Summertime for music fans normally heralds the arrival of a myriad of festivals across the country, bringing to mind rows upon rows of tents, in either the baking summer sun or ankle-deep in mud and rain. Either way, camping in tents has consistently been the least comfortable of accommodation options. This writer distinctively remembers having no choice but to set up a tent in the middle of an already-crowded field, whilst gale force winds ripped the instructions from our hands, leaving two bewildered adults to set up a tent they had never used before in the rain and in the dark. Digression aside, after three days of sleeping upside-down on an incline and cursing the lack of decent accommodation (and our own terrible planning), we never went camping again. If only the concept of a pop-up hotel had been more than a dream at the time.
Pop-up hotels are not a new concept, having seen their origins in the ‘glamping’ movement, where luxury camping with amenities were offered to guests. This however did not change the fact that you were still in a tent. Snoozebox has taken the concept further since it first entered the spotlight in 2011; a more accurate nomenclature as propagated by the company itself is that of a ‘portable hotel’. A cursory web search of that term will actually return Snoozebox as the first result, a testament to a clear brand identity and SEO done right.
The USP that Snoozebox has been running with is that their portable hotels are converted from shipping containers and provided with the mod cons you would expect from a normal hotel, essentially offering a turnkey option for secure festival accommodation, originally designed by innovative design firm tangerine. Television, Wi-Fi, bars, dry cleaning and even restaurants are on offer. Garnering generally fair to positive reviews from guests, the modular nature of the hotel means it is easily transported, set up and taken down; the rest comes from the actual customer service, and Snoozebox ensure 24-hour staff availability.
Snoozebox have not been solely targeting the music festival scene, having also been seen at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Isle of Man TT festival. After a seemingly rocky start, which saw CEO and founder Robert Breare as well as finance director Chris Upton step down after company losses tripled in 2013, the company has steadily gained ground. Early investors may have watched the share price plummet from highs of nearly 70p but it’s starting to look like the brand is being recognised. You could assume the board has been living a champagne lifestyle from some of the placings that have occurred in the past but 2016 looks to be the year that winning contracts could finally pay off.
Establishing footholds in long-established events such as the Grand Prix at Silverstone with an 80-room hotel, a 2-person room for five nights at Glastonbury for just under £2,000 and in Cardiff for the Rugby World Cup, and most recently announced for the Isle of Wight festival which also helps spotlight Snoozebox’s new pop-up inflatable model.
Seemingly going from strength to strength, last year Snoozebox announced that Ealing council was looking to use their distinctive accommodation to provide social housing. Snoozebox have also partnered with the Youth Hostel Association to provide on-site accommodation at the Eden Project in Cornwall. Snoozebox was also recipient of the SBID International Design Award for Intelligent Design late last year. The company now has its sights on areas further afield, looking to establish a presence at the Dubai Expo 2020 and the Qatar World Cup in 2022.
Despite teething problems in the beginning, the future does indeed appear to be bright and box-shaped for this company. The share price may not appear appealing from where it was a few years back but let’s not forget one important factor. Summer is on its way and with that in mind, the festival season is starting. The board may have changed a number of times but the concept hasn’t. There would have been many lessons learnt from the last few years and hopefully with a recognised brand and more contracts under their belt, they might just beat those summer blues for new investors.
By @sorinannuar April 2016.
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