Hotels are moving beyond their transient roots in an effort to create meaningful, lasting impact.
A new cohort of hotels are positioning themselves as the next generation of community centers, offering opportunities to engage with fellow travelers and locals. No longer just a place to rest your head, these hotels are encouraging meaningful connections and building visitors’ stays around social networking.
The Marriott’s Moxy hotel is playing matchmaker thanks to a new partnership with Bumble. Announced in November 2018, the partnership marks the inauguration of Bumble’s BumbleSpot campaign to create safe, inviting and inclusive places for Bumble matches to meet up. As the hotel’s slogan asserts, “Moxy is for play,” making it an ideal pairing for the social app.
“We believe you can discover more about a person in an hour of play than a year of conversation. What better place to put down your phone and meet a connection face to face?” says Toni Stoeckl, Global Brand Leader at Moxy Hotels. “We wanted to work with Bumble to encourage people to feel empowered to take the plunge and reap the benefits of meeting a connection in real life. Moxy lobbies are designed to provoke you to play, providing the perfect setting to break the ice, whether it’s a date, meeting a new friend or business connection.”
The Line Hotel has also partnered with Bumble to encourage meet ups for BumbleBFF, the apps’ platonic friend-finding platform. The Line locations in Los Angeles, Austion and D.C. will be hosting BumbleBFF Brunches as an in-person extension of the social app. “For us it’s always been about providing a platform or place for the community to engage,” said Sana Keefer, global brand director for The Line Hotel Group. “As a traveler, for you to get that local, rich experience, you have to have some level of interaction with the people who make that place so special.” Other opportunities for community engagement at The Line include run clubs, art classes and in-house podcast and radio programs recorded from the DC location’s lobby.
The new Life House hotel, which opened its first location in Miami in October 2018, is designed with social networking at its heart. In addition to private rooms, Life House offers shared rooms with upscale bunk beds as a sophisticated modern take on the hostel. But, most notably, the hotel has its own unique social networking app that connects guests and locals. Guests can join groups of travelers with similar interests, like those looking for good running paths or the best restaurants, and can connect with vetted locals for an insider’s guide to the local favorites.
“The travel industry has a unique opportunity to match new people with other people,” said Rami Zeidan, CEO and co-founder of Life House. “Everyone is traveling and doesn’t necessarily have a home base or safety network of friends in a given location. Hotels have a particularly unique opportunity to connect people.”
For proof, look no further than Room 301, the new project from The Kimpton Everly Hotel in Los Angeles. Described as a social experiment, Room 301 explores human connection with interactive elements that allow guests to share their experiences with previous and future occupants. Guests can leave notes, share personal Spotify playlists and even pay forward rewards points for the hotel. Guests also share more personal information by answering questions like “what is your favorite thing about yourself and why?” and “when was the last time you cried or laughed intensely?”
Says the hotel: “Room 301 reflects Kimpton’s belief that heartfelt human connections make peoples’ lives better and the idea that commonalities and connections exist between all people – no matter their background or life story. Room 301 seeks to uncover the intersections and variances of the human experience.”
As we charted in our Future 100: 2019 report (see “cultural programming” and “studio theater” trends), hotels are inching closer to community and cultural epicenters meant for travelers and locals alike. “It’s not just a hotel,” agreed Vicki Poulos, senior global brand director at Moxy. “It’s more about creating an environment that enables meaningful connections and builds relationships.”