Locke Hotels targets tech demographic

The company behind an 'aparthotel' that opened in Edinburgh over the summer has Scotland in its sights as it pushes ahead with global development plans.
Eden Locke Hotel opened its doors on George Street in Edinburgh in July. Picture: Greg MacveanEden Locke Hotel opened its doors on George Street in Edinburgh in July. Picture: Greg Macvean
Eden Locke Hotel opened its doors on George Street in Edinburgh in July. Picture: Greg Macvean

Eden Locke opened its doors in July, after launching in London last year, and Locke Hotels co-founder Eric Jafari told Scotland on Sunday that the group is targeting the “modern urban” traveller and entered the Scottish capital after spotting a gap in the market.

Eight Lockes are in development, with Manchester set to open in April. “We’d love to do another deal in Edinburgh and probably one in Glasgow but we’re not expanding for the sake of expanding,” said Jafari. “We’ve got to find the right place.”

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Also on the cards are properties in Dublin and Cambridge, as well as further afield. “We are currently working on a few projects in Berlin, Paris and Copenhagen but our aim is to be a second home for the creative and tech community,” Jafari said. “Our aim for Locke at the moment is to be in every European gateway city that focuses on tech.”

Jafari says that demographic has a “very specific set of needs that we believe hasn’t recently been met. We’re targeting the tech space because that’s where we see growth.”

With sites in the Scottish and English capitals now open, Jafari sees similar trends across both, with about two-thirds of its client base corporate customers, and the rest leisure. About 30 per cent are from finance.

The Edinburgh site covers six storeys on George Street and was revamped by New York architect Grzywinski+Pons. It has 72 studio rooms of up to 33 square metres, each with a kitchen and living area.

Jafari said that opening its doors “wasn’t without its challenges”, including a flood. But he added: “When we opened Eden Locke we had pretty grand ambitions for how it was going to perform and it’s surpassed those.”

He also said its properties are unique in being listed on both Airbnb and Booking.com, and aims to combine the benefits of both.

Its average stays are also far longer than in both, he continues, saying the average hotel stay is 2.3 nights and seven on Airbnb, but Locke is achieving ten at its London property and its one in Edinburgh is set to catch up in the next couple of months. Its average stay length – some are several months long – gives it more consistent occupancy throughout the year, Jafari said.

Locke is part of Bristol-based Saco, the serviced apartment company whose brands also include Saco Aparthotels and Saco Bespoke Corporate Housing. Founded in 1997 and with nearly 300 staff, the company has more than 80,000 apartments in 260 locations throughout the world.