Felipe Gedeón, Selina: We are searching for properties in several markets

POLAND Eurobuild CEE talked to Selina's Felipe Gedeón, new markets lead for Europe, about the strategy of the hospitality chain entering the Polish market. Selina, a chain that combines the style of boutique hotels with features characteristic of the social life of hostels, is to be launched in Poland and Hungary.

Anna Pakulniewicz, Eurobuild CEE: Why Poland?

Felipe Gedeón, new markets lead for Europe, Selina: We see three main strengths in Poland. First is the landscape. Poland has very rich natural and cultural landscapes that are very attractive to our potential guests and to travelers in general, who look for new and exciting destinations. It is no surprise that every year the country receives more and more foreign travelers and sees more Polish nationals engaging in domestic tourism. The second is that both real estate markets and the hotel sector are performing positively. There are very strong market fundamentals that give us confidence in these sectors into the future. We are positive that at the property level our business will work. The increase of tourism and strengthening of the hotel sector work together with a rise in spending power in the Polish market in general. Poles have more and more sophisticated taste, and are looking for more diverse products and new experiences. The third strength – we think that Poland is still a very competitive destination for travelers from all over the world. We think Selina perfectly fits Poland as we offer outstanding experiences for our guests providing them with and a wide range of accommodation – from dorms for approx. USD 20 to suits for approx. USD 400 – coworking space, recreational facilities, nightlife outlets and restaurants; all with exceptional design and great energy.

What will be the range of prices in Poland?

We will try to cover the whole spectrum of accommodation offerings in Poland, so our prices will vary across the board – from dorms that start from USD 20 on average to our unique suits that go up to around USD 400. There will be much more in between: standard business travel rooms, private bedrooms with shared bathrooms, unique lodging options and even camping areas and “glamping” destinations in rural destinations across the country.

Who are your potential guests?

The potential guest is difficult to define, because of the range of Selina’s offering. We target various groups, however, in general our guests are modern travelers. The word “modern” describes the mindset. At Selina we have already seen for example a digital nomad who was 65 years old or whole families who are loyal to our brand. So our potential guest is a person who travels with a purpose, and wants to connect more with locals and other travelers, as well as engage in the life of local communities.

You are searching for the first property. It is supposed to be Warsaw – why? And what are you searching for?

We are searching for properties in several markets right now. We are actively searching for opportunities in Warsaw, Kraków, Wrocław and the Tricity area. Warsaw we want to be the first as it is the capital – both cultural and economical, where a lot of potential clients are. We are to explore both existing hotels and tenement buildings. Selina likes transforming existing properties. It gives our locations more personality and decreases our time to opening. In Warsaw we are also looking at properties like residential buildings, mainly tenement, or some office spaces to convert.

What districts of Warsaw do you focus on?

We focus mainly on the city centre so our hotel is within a walking distance from the Palace of Culture and Science, walking distance to the commercial streets and/or the Old Town.

In other cities also city centres?

Yes, except for smaller cities – it is part of our strategy. We are looking at Zakopane and the whole Tatra Mountains, also smaller cities around Gdańsk. But we also look at Poznań, Katowice. We will search for more remote locations after the brand solidifies in the market, but we want our first properties to be in very visible cities. In Warsaw we want it to be a landmark building. Poland is one of the first countries we are active in the region and we want to make sure our project is visible.

Who will you cooperate within Poland – local architects and designers or your own?

We haven’t been talking to architects and designers yet, as we don’t have the property, but for sure we will cooperate with local architects, local artists even, as art is a very important detail of the Selina style. We want properties to be infused with local styles. Selina has a director in Poland – Renata Kusznierska – and she is based in Warsaw we cooperate with various agents to analyse properties as we want to be sure we are exploring as many alternatives as we can and making the smartest investment possible.

What agencies?

I can’t reveal that. We cooperate with various agencies.

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