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Everyone has a hotel story

If you’re in Vancouver this summer, Grand Hotel: Redesigning Modern Life at the Vancouver Art Gallery is certainly worth your time.

I’ve always enjoyed hotels. The whole experience is a strange blend of adventure & anonymity, community & independence, potential & uncertainty, security & strangeness. As Kathleen Bartels writes, “the hotel is a space that uniquely combines the private and public realms.”

When we stay at a hotel, we experience the deep connectedness to the social and architectural evolution of the space we briefly call home. We, as guests, engage with and become part of the hotel’s narrative. More than customers, guests become actors in a story that’s bigger than they are likely to understand at the time. The experience is further enriched by the stories shared about owners, past guests, artists, architects, designers, chefs, doormen etc. People seem to enjoy referencing what a space once was, in order to more deeply understand what the space is now. This makes hotels perfect candidates for storytelling on the web and through social media, and there are a few hotels that are doing this really well.

A few of our clients were featured in the exhibit, and we were invited to come on opening day. It was fun to hear their stories told more objectively. As marketers, we often find ourselves caught up in the project details, so this was a good chance to step away from the studio and explore the evolution of the hotel for what it is, an unparalleled cultural artifact. Or, as Bartels puts it, “a veritable laboratory of modern life.”

If you made it to the exhibit, let us know what you think.