When HD Expo rolls around in 20 days, the Rollick Hotels will be helping us celebrate our 25th anniversary. The portable lodging company is the perfect partner for HD—an innovator in the industry that is melding mobility, function, and hospitality all in a temporary pod. And if you’re someone like me, who finds sleeping in tents to represent the devolution of the human condition, it’s a welcome invention.
Shawn Bouley, who is founder of the company and also a panelist during the Hospitality Effect session on Thursday, May 5th from 3-4 p.m. (along with Aliya Khan, NeueHouse Studio; Christian Hageseth, Colorado Cannabis Ranch; and Brittany Hart, WeWork), has a few things in store for show-goers as well. At booth #34255, his mobile hotel room concept will come to life. “There isn’t anything like our suite that combines a sleek design with portability and scale,” he says. “The word rollick by definition means to play or behave in a lively, carefree way or joyous manner. That’s how we want people to feel when they stay with us, and that’s how our company operates.”
How did Rollick Hotels get started?
We’d always been on the production side of events but also had firsthand experience that sold-out hotel rooms or limited lodging options were always a challenge for attendees and workforce staff. We decided to try to solve the problem ourselves. We spent some time fact-finding and talking with our event contacts and overwhelmingly, they all said ‘Yes, bring us the rooms!’ That just reinforced that we were really be on to something.
How has the Rollick Hotel influenced hospitality and vice versa?We’ve been influenced by hospitality long before we started the Rollick Hotel, and while design and visual aspect is very important to us, it’s the service and customer experience that is really going to dictate our success. The best design in the world doesn’t matter if you don’t treat your guests well. Design catches the eye, but service catches the heart.
What is the design philosophy?
We wanted the suites to be much more than just a bed in a box and for our guests to feel comfortable in a welcoming space. Slide-out units and pop-out sections like luxury RVs, floor-to-ceiling windows and doors, and a big deck are all elements that expand the space and make you forget it’s a shipping container. Having a full-service restroom with a shower is a huge bonus, especially at a music festival in the middle of a farm or field.
I grew up a surf kid in Huntington Beach in Southern California so our initial décor tries to reflect a kind of clean, bright and beachy surf vibe, open doors, and ocean breezes.
What does the Rollick Hotels offer that other brands or hospitality outlets don’t?
Our key advantage is there is nowhere else to stay, either through limited supply or overwhelming demand; that’s why we exist. It doesn’t make sense to build traditional permanent hotels for just one event. Our biggest competitor is Airbnb, not the local Hilton or Hyatt, whose hotel rooms are already full. While sporting events and music festivals are a niche market, it’s a significant niche, and we think we’re uniquely positioned to have a big impact quickly.
For even more insight from Bouley about the Rollick Hotels and his take on hospitality, check out our Show Daily at HD Expo for a longer, edited version of his Q&A.