Selina, the Panamanian Hotel that Triumphs among Digital Nomads
Selina is the name of the hotel venture that is making itself known around the world, from Playa Venao in Panama, to New York, Porto, and Buenos Aires. This Panamanian label was born in 2015 and has managed to meet the needs of a new generation of travelers, the digital nomads.
Selina‘s vision for lodging combines a modern design and a unique experience offering comfort, knowledge, well-being, and fun, which has allowed its creators to revamp the current hospitality concept.
With 43 locations in Latin America and Europe, the Panamanian Selina opens an average of one location every week and this year she plans to conquer the United States, starting with New York. London and Greece are also on the map. By 2022, they expect to have 400 hotels and 100 thousand beds available worldwide.
Selina and the Digital Nomads Culture
The idea was created by Rafel Museri and Daniel Rudasevski, two entrepreneurs who came to Pedasí, a fishing village located in the province of Los Santos, in Panama.
Willing to create a different business model, they opened the first Selina of the community and already have five in the Isthmus alone: Bocas del Toro (Isla Colón and Red Frog), Pedasí, Playa Venao and the most recent located in the Old Quarters of the city of Panama.
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Surrounded by squares, cathedrals, restaurants and nightclubs, the Selina building in Panama City’s Casco Antiguo used to be an industrial-looking space built in the sixties. Today it is a place featuring Panamanian art, with a pretty bohemian rooftop, colorful murals, bars, restaurants, co-working spaces, individual and shared rooms, an inner courtyard bathed in natural light and a cinema room to watch movies.
The atmosphere lends itself to connect with the locals and experience life as a local, enjoy a yoga class on the terrace and explore new places while being able to work or have a meeting via Skype.
Selina‘s philosophy, whether in the city, on the beach or the mountainside, promotes body and mind balance, contact with nature and with other travelers. There are surf schools and they recently founded Selina Music Studios.
What Are Digital Nomads After?
“Selina is more than a hotel. The industry has always offered the same and the need arose to see things differently. The market was asking for it and we presented something much more attractive than the traditional concept. We also understood that we should grow exponentially and that’s why we rent existing properties located in strategic points of each city and remodel them in a period of four months. The building is a more intensive process and takes longer”, explains Emilio Uribe, business development vice-president for Selina in Latin America. Thanks to this model, they have managed to multiply and have a presence in various countries of the region and Europe.
Uribe is clear about Selina’s guest profile. It is a person who is passionate about what he does and just needs a laptop to get to work no matter where he is. Technology is his biggest ally and the world is his office.
He/she travels, accumulates enriching experiences, meets with other freelancers, entrepreneurs and creators and looks for an atmosphere full of inspiration and creativity. This is a digital nomad who travels lightly but requires good internet access and a comfortable place to work.
Selina has coworking spaces at Red Frog (Bocas del Toro), Playa Venao (Los Santos) and in its new location in Casco Antiguo (the Old Town), with capacity for 70 guests. In addition, there are 6 meeting rooms, desks, a kitchen and rest areas.
Providing the tools to promote this kind of lifestyle is not enough. Workshops, talks and boot camps are also organized to train the digital nomads of the future. The first Freedom Talks: Becoming a Digital Nomad, took place in Selina Casco Antiguo, in the month of May, with people from the entrepreneurship field who shared their experiences.
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“Selina in Panama has everything necessary for those who travel and shape the world from their laptop, as well as for all independent Panamanians, innovators, and entrepreneurs who want to have a good time, learn, share and achieve the best version of themselves”, said Amber Wong, Selina’s Experience Director.
Selina, a Growing Startup
Last July the Wanderbrief Digital Nomad Bootcamp took place, an event that is part of the new coworking package of Selina Playa Venao, aimed at freelancers and entrepreneurs who want to deepen their knowledge in remote jobs, be more efficient and promote their personal brand globally.
This year, Fast Company magazine included Selina in the “World’s Most Innovative Companies“ ranking, where 305 global companies participated, thanks to its modern concept that has revolutionized the hotel industry and makes life easier for the new generations of travelers.
The growth of the company has not only been driven by a team of more than a thousand workers, but also by a group of experts dedicated to finding investors interested in putting their capital into the business.
In April, the company announced that it raised 100 million dollars in a Series C funding round and in 2018 it received 95 million dollars in a Series B funding round.
According to Uribe, these are large groups that inject capital to boost Selina’s growth throughout the world. At this pace, the startup could become the first billion dollar unicorn in the hospitality sector.