16 June 2016
Peace in the City
In a fast-paced city like Hong Kong, finding a quiet place to relax in between meetings can be challenging. Nap Lounge offers a space for harried executives to recharge in private cabins equipped with ergonomically-designed recliners, free Wi-Fi and refreshments.
Established by hotelier David Lau, who set up the Popway Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui, Nap Lounge, according to Mr Lau, offers hotel-standard hospitality, by taking reference from spas, airport lounges and hotels in terms of design and services.
Finding a space to call your own in the city centre is no mean feat, especially during lunch or dinner time. “It can be difficult to find a seat in a café, then you have to share a table with strangers, or have people eyeing up your seat,” says Mr Lau.
With three locations in busy business districts – Central, Tsim Sha Tsui and Wan Chai – these phone-free cabins are available to rent in 15-minute increments from HK$40. Each space is equipped with blankets, mood lighting, soothing scents and in-room headsets playing calming music. Printing, copying, scanning and other business services are available in each lounge, which also has its own concierge.
Mr Lau was inspired to set up Nap Lounge after seeing a TV programme featuring similar concepts overseas. “I saw something like this in Brazil and the United States, but they are very basic and target the lower end of the market. They are more like capsule hotels. We are targeting professional people with high spending power who are short on time.”
A lack of reference points posed some challenges in setting up the business, says Mr Lau. “We had to build something from nothing and work out what our target customers need. At first, we didn’t have phone-answering or laundry, but based on feedback from customers, we added these services.” In-cabin lighting options have also been added.
Diverse Customer Base
The lounges are popular with designers and other creatives looking for a tranquil environment in which they can seek inspiration, as well as locals seeking some private time away from small flats shared with friends or family members.
The majority of users, however, are executives working nearby. “In Central, most of our clients are bankers and lawyers; in Tsim Sha Tsui, [the client base is] quite diverse while in Wan Chai, we have many customers who are attending shows at the convention centre. It may take them 30 to 45 minutes to return to their hotel so they may spend an hour here after lunch,” he says.
Most Nap Lounge clients book a 45-minute or hour-long slot to recharge or to take advantage of services like basic document-editing, says Mr Lau. “Fifteen minutes is a little bit short, but some clients will come just to change their clothes for a work function or a wedding,” he adds.
Targeting Corporate Clients
Nap Lounge has also partnered with corporate clients to provide services as a caring employee benefit. “We are a third-party helping them to serve staff and customers like club members.”
Sessions in the Nap Lounge are currently offered as a benefit to members of New World Club from real estate developer New World, and Mr Lau is striving to establish similar partnerships. “We will also enter into collaboration with a Hong Kong company that offers experience gift vouchers. They are selling a package with 10 choices [of experiences], and we are one of them.”
Given that many Hong Kong offices are short on space, Mr Lau is confident that he can secure corporate clients. “For many companies, it’s hard to set up something [like the Nap Lounge] internally, and I think this would especially appeal to firms with traveling executives like salespeople and insurance agents who have to take a break.”
With three Nap Lounges up and running in Hong Kong, Mr Lau is considering opening additional outlets in the city. He also believes the concept could work well overseas, in cities such as Taipei and Tokyo. The Chinese mainland may be more difficult, he says. “In China, space isn’t that expensive, and many firms can easily add in items like fold-up beds to office space.”