BHN spoke to Erik Warner, co-founder of Eagle Point Hotel Partners and lead partner in Cache House and Anvil Hotel, about the rise of alternative accommodation in the US.
You’ve just opened Cache House underneath the Anvil Hotel. Does this mark your first foray into the shared accommodation sector? And what prompted the decision to do so?
“Yes it does! This type of lodging has excited me for many years. There is a growing demographic of travellers who want to see as much of the world as they can and seek lodging in spaces that provide very comfortable bare necessities with a touch of privacy. They want to be surrounded by similar types of travellers who relish living in a community of “where did you come from, where are you going” is a part of the dialogue. Cache House provides exactly this.”
How does the building of a boutique hotel and hostel within the same family play into your vision as an owner?
“It is a great feeling to be able to accommodate a wider variety of guests by having the hotel and hostel in the same family. Even though the price point is different, the ethos of the experience is exactly the same. And then when everyone ends up at our restaurant, Glorietta, that feeling of being part of a special community of travellers starts to create moments where strangers start to feel like old friends. It goes back to the one piece of the property I kept during the renovation: the original motel sign in our parking lot that says “You’re Only a Stranger Here Once”.
Why is it important to diversify assets in today’s marketplace?
“Travel is the fastest growing industry in our world and the type of travellers are becoming more and more diverse. Having a different variety of products allows us to capture different types of travellers while offering multiple price points. Specifically for us, our lodging products all have that same ethos of community so combining a hotel, hostel, and soon a camping experience all in the same market further creates synergies.”
How is the demand for alternative accommodation shaping the US hospitality landscape?
“I can tell you that experiential travel is where the market is at today and alternative accommodations will soon become mainstream. One no longer needs a brand to operate a hotel as technology and the internet have equalised the playing field of how demand is captured.”
“Look what is happening right now in the glamping sector. Some of the largest private equity institutions are backing start-up glamping companies allowing it to become a normal lodging experience this decade.”
What might this landscape look like in five years time?
“Branded hotel companies will try to look more like independent hotel companies, alternative types of accommodations will start to become normal types of accommodations, and wrapping all of the hospitality landscape will be the experiential factor. The question of “how will my guest have the most meaningful experiential travel experience possible?” is what everyone in our industry is working to figure out.”
What can you tell us about your pipeline for 2020.
“I am working on opening a new property this summer in the North Fork of Long Island, which has become a popular travel destination in recent years.”
“I am also focusing on raising a fund to create more properties like the ones I have been creating such as Sound View and Anvil Hotel, as well as my latest project Cache House.”