In April this year, a new low-cost hotel capable of accommodating hundreds of visitors a night opened in one of the country’s fastest growing tourist centres, Queenstown.
With this adrenaline-fuelled, picturesque town in the south of New Zealand now declared the most expensive district to rent in the country (June 2018 figures from Trade Me Property Price Index), accommodation is scarce and expensive.
To meet the soaring demand for cheaper accommodation for the younger thrill seekers who flock to this vibrant town, providers are turning to more unconventional accommodation solutions…
Such as sleeping pods?
Absolutely. The popular Australasian tourism group, JUCY that stands for “fun, adventure and the spirit of travelling” is now offering bright and refreshing accommodation with its JUCY Snooze ‘Pod Hostels’ in New Zealand.
AMG readers are very excited to hear about the arrival of the new JUCY Snooze Queenstown, a unique and playful concept of low-cost accommodation that opened its doors in the heart of the town. We asked Charli Bateson, the product and marketing manager for JUCY Snooze & Miss Lucy’s, to spill the proverbial tea…
How would you describe JUCY Snooze?
“JUCY Snooze is essentially a hostel but notched up a few gears! We’ve taken feedback from backpackers and travellers from all over the world and looked at what European hostels are doing, to enhance the NZ hostel experience into a modern, fun, well-designed and collaborative environment.
Our key differences are our unique pods, the rooftop social space and bar, and our location.
This is now our second property with the pod concept where we have around 70 percent pods and 30 percent private ensuite rooms.”
“Guests choose from queen or quad ensuite rooms or nestle into a JUCY Pod – a private space in a shared room that’s able to be completely enclosed.
“There’s speedy check-in using our kiosks, a kitchenette for tea-making and noodle-eating, a laundry room plus a travel desk to book all of your activities. Plus, free wifi throughout.”
“We also have a rooftop pizzeria, bar and hangout space – Miss Lucy’s – where you can look out to epic views of Lake Wakatipu and Skyline Gondola with a slice of woodfired pizza in one hand and a local beverage in the other! Miss Lucy’s is open to everyone, so guests get to have more of a local experience by also hanging out with people who live in the town!”
What do you consider to be the property’s best design feature and what was the inspiration behind the design?
“The rooftop space is epic! We went slightly off-brand with this area so that we could develop a standalone food and beverage brand – Miss Lucy’s.
We felt it was important to deviate from the JUCY brand for a bar space, however we’ve brought along some JUCY flair including our well-known mascot – Lucy!
“We took inspiration from the JUCY Snooze ‘living’ wall in reception and transformed the rooftop bar of into a garden rooftop bar inspired by the imagination of Miss Lucy.
The main bar incorporates some existing brand elements – artificial grass, polka dots, stripes for brand recognition – however, we played with both the scale and the application of materials, making the venue feel independent.
We introduced elements that create a botanical wonderland feel at night with pink/purple neon lighting, playing with shadow and reflections and a custom-made, botanical-inspired graphic with a peeping Lucy that add a quirky and playful tone to the space.
There are still some shades of green and purple in the space from the JUCY brand colours, but we’ve also introduced some other colours, including hues of blue and pink.”
Tell us about the management/ manager of the property?
“The hotel manager is Juliana Souza. Juliana joined JUCY Snooze a couple of months before JUCY Snooze Queenstown opened to oversee the building work and help us set up the property. Juliana came to us with 14 years accommodation industry experience with 11 of those years based in Queenstown. Her wealth of knowledge on the Queenstown Lakes region and market has been instrumental for us to hit the ground running in a competitive marketplace.”
What have been the stand out moments while developing this property?
“Developing the Miss Lucy’s brand and making the leap into food and beverage (F&B) has been the absolute stand out. We brought on expert help from F&B operations directors as well as interior designers and brand consultants who helped us get the product offering right and create a new JUCY brand that strays slightly from our usual green and purple.”
What challenges have been associated with this property?
“The previous building and business was a long-standing favourite of the locals in Queenstown, so we had to make sure that we also incorporated something the locals could use as well as travellers – hence the rooftop bar and social space. Also, the small footprint and location of the build meant there were logistical issues for deliveries, getting cranes onsite as well as all the onsite surprises we had along the way!”
What were the most important issues to get right before you opened to the public?
“Due to changes in fire regulations, our open date was delayed by over a month, but it was imperative we got this right to keep our customers safe.
In true JUCY fashion, we all worked around the clock to get the property finished and open by the time our first guests arrived.
“We did thorough research before and during the build on our target market and the hostel industry to establish what our potential customers want from a hostel. This research led to product changes from our Christchurch property as well as the addition of the rooftop bar and has shaped our product and marketing strategy.”
What are you most excited about, and what has the reaction been to the accommodation?
“It’s so exciting working in the hostel market in New Zealand and helping shape the change and perception of hostels here. In Europe and North America, boutique and design-driven hostels are the norm for all types of travellers, including business travellers. It’s awesome to be involved with making that switch from traditional backpacker dorms to design and customer experience-focussed hostels in New Zealand too.
“So far, our customers have loved what we’re doing. There’ll always be the odd exception, but for the most part they’ve loved the bright, playful interiors, the pod concept, and being good bang for your buck in the centre of town.”
Seekom helps the JUCY empire prosper with its innovative PMS system
Bernard Burke, the business development manager from Seekom, told us: “We provide JUCY Snooze Queenstown with the iBex Property Management System (iBex PMS), which is an all-in-one, cloud based, SaaS (System as a Software) product.
“It offers a seamless solution for their reservation management. There are three components to the system; the front desk reservation system with bookings calendar, the booking engine embedded into the JUCY Snooze website, and the channel manager. All three compartments seamlessly integrate and updates are automatic, in real-time.
“Throughout the country, JUCY’s staff have remote access to the cloud-based account with multiple users logging in simultaneously, allowing various departments to easily access data. Another benefit is having the all-in-one solution, so any updates within iBex automatically triggers instantaneous updates to all three compartments. This significantly reduces time, costs, and resources for JUCY Snooze Queenstown.”
The JUCY Snooze Group has used iBex for the last eight years (initially for Auckland, then Christchurch, and now Queenstown), and Seekom is “proud to be able to provide a one-stop solution to such a trendy, exclusive, avant-garde” accommodation group.
Cutting-edge technology, quality linen and great customer service at Southern Lakes Laundries
Rob Young, managing director of Southern Lakes Laundries told us: “We provide a high-quality linen hire service to the newly opened JUCY Snooze Queenstown, supplying a full range of hire linen meeting JUCY Snooze specifications, including lovely snug sheets for their unique pod beds.”
Southern Lakes Laundries is the only industrial-sized commercial laundry in the Southern Lakes region.
Rob explained: “Being local, we provide next morning delivery of linen orders, with quality linen and consistency of supply. We are fully operational 365 days a year, which is absolutely crucial for an all-year-round resort town like Queenstown.
“Our high-tech laundry technology equates to extended linen life, improved whiteness, and less chemicals, energy and water used for every kg of linen processed. Ultimately it results in less impact on our environment – sustainable benefits we are pleased to be able to share with JUCY Snooze and their guests.”