Super 8 by Wyndham is launching its new ROOM8 design concept based on the submission of ROOM8 Design Challenge winner Candice Buttars, an undergraduate design student at Utah State University. Super 8 Brand President Mike Mueller, who is himself one of six brothers who enjoy traveling together, shared with LODGING the excitement surrounding the shared-room product scheduled to pilot as early as Q1 2020, and described how it is uniquely responding to yet another underserved market.
Mueller says he was not surprised that the winning design—one of 50 submitted by students—came from a college campus. “What I found most interesting is that as far as these students were concerned, there were no barriers. They are the ones who have the most experience in communal living, and they’re not governed by a traditional design aesthetic or corporate design guidelines.” Yet, it was Buttars’ design, he says, that stood out in that it was especially innovative. “More than anything, Candace put the fun in the function of these rooms,” he comments.
Buttars’ design, executed with support from celebrity interior designer and TV personality Alison Victoria, reimagines the traditional hotel suite in an effort to accommodate a new generation of road trippers who thrive in communal spaces. “Its goal is to give people who are traveling in small groups—such as groups of friends or families or even work crews—a place to commune without staying in the same bed.”
Among the amenities that make the ROOM8 concept unique:
- A group-focused blend of digital and analog entertainment, which can include vintage arcade; games; a streaming-ready, 65-inch wall-mounted TV; cornhole boards, a foosball table and more;
- Abundant seating and an open dining layout, complete with an apartment-sized refrigerator and microwave;
- Individual sleeping spaces and beds for up to four guests; and
- USB ports, AC outlets and wireless charging stations, room-wide.
Although he is not in the product’s target market in terms of his generational designation, Mueller says ROOM8 is ideally suited to groups of friends, colleagues, and large families like the one he grew up in with 12 children. “The one thing that’s missing when my five brothers and I travel together in an area with little to do outside the hotel is finding things to do in the room, other than just watch television. I grew up in the 70s, so for me, I always thought it would be really interesting to have vintage video games like Atari and Entelevision. They’re nostalgic, they’re easy to play, they’re fun,” he says.
Mueller calls Super 8 “a 70s brand that’s really coming into its own,” saying further that the brand is evolving into one primed to engage the next generation of travelers. “Super 8 is known for being travelers’ companion on the road, and the introduction of ROOM8 brings that promise to life in a whole new way. More and more, we’re seeing groups of guests who want space to stretch out and relax, but without the sacrifice of giving up their own private sleeping space. The unique design developed by Candice and Alison is the ideal solution. Whether it’s a group of millennials, a young family, or an on-the-road construction crew, ROOM8 delivers the perfect balance of privacy and community,” he maintains.