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.