotels for millennials: Selina coming to MX

Chain plans to open 30 hotels in the next two years

A new and innovative hotel and hostel chain aimed at millennials has its eyes on the Mexican market, with an ambitious target of operating 30 properties here within the next two years.

Selina, which already has 15 properties in Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Guatemala, will need to invest an estimated US $40 million to achieve its expansion goal in Mexico.

Popular tourism destinations including Puerto Escondido, San Cristóbal de las Casas, San Miguel de Allende, Cancún, the Riviera Maya, Mexico City and Mérida are all in the company’s sights and predicted to be among its first destinations.

The company describes itself as “a network of locations across Latin America, the Caribbean and soon the globe” that is aimed at “digital nomads, perpetual travelers or occasional escapists.”

Rather than buying hotels outright or building new ones, Selina’s business model is based on leasing existing properties and giving them a makeover under its brand in order to cater to the growing millennial market.  The millennials demographic refers to people who reached adulthood at or around the start of the 21st century.

Some of the existing Selina properties incorporate co-working spaces and feature works by local artists while one of its objectives is to create “a great community” by linking both guests and outside visitors through the use of its common spaces.

Its first Mexican property is slated to be a refurbishment of the emblematic Virreyes Hotel, located in Mexico City’s downtown area known as the historic center. The property owned by Mexico’s richest man, Carlos Slim, will operate under the Selina brand starting in the first half of next year.

According to Rafael Museri, the company’s co-founder and CEO, the new hotel “will help to change the zone [by] offering a new socioeconomic context.”

Museri and business partner Daniel Rudasevski completed their market research for the Selina concept by sleeping in more than 120 hostels in locations around the world, including New York, London, Amsterdam and Peru.

The experience gave the pair first-hand knowledge of the necessities of the market they are targeting. During their travels they came up with the idea of combining luxury boutique rooms and shared dorms within the same property. A Marriott Hotels executive with experience in international expansion helped them make the concept a reality.

In the coming months, as Selina takes its first step into Mexico, the world’s eighth most visited country, Museri is confident that the brand will take off, adding that it will rely on word of mouth rather than any formal publicity campaign.

“When you have a good product, all you need to do is work,” he said.

Source: El Economista (sp)

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