Life House, a hotel company from Rami Zeidan of Starwood and programmer Yury Yakubchyk, launched a collection of lifestyle hotels, with its first two properties located in Miami’s Little Havana and South Beach neighborhoods. As part of the launch, the company also unveiled its proprietary technology platform, which supports a direct-booking system, a mobile app and a social network for travelers.
Life House raised $70 million in funding to date between venture and real estate capital, with investment from Global Founders Capital, Rocket Internet, Comcast Ventures, Trinity Ventures, Henley Investments and others. As the first U.S.-based lifestyle hotel company to be backed by venture capital and real estate capital, Life House said in a release the company is "positioned to modernize an antiquated hospitality industry that has been plagued with silo’d technology and reset consumer expectations around what the hotel experience can be."
To power Life House, the team built its proprietary software and technology infrastructure from the ground up. The Life House platform offers an experience, akin to what modern consumers have become accustomed to from other direct-to-consumer brands. In addition to a booking process, technology features such as user verification, customer reviews and the ability to message other travelers establish trust, lead to more bookings and drive ultimate loyalty.
Life House is leveraging its social network and the ability to connect travelers in order to differentiate. Guests traveling on the same dates to the same location can opt into an online community where they can chat, make plans, join forums based on interest (i.e. nightlife, wellness, history buffs, etc.) and ultimately meet in person on-property. In the future, travelers in shared rooms will be able to meet their flatmates prior to arrival via the social network.
Life House also uses an algorithm to match guests based on their profile and preferences. After a booking is made, travelers can begin interacting on the mobile app with other guests and Life House-selected locals who can host activities like dinner parties or fitness classes on property or off. Guests can also use the mobile app for keyless entry into their preselected rooms upon arrival and contact customer support for everything, including housekeeping requests and restaurant reservations. These services also will be accessible on Life House properties through modern kiosks in lieu of the traditional hotel front desk.
Life House’s first property is set to launch later this fall in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood, and will be followed by a second location in South Beach. Little Havana will include a rooftop bar and restaurant from a rising local chef, as well as a rooftop garden and pool. Both hotels will include artwork, music, health and wellness activities from local artisans and makers from the Miami community.
Life House hotels will offer a mix of room types that will include queen and king rooms, suites, and a re-engineered shared room concept designed for group travelers. This room type includes “adult approved” full-size bunk beds and private bathrooms. All rooms will offer complimentary Le Labo personal-care products and a Marshall bluetooth speaker. Private rooms will have flat-screen TVs and minibars stocked with local offerings.
Life House anticipates signing 20 hotels for development by the end of 2019.
Zeidan formerly worked at Starwood before joining Sydell Group, where he primarily focused on creating experiential spaces including The Line, The Nomad and The Freehand. After learning all aspects of the hotel business, Zeidan joined Sydell Group’s capital partner, TPG, to pursue hotel and hostel investing. His co-founder, Yakubchyk, is a software entrepreneur and will serve as chief technology officer at Life House. Yakubchyk was previously co-founder and CTO of Wing, a millennial-focused mobile virtual network operator selling custom cellular subscription plans.