Sem Schuurkes and Pieter van Tilburg are University buddies who share a passion for entrepreneurship and travelling. During their studies in Business Administration at the University of Tilburg, the Netherlands, they shared ideas and often discussed their entrepreneurial ambitions. After many trips, they recognized that the current hotels and hostels did not fulfil their needs. Agreeing on the existing gap between hotels and hostels offerings, they developed a revolutionary hospitality concept that forms the basis for CityHub. During their studies they further refined their idea and transformed it into a concrete business plan. Since then they having been putting all efforts into making their dream come true.
Their brainchild, CityHub, is an innovative hotel concept that features specially designed sleeping cabins, called Hubs. These Hubs are very space efficient and can be easily placed in existing buildings. CityHub’s advanced online platform and modern facilities create an interactive community where guests make contact and share their experiences. In this way, CityHub offers the perfect base for the new generation of urban travellers, offering rooms for the lowest price in the city centre.
What are you working on right now?
We are working hard towards the launch of our first CityHub in Amsterdam. We are in negotiation with several real-estate owners and developers and hope to find a suitable location for our concept soon. In the mean time we are setting up CityHub Bèta, which will be a fully operational hotel featuring just 4 Hubs. For this, we are further developing the Hub and hope to sign a contract with a production partner soon. Furthermore, we have just started sharing our daily experiences on Facebook and twitter to keep people updated and create fans around the word.
What does your typical day look like?
We usually work from the public library in Amsterdam. We spend much time developing different facets of the hotel with our partners and further developing details of our concept. In addition, we frequently present our ideas and meet with all kinds of interesting people that could potentially contribute to this completely new way of travelling. After work, we both like to do sports, hang out with friends and go out for a drink.
3 trends that excite you?
The transparency in the world. The World Wide Web has created a transparent and interdependent world where people learn from each other, inspire each other and share each other’s wisdom. It is currently opening the eyes of the world to all that happens and getting people involved in making the world a better place.
Travelling becoming more accessible to all people. Travelling is becoming so easy and cheap. This makes it possible for all people to become travellers of the new world and so stimulates interaction between individuals, communities and cultures.
Rising power of social media. Social Media has already acquired a very important position in nowadays business. It still provides many opportunities, though.
How do you bring ideas to life?
The only way to make dreams become reality is by pursuing them with all it takes. First of all, you need to be convinced that bringing the idea to life is really what you want to be doing. If it is the case, then go for it. Focus on what you want to accomplish and be dedicated to your goals. Don’t get scared off by all the challenges ahead of you, but take them as they come. It requires a lot of persistence and patience at the same time. We try to keep all of this in mind as we keep on going. We also think it is very important to gather the right people around you that give you advise and help you along the way, because you simply cannot do it on your own.
What inspires you?
Successful, but also unsuccessful, entrepreneurs with passion inspire us. People that really go after what they want and dare to take risks.
What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
We’ve learned that patience is an important aspect. Rushed decisions can be very costly. Avoid investing before you get commitment from others and be sure that what you spend actually gets you what you want.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Set up an effective social media platform where friends share each other’s wishes and offer each other favours. People like to help each other by nature and need only some stimulation. We believe that that social media creates a huge opportunity to trade with other means than money.
What do you read every day, and why?
Blogs and news websites focused on the hospitality industry and entrepreneurship. Too keep up to date on the developments in the market and get inspired by new ideas. And of course we daily check our Facebook and Twitter page.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read, and why?
Society 3.0. This book gives inspiring insights in the new society that we could create using the World Wide Web and social media. It is written by the visionary serial entrepreneur Ronald van den Hoff.
What is your favorite gadget, app or piece of software that helps you every day?
As so many, we cannot do without our BlackBerry’s…
Three people we should follow on Twitter, and why?
Michel Kolenbrander. An inspiring hospitality expert full of creative ideas.
Ronald van den Hoff. Great visionary and very active on twitter
Iamsterdam. Keeps you up-to-date on what is going on in Amsterdam.
Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?
Hans Meyer, founder of citizenM, one of the most successful and innovative concepts in the hospitality industry. Apparently he is working on something new….
When is the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it.
Just now after reading this question, because it made us remember some of those moments…
Would you recommend an entrepreneurial career?
For sure we would recommend a career in entrepreneurship to everybody. If you want something, go after it. Even though it can be very hard at times, it is very rewarding. And even if your idea is not turned into a successful business, it is a very valuable experience. Most importantly: It is just fun!
How do you see yourself in 10 years from now?
We hope that in ten years we will have created a shift in the hotel industry, where traditional hospitality thinking has made place for a cool innovative new way of staying. CityHub will be established on central locations all over Europe, forming a base from which urban travellers can explore the beautiful cities of the world. We want to enable the new generation to move globally and interact, meet and congregate in a more personal way.
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