Architecture is increasingly being used as a tool for developing unique selling points for new hotel developments. A unique architectural design can become a significant talking point, which acts as an effective marketing tool for the property, particularly over the period of construction and in the first years of the opening. The sense of curiosity and the desire to be one of the first to visit provide a significant pull factor for hotel developments of this nature.
One of Cape Town’s most recent museum and hotel developments, the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art and The Silo Hotel, is a case in point. Developed from an old grain silo and with the boutique hotel positioned on top of the museum, the architects and designers have created a product that is very visible and unique in the Cape Town skyline. The hotel development and its architecture has generated a significant amount of public attention (nationally and globally), not only through the “talking points” of the architecture, but also the numerous awards the building has won, including three Best Overall awards at the South African Property Owners Association Awards, the Best Tall Building for Middle East and Africa by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, and the Refurbishment in Architecture Award by ArchDaily.
The hype and activity around The Silo has generated interest amongst foreign travellers and locals. Whilst most locals cannot afford a night at the luxury hotel development, they can take advantage of the various food and beverage offerings which provide stunning views of Cape Town and its surrounds. Most guests of the property are foreign travellers who can afford to pay the high rates charged by the hotel development. Wayne Troughton of HTI Consulting highlights that “a product like The Silo Hotel was sorely lacking in Cape Town”. He also added that “the uniqueness of the property, combined with its quality and service, has taken the supply of accommodation in the city to a new level, and has filled the gap in the market for a luxury, boutique product”.
Other hotel developments that have attracted high levels of demand and served as “talking points” either nationally or globally include the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, which is in the shape of a sail, the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, which is held up by three 50-storey buildings, and the Amangiri hotel in North America, which blends almost completely into the landscape.
The future hotel development that we believe will attract high levels of interest include the R18 billion project being planned by Sol Kerzner in Dubai. Under the Atlantis brand, the architecture of the new development represents a stack of LEGO blocks and includes a 795-room hotel and 231 residences. The hotel development is widely being fêted as Dubai’s “most daring new building”. In a city that pushes the design envelope, this is no mean feat. Commensurate with The Silo Hotel, the project is likely to generate a lot of media and public relations interest.
Whilst not every hotel development can offer a unique architectural design, those that do can create a unique competitive advantage. Architecture alone will not, however, create a winning product. The traditional hotel values of quality, service, and value for money will remain core to the success of hotel developments.