The World’s First Crowdsourced and Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel
I walked away from a long career in finance
a few years ago, and have been lucky since then to pursue my twin passions of
travelling and writing. Three, if you include reading!
I have written a few feature articles from
around the world here on Silver Travel Advisor, and I’m also proud to be the
Literary Editor of your very own Silver
Travel Book Club.
But like many other Silver Travellers,
especially those without a fixed pension income, I worry about funding a long
and healthy retirement, hopefully with the opportunity for loads more travel
adventures. So I’m always on the look-out for interesting investment
opportunities, and have been following with interest the fortunes of this
new-fangled concept of crowdfunding.
I dipped my own unpensioned toes
tentatively into these crowdfunded waters a couple of years ago, and have
written recently on my personal blog about the inherent
dangers. But hearing about a business called Amberlair, using the crowd to generate ideas
- and eventually funding - for the world’s first crowdsourced and crowdfunded
boutique hotel in the world was too interesting to ignore. And when I found out
that the founders had agreed – after a vote from the crowd! - to develop the
first hotel project in Puglia, in bellissimo Italy, I needed to know more.
The founders of Amberlair, Kristin and
Marcus, kindly agreed to answer a few of my questions – you can read the full
Q&A session here - but Silver Travellers, and potential Silver
Investors, may be interested in these few highlights:
- "Boutique hotels with a reverse approach: Create an audience first, let our future guests have a say, and then comes the hotel. The Amberlair concept has the guest experience at its heart and we firmly believe it has the potential to revolutionise the way hotels are built, designed and operated."
- "Our community of backers – who we dearly address as #boholovers, meaning boutique hotel lovers – are involved from day one, both creatively and financially. Even our name was crowdsourced, because a hundred minds work better than one."
- "We then worked with our community to crowdsource their ideas, from choosing the name of our company to the location of the first hotel and will continue to do so throughout the process, shaping the hotel’s eventual design and service amenities to create the ideal boutique hotel, designed by its future guests. Our community of supporters are typically global travellers who don’t like ‘cookie cutter’ hotels. Creative and social minds who have great ideas and strong opinions, and who are ready to put their hearts into the project. They overwhelmingly chose Italy as the location of our first hotel. They spoke and we listened, seeking out the perfect location and the perfect property to develop."
- "Our longer-term plan is to open up to 50
hotels globally in the next 20 years. Crowdsourcing and crowdfunding are at the
heart of the Amberlair concept, so we will continue to develop the company
along those lines for future projects."
Amberlair have now successfully raised €15,000
on one crowdfunding platform, which will be used to complete the architectural
planning for the first hotel in Puglia. They are looking now to raise
significant amounts on two other crowdfunding platforms to develop the project,
and financing is also heavily dependent on successfully receiving EU subsidies.
I wish them well. It’s an exciting project
and will hopefully leverage the crowd in a very positive way. I will be
following their progress closely. I hope to meet up with Kristin and Marcus
soon, and I would love to visit the first Amberlair site in Puglia when
building is planned to get underway in the spring of 2018.
I hope Silver Travellers have found this as
interesting as I have. To be clear, this is no way a recommendation by me or by
anyone involved with Silver Travel Advisor to invest in Amberlair. Nobody
should consider an investment in any crowdfunded business unless they accept
the risk that they could lose 100% of their investment. I have not invested
anything myself, yet. But I love Italy, would love to explore Puglia and it
might be fun to do it whilst staying in a luxury boutique hotel that I have
helped in a very small way to make a reality.
If you are interested in finding out more
about Amberlair, and potentially investing in their first project, have a look
at their website amberlair.com and sign up
to receive more information direct from Kristin and Marcus.