Web Exclusive: Moliving creates mobile hospitality with pre-fab suites

Moliving, a New York-based startup, has created the world’s first nomadic hotel concept. Its luxury pre-fabricated suites bring mobile hospitality to life as they can pop up anywhere at any time. Hotel Business caught up with Jordan Bem, the company’s founder/CEO, to discuss how the pre-fab units are created, the sustainable practices that are followed during construction and what the plans are for expansion.

How did the idea for prefab suites come about?

Moliving originated while visiting one of the top destinations outside of New York City during its peak season. The idea stemmed from the thought about how various seasonal hotels are not only inaccessible to many during this time but are also extremely expensive in comparison to the experience they offer. We worked through the reasons why these hotels were charging these high premiums, such as the seasonal aspect, their fixed inventory, operational costs and so on, which then led us to the idea of creating a movable hotel that could always be in the right markets at the right times, hence creating the best-case use of real estate.

Inside a Moliving suite

We initially started Moliving based on the idea that we would create hotels that would fully move (both rooms and F&B) depending on the season. As we started developing the concept, we quickly realized that this was impossible, and as the pandemic occurred, we quickly saw that these seasonal markets are in fact open year-round with various demand levels. Thus, we pivoted and adapted the business model to create hotels with fluctuating inventory rather, which allows us to create a more upscale product and more importantly tailored experience as our hotels will be open 365 days a year.

Our uncharted hotels will contract and expand inventories dependent on traveler demand. We are revolutionizing the hospitality development space by giving landowners and future hoteliers the ability to build out their hotels in months versus years and at a fraction of the cost of a traditional hotel. Not to mention, the suites provide minimal disruption to the environments they are placed in and can operate 100% off the grid.

From a development standpoint, Moliving allows landowners to create value, monetize their underutilized land and invest in their property as a hospitality destination in an efficient and scalable manner. For guests, Moliving creates memories and unique experiences in various high-barrier-to-entry destinations in a sustainable and luxurious manner. Our goal is to share the same passion: Through authenticity and innovation, we build unique and memorable experiences detail by detail for our guests all with nature as the centerpiece.

How do you construct the suites?

Moliving suites are proudly built in the U.S. with proximity materials to reduce our carbon footprint and protect the nature that serves as our backdrop. Our in-house architect, Steven Chen, has designed the suites in such [a way] to implement the maximum amount of recycled/green materials and reduce carbon emissions by creating a simple repeatable process to be able to manufacture in regional facilities near the expected delivery location. The suites are also built on a custom chassis, which allows them to be easily transported by simply attaching them to a truck. Most importantly, they can be operated in a fully self-sufficient manner and removed without leaving a trace due to our self-leveling system. Our goal is to run any of our Moliving Hotels sustainably and fully off the grid. Every suite is already self-sufficient, due to our solar array, and we’ve integrated a recycling system so the water that comes out of the shower is purified and recycled multiple times.

What are the eco-friendly elements involved in the building of the suites?

Sustainability is very important to us at Moliving, and we’ve made it our mission to help protect our environment by implementing sustainable alternatives to often harmful practices. This can be seen in everything we do from the construction and design to the operations and even the partnerships we have. We take pride in the fact that we design and build our units entirely in-house in the U.S. This allows us to maintain full control over the manufacturing process, ensuring that we uphold the highest quality standards at every stage of the construction process. We use only eco-friendly materials and advanced construction techniques to create units that are not only beautiful but also durable, sustainable and energy efficient.

We produce renewable energy for our sites with solar panels. We recirculate greywater, which saves water and is beneficial for plants and trees. We turn to local farms for most of our food and beverage needs and construct our cabins locally when possible, minimizing the waste and pollution associated with shipping. Due to the nature of our suites, we also have minimal site disruption and the ability to operate off-grid. The Moliving team works closely with PWC’s Sustainability Department in order to adjust fabrication methods to efficiently minimize our impact on the environment. Moliving is working diligently to become the world’s first zero-impact hotel operator.

We also prioritize ethical practices in everything we do. We work closely with local communities to ensure that our operations have a positive impact on the environment and the people who call it home. We believe that it is important to contribute positively to the communities we serve, and we strive to make a positive impact in every way possible. We have taken it one step further by partnering with One Tree Planted, a nonprofit dedicated to global reforestation, and have vowed to plant one tree for every reservation.

Our in-house design and manufacturing process is a testament to our commitment to sustainability, quality and ethical practices. By creating beautiful, eco-friendly units that are built to last, we hope to inspire our guests to embrace a more sustainable, conscious way of living. We aim to create our path without leaving a footprint and are here to embrace what the world has given us, allowing everyone to see it without disrupting it.

What is the process of setting up a lodging location with Moliving?

Moliving’s innovative business model sets us apart in the hospitality industry. We operate as a joint-venture partner for landowners, offering a unique and mutually beneficial partnership. Our landowners provide the land and permanent infrastructure, such as social areas for food and beverage, spa facilities and event spaces. In exchange, we provide the full array of brand services, along with our proprietary flexible inventory system—the Moliving suites. With Moliving’s unique formula, we can operate each site at peak efficiency, while systematically providing the true ultra-luxury experience expected by our discerning guests. This whole process results in a profit split between the joint-venture partner and Moliving.

How many Moliving locations are planned, and where will they be located?

We have plans to open the brand’s flagship hotel, Moliving at Hurley House in New York’s Hudson Valley this year. Beyond this, we have plans to grow the Moliving brand in several East and West Coast locations, and eventually internationally.