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Five innovative hotel concepts

Travel & Tourism

With supply outstripping demand, competition is intense in the hotel industry, so hoteliers are always on the lookout for a distinctive new feature or promotional scheme to attract travellers to their accommodation rather than elsewhere. And it’s not always just a case of making the rooms look nice. Here are five examples we spotted recently: 1. PLANET TRAVELER — The Planet Traveler hostel in Toronto will appeal to eco-conscious travellers with its dedication to energy efficiency. The heating and cooling systems are geothermal; solar panels heat water and offset the hostel’s electricity needs; and waste hot water goes through a heat recapture system to pre-heat the water used in showers. Dorm rooms are USD 30; private rooms are USD 75. 2. COPENHAGEN TOWERS — Another hotel promoting its green credentials is the Crowne Plaza in Copenhagen. It uses groundwater heating and cooling systems and the building is almost entirely covered with solar panels. The hotel’s latest innovation is to plug in to the energy created by its guests: the stationary bikes in the gym will produce electricity for the hotel. Anyone generating 10 watt-hours gets a free meal made from local produce. 3. WELCOME REWARDS — Loyal rewards schemes are common in the hotel business, but each scheme tends to be operated by, and therefore only applicable to, a single chain. Booking website offers an alternative: travellers who book accommodation through their site—be it at a giant chain or an independent B&B—will get a free night’s stay for every ten nights they pay for. The freebie can be redeemed at any of the 120,000 participating hotels, subject to certain conditions. 4. STASH HOTEL REWARDS — Stash Hotel Rewards is another rewards scheme, but this time targeting the high-end and boutique hotel market in the US. The system is much the same as many other rewards schemes—earn points for free nights—but all participating hotels are independently run. The aim is to attract frequent travellers who usually stay at chains because of the loyalty schemes, but yearn for something more distinctive. 5. BOLTON HOTEL — Hotels are, of course, also used as venues for conventions and other business events. Aiming to keep attendees focused, the Bolton Hotel in Wellington, New Zealand has devised a “Brainfood” menu that purports to increase mental attention, engagement and concentration levels. The chefs will even help organisers customise a menu to suit the event itinerary. Spotters: Renee Kung, RP, Ron Levin, St John Craner


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