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Best Brand Stories…Room Mate Hotels

The story behind the hip new international boutique hotel.


Boutique Hotels - Room Mate Pau

As a branding specialist, it’s second nature to be hyperaware of great brand stories. On a recent trip to Spain, I stayed at Room Mate Pau, a “Room Mate” boutique hotel. It spins one of the hippest brand stories that I’ve experienced in a while.

The basic concept is this: each hotel is named after a fictitious host. In Barcelona for example, it’s Pau (Paul). He’s away for the week and he’s letting you use his pad as your “base camp ” while you’re in town. He leaves a note for you, greeting you in a relaxed, and friendly manner, tells you about the neighborhood, and shares some of his personal favorite places to visit. The website uses a very hot Spaniard model as Pau, and the hotel tagline is “Would you like to sleep with me?”

In Oviedo, Room Mate Marcos is taking his girlfriend out for her birthday and apologizes for not being there when you arrive but will meet you later at his favorite bar.

In Buenos Aires, Room Mate Carlos is out indulging in his favorite pastime, combing flea markets, but has left a map of the city and two pillows for you (he knows you love that on your bed).

In Madrid, Room Mate Laura welcomes you and tells you she has a wild friend who’s an expert in Madrid nightlife.

The Room Mate Hotels are cool, very hip boutique hotels located in big cities. There are currently eighteen including two in the U.S. The experience while you are there is top-notch. The front desk staff is warm and welcoming — they greet you every time you enter the hotel; they anticipate your needs, answer all your questions and are very helpful. In addition to that, the interior design is contemporary, with white furnishings and oversized graphics.

It takes a lot of courage to market in such a unique manner, but it’s especially important if you want to market a product that’s been marketed a thousand times before. This is really different, and as a consumer, and someone who delights in great brand stories, the Room Mate brand has done a stellar job.