Chasing a worn-out-looking shared electric scooter that has the germs of goodness-know-who all over the handlebars isn’t Unagi’s idea of sexy shared micromobility. Instead, the e-scooter maker is launching a more exclusive version, where its slick e-scooters will be available for rent at hotels, luxury apartments and coworking spaces.
“Unagi on Demand”, as the offer is called, starts on tet Hoxton Hotel in Los Angeles, as well as Common Luxury Apartments, Nap York Sleeping Pods and The Yard Coworking in New York City. The move signals a shift in Unagi’s current business model, which has primarily focused on the sale and subscription of its e-scooters.
“This fits with our overall strategy as we choose locations that don’t require the unforgiving logistics and unit economy that ride-sharing services are subjected to, making these models very difficult to thrive from our perspective,” David Hyman, CEO and founder of Unagi, told MovieUpdates. “It also acts as a marketing tool for our scooter rental subscription service. We like people to be exposed to experiences in a hotel and then want one for their everyday use. In essence, it is not our core business, but complementary. We started it because of numerous incoming requests.”
That said, Hyman thinks Unagi On-Demand could be an important source of revenue for the company in the long run, as there’s still plenty of room to expand beyond these initial pilots. For starters, Unagi will have six vehicles in the Hoxton, another six in Nap York, eight at one Common Luxury location and 12 vehicles at three Yard locations.
“Clearly the goal is to get large-scale hotel chains and real estate developers with massive amounts of properties,” Hyman said, adding that Unagi has a major rollout with a partnership it can’t announce yet in the works.
At present, the companies offering Unagi’s scooters receive a revenue share of 0% to 10%, according to Hyman, who says many are simply interested in adding the scooters as an added value to bring more convenience to guests.
“Unagi fits perfectly with the culture, community and design focus of our coworking spaces.” said Michelle Segev, Senior Operations Manager at The Yard. “Unagi is adding a super-convenient transportation facility to Yard members, allowing them to focus on their business rather than the logistics of grocery shopping and going to meetings in town”
Unagi On-Demand also addresses the growing popularity of electric scooters for convenient travel in urban environments that are not too car-centric. At the same time, by choosing the clientele, Unagi continues to position itself as a trendy, luxury brand.
Unagi’s Model One scooter currently costs about $1,000, but its latest scooter, the Model Eleven, complete with advanced driver assistance features, could cost upwards of $2,800. Monthly renting from Model One costs about $50 per month.
“The scooters’ private location provides an alternative to public scooters that are often in disrepair, run out of batteries and pollute the urban landscape,” the company said in a statement. “Unagi scooters are spotless, charged and roadworthy, exclusively for guests. Scanning a QR code is all it takes to start an hourly or daily rental, and Unagi’s prices are significantly cheaper than public scooters offered by companies like Bird or Lime.
Unagi says it charges anywhere from $5 to $8 per hour for the use of its scooters, or $15 to $24 for a 12-hour rental. Lime, for example, charges $0.30 per minute plus $1 to unlock in New York. That works out to about $19 for the hour. In Los Angeles, Bird charges about $0.25 per minute plus $1 to unlock, which brings it to $16 per hour.