Lights, camera, cultural programming

News / July 2, 2014

The digital world and social media forced our hand folks, we need to connect with one another, and savvy brands are well aware that the best way to achieve this is by driving experience.

Enter the millennial buzz phrase “experiential marketing”, due to this shift,  we’re now obsessed with events and as brands, strategically we’re now drawn to “cultural programmes”. These programmes are effectively a series of events that capture and engage an audience, hotel-going or not. Global communications brands have been searching for ways to distinguish themselves from one another, whether its music like O2 or movies like EE. The race for individualism for event spaces is on and hotel brands aren’t excluded, in fact, they’re the perfect host.

Savvy hoteliers saw this coming some time back. Ace Hotel, The Hoxton hotel and The Standard have been planning cultural programmes for years, before it even had a name. But as the laggards, or late adopters, continue to draw behind its not just because they don’t understand the brand and commercial value. It’s a blend of two distinct reasons. The first is always cost in hotel-land and the second is knowing who you are and what you want, a question that some hotels dare not to answer. Farming events into a hotel is not a complex task, however, creating the right events that suit a brand can be. This is in part due to the conversation we had back in March about brand collaborations and A Beautiful Mindset. Partnerships and alliances must be mutually beneficial and create a whole that is greater than the parts, because folks, that’s where the commercial and creative magic happens.

A truly great hotel is known not only as being a slice of the city it is in, but also by the company it keeps and so alliances, or cultural partnerships, like Mr Hyde’s photographic exhibition at The Hoxton hotel work perfectly because they have the same end user and demographic. Ace Hotel Shoreditch teaming up with hip New York based fashion retailer, Opening Ceremony, for a London pop up is intelligent pairing, because they’re ultimately both representing similar core brand values, these being creativity, culture and progressive thinking. Whilst the partnership flexes Ace’s very evident multi-faceted lifestyle interests, it also creates positive buzz for Opening Ceremony in destinations they weren’t previously as well known in. The fabric of any cultural programme must entertain, educate and take you, as user of that experience, on a journey. Effectively the experience must resonate with the hotel’s manifesto and loop back into something a guest or visitor can engage in.

The Standard hotels, across NY, LA, MIA and soon LDN, are case in point. They’ve been running savvy cultural programming since the early 2000’s. They offer guest and locals access to everything from Crystal Sonic Healing to Yoga as well as a series of music sessions that guarantee a hedonistic evening of entertainment live and/ or DJ’s. Their reading sessions with Kacey Arnold are of particular mention, because this is where they tell stories and stories are the stuff that brands are made of.

The Hoxton hotel love to tickle and tease you with local goings on around the neighbourhood and within their hotels. From Cocktail classes and Slackers Lounges with movie nights to the assembly of a Terranium and scent smelling this summer’s line up for Hoxton will keep you enthralled. Serving up delights in the lobby or in the functionally named The Apartment with a capacity of 250 people.

Ace’s manifesto is simply put, to immerse you in local culture. So their events line up promises music, retail pop ups and raw chocolate. They celebrate local DJs and sounds from East London whether it be in their hipster lobby, lower ground basement named Miranda, or one of their soon-to-be many full service events spaces including a whole 7th floor with the combined capacity of approximately 250 people.

After all, up and coming brands need two things to thrive folks, an international venue and an international following; well dare we be the ones to highlight that certain hotels have both and they’re expecting you…


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