Zoobox has been very successful in Canada but now plans to build lodges in the Irish countryside.
Irish startup Zoobox has announced their intention to set up five sites in Ireland over the next few years with the west coast the company’s preferred location.
The company burst onto the tourism scene some years ago in Canada, a country surrounded with deep forests, incredible greenery and mountains. The experience provides visitors with an open window to the most beautiful sceneries and gives visitors an unparalleled view of the natural world.
Zoobox takes the natural beauty in nature and makes it entirely accessible and enjoyable by creating comfortable outdoor lodging experiences. The concept is that humans are in ‘boxes’ looking out at nature. These homes are off-grid and self-sufficient.
The lodgings are suitably eco-friendly, and they respect every aspect of their environment. Each site is specifically chosen and designs are precisely created to merge the local and natural landscape while providing an unadulterated and unique experience for visitors and the local community.
We spoke with Zoobox’s head of business development Laure Hantz-Burnet, who gave us more insight into the idea.
Where did the idea for the company come from?
We started as a real estate development company based in Canada beside a national park. We were the first to design a LEED platinum certified building in Canada. Since our passive houses were more expensive than normal ones, our customers asked us if we could rent them out to help them pay the mortgage.
We realised there was a strong demand to reconnect with nature in a comfortable setting. It makes sense – we spend more and more of time indoor (90% if you are American according to the national human activity pattern survey), we also spend most of time sitting in front of a screen. We believe people are feeling an urge to unplug and recharge in a natural environment. High-end eco lofts can rent at a similar price than luxury hotel rooms but cost from 20% to 50% less to build and run. Seeing this demand, our company designed a prototype in 2007 that would be the ultimate outdoor lodging experience.
We called it the Zoobox and it immediately got a lot of attention from the media and customers. Since we already had contacts in North America and had global ambitions, we decided to launch the Zoobox project in Ireland to help us connect to the European market. We design and produce the unit here in Ireland and are preparing to ship worldwide.
Where will they be placed in Ireland?
The goal is to create a network of five Zoobox sites in Ireland. Today we have sites in progress on the west coast (Galway, Clare and Kerry) and also Wicklow. We also have many interested parties in Donegal and west Cork as well so we’ll see how they play out.
How much they will cost?
For the moment, we don’t plan to sell the units individually. Our business model is based on joint ventures; we design ecotourism sites with local partners. Our sites size will vary between five and 15 units, depending on the local market study.
How successful has it been to date?
It has been very successful so far. We have confirmed our first order for Canada for 15 homes. We had plans to secure five partnerships in Ireland before 2020, and so far we already have three active partnerships. We are getting loads of demand from abroad from countries such as Iceland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Madagascar and Jamaica.
What are the future plans?
In the next five years, we plan to have five operational sites in Ireland and ten sites abroad. As we push forward with our research and development, and our design, we are finding out that some of our cost effective solutions to install the Zoobox in remote areas could drastically decrease the construction price of off the grid houses, or any houses for that matter.This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/experience-the-irish-countryside-like-never-before-zoobox/ on