Launching a new hotel in tough economic times might seem a tall order - with some travellers inclined to seek out the safe and familiar. But in fact there is a trend for distinctly unusual new hotels which try not to compromise on levels of service.
The recession led to a whole wave of creativity in hotels design and experiences. With the help of a robotic luggage handler, Ramon Goni travelled from Switzerland to New York in search of a night away from the bland, beige box.
Watch the video and say whether the statements below are true or false.
Travellers these days are trying to save money. True
1 Null Stern is ideally located.
2 Today's top priority for most customers is service.
3 Experience hotels have no critics.
4 Experience hotels are being opened in both Europe and America.
5 The five abandoned boats can still be rented for the summer.
6 The boatels are in a quiet location.
7 Guests at the botels are looking for luxury.
8 Technology at hotels is detrimental for hospitality.
9 In general, travellers of all ages welcome the high technology in hotels.
Switzerland, synonymous with plush hotels and luxury holidays, but with travellers looking to cut costs in tough times this hotel outside Zurich has hit the underground. Sparse and windowless this nuclear bunker was used in the Second World War and soon Zans Da Gout could be your shelter from the recession. High end is no longer as popular.
All the hotel is focused on service so there is never something missing in your stay, though the location of the setting might not seem ideal at first glance, but they argue that a clean bed and basic facilities will do. The questions is, after the biggest economic recession in decades, what are hotels saying we are really looking for?
Art insulation hotels like New Stern are really fine in luxury and quality in Europe. Stripping the frills to the minimum but focusing on personalized guest services. If you are in lockdown, you might as well have your own butler.
We believe that if the guest has to choose between a flat-screen TV and to choose between a modern butler or somebody who will recognize that you need a certain specific service, either it is to help you with your luggage, either it is to help you organise a tour, I think people today go for the service.
Such experience hotels have doubters in the luxury industry, those who see them as arty projects with little future beyond making a statement, but with internationally-acclaimed architects in touch with New Stern to build the first underground hotel in London, they could be proven wrong.
Mushrooming across Europe from sewage pipes in Austria to dockside cranes in the Netherlands and a silver mine in Sweden, unusual hotels are now also swimming across the Atlantic.
I’m here in Rockaways, an hour from New York, five abandoned boats are fully booked for the whole summer despite the planes, and yet again, this boatel does not focus on the setting or the location, but on providing a unique experience.
From check-in to check-out the staff directs guests to restaurants and lesser known local attractions, A-level of personal service even most of luxury hotels do not provide.
The demographic of the people staying here are individuals that do want that experience. I think it’s because it’s missing in other aspects of their lives in the way that the ATM has replaced the bank teller.
Meanwhile in Manhattan…
‘I am only a machine.’ ‘Next.’
This is your new bellboy. For the hotel, the high tech option could be lower costs and higher productivity.
Our idea is we are not using technology to replace human experience. It’s trying to push the human angle and that technology helps you, you know, to improve human interaction. We’re using technology to enhance the hospitality experience.
And increasingly, it seems, so are traditional hotels. Big market brands like Marriot are using technology to emulate services provided by their luxury counterparts. But it’s not for everyone. There is a generation gap.
The traditional fifty, the sixty-year-old traveler they are the most frequent, likes the personal interaction of speaking to an expert and hearing impressions and asking questions and likes that personal interaction, but that has to happen at a particular place in a particular time.
‘We’d like to see you pick up the suitcase and put it in the drawer behind you.’
‘Your move, creep.’
So can the experience be sustained? Some of these unusual hotels may flop, however, the sometimes impersonal other times diligent workforce will keep fighting for their guests’ attention…
… by all possible means.
It’s safe to say that you are hired!
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