Innovation That Matters

Hotel offers cultural 'night school' for guests

Travel & Tourism

The global recession has made things tougher in virtually every industry, but it comes as a particularly sharp blow to those that were already highly competitive. Hotels, for example, have had to keep innovating to survive, whether by implementing the latest technologies or hiring a roving reader in residence for entertainment. The latest spotting? An in-hotel program of ongoing cultural events designed to enrich guests’ stay. Dubbed “Night School,” the Seattle Sorrento Hotel‘s effort is a collaboration with chef Michael Hebb and “an array of intellectuals, artists, writers, filmmakers, mixologists, chefs and the leading cultural institutions in the Northwest,” in the site’s own words. The Night School’s Midnight Symposium series, for example, invites guests to gather together in the Sorrento’s seventh-floor penthouse for the express purpose of discussing a particular reading. Readings are assigned via PDF upon confirmation; a fee of USD 50 includes a repast of hearty stew, whiskey and wine as well as a copy of the author’s latest book. Then there’s the Drinking Lessons series in the hotel’s Hunt Club bar, through which leading bartenders and drink historians offer two-hour lessons in the preparation and history of three distinct cocktails along with snacks from the Hunt Club kitchen. The hotel has also established a “Chamber vs. Chamber” musical series pairing classical and indie musicians, as well as a small bookstore featuring books that are being published or written in or about the Northwest. Guests can order books by room service from the 12 Books store. Alternatively, “because no one wants to read alone”—as the Night School blog puts it—a series of “Silent reading” parties are offered in the Hunt Club bar. Still not convinced? Sales of food and beverages at the hotel are now 25 percent above where they were a year ago, according to the New York Times, and room bookings are up as well. The lesson to be learned? The Experience Economy is still going strong; hospitality entrepreneurs, listen and learn! (Related: Hotel targets expectant mothers with ‘birth tourism’ packages10 branded suites make up renovated boutique hotelHong Kong hotel opens ‘His Space’ rooms for menFree mags for hotel guests via digital newsstand.) Spotted by: nytimes via Parul Rohatgi



Download PDF