Open-air events like rock concerts or auto racing usually are held on remote fields with few lodging options close by. Since 2011, London-based Snoozebox Holdings has capitalized on this need with portable hotels that are set up for the duration of the event (or longer), and offer many of the comforts of conventional hotels.
Snoozebox has more than 800 rooms on the ground. It has provided lodging for music and arts events, the London Olympics in 2012, and the G8 summit in Northern Ireland in 2013. In October, it placed one of its “Event Villages” at Rugby World Cup 2015 in London. Snoozebox also taps into “glamping,” the glamor camping trend, “for people who don’t want to be under tents,” says Jay Shaw, its Head of Business Development.
Profitability, though, has been elusive. Snoozebox reported a £5.4 million (US$8.3 million) operating loss in 2014, and through the first six months of 2015 its operating loss was £2.6 million, despite a 300% revenue gain to £2.4 million.
To improve its bottom line, Snoozebox introduced portable models that cost less to set up. These include Snoozy, a pop-up inflatable room with a single or double bed, linen and bedding service, towels and toiletries, flatscreen TV, power outlets, free WiFi, and keycard entry. Guests have exclusive use of dedicated showers and toilets situated close to the rooms.
Its Version 2 “new event” hotel, made from shipping containers, includes these amenities plus in-suite showers and toilets. Up to 100 V2 rooms can be set up within 24 hours. The company is redeploying its Version 1 hotels, which were more expensive to assemble, for longer-term or semi-permanent installations.
In the first half of 2015, Snoozebox opened an 80-bedroom, fully serviced workforce hotel for Premier Oil to support its overseas exploration activities. Shaw says Snoozebox has been talking with companies like Halliburton about placing portable hotels near oil fields in North Dakota.
Snoozebox has had discussions with conference facilities in the U.S. that don’t have enough rooms in their markets to support their attendees. And, in partnership with the Compass Group, Snoozebox has designed a portable medical hotel model that awaits piloting.