Is the future of hotels mobile?

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Juliet Bennett Rylah

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Traditional hotels maintain the same number of rooms, whether it’s bustling at the peak or sitting empty during off-season. 

mobile hotel
New York-based startup Moliving wants to solve for seasonality with mobile hotel rooms. And, no, they’re not tents: 
  • Each ~400-square-foot room is made from recycled steel and energy-efficient structural insulated panels (SIPs — a foam core sandwiched by wood).
  • They can be hauled by trucks or shipped, and use a self-leveling system that allows them to be plopped down on any terrain. 
  • They hook up to existing grids and water systems — like a boat — or use solar power off-grid. 

They’re also faster and 2x-3x cheaper to produce than traditional rooms. There are no weather delays because they’re made in a warehouse, and they produce less waste because the designs are the same between rooms, so no estimating required materials. 

But how do a bunch of standalone units become a five-star hotel? 

Moliving connects with people who own underused land. CEO Jordan Bem told The Hustle that ideal sites are: 

  • Destinations where development is expensive or hotel prices are high (e.g., the Hamptons, Cape Cod, Joshua Tree) 
  • Or “unbelievable plots of land that we believe would be attractive to people… looking to escape everyday life.”

Sites must also be able to offer amenities, such as a main house that can be repurposed into a lodge with a restaurant and spa. 

After identifying a good spot, Moliving will transport and set up the units and staff the hotel, from concierge to chef. And when peak season subsides, Moliving takes the excess units and moves them elsewhere. 

For guests… 

… rates start at ~$250/night — not Motel 6 cheap, but often more affordable than nearby luxury properties. 

Moliving’s first site opens in the Hudson Valley this year, with more East Coast locations popping up in 2023, and a West Coast expansion planned for 2024. 

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