At a new boutique hotel in Sydney, Australia, being popular on social media can help secure guests complimentary accommodation.
The recently renovated 1888 Hotel in Pyrmont is said to be the world’s most "Instagrammable" hotel, rewarding guests who have over 10,000 Instagram followers with one night’s accommodation, valued at $150 per night.
Photo sharing is at the heart of the 1888 Hotel, with its name offering a nod to the year Kodak first debuted its box camera and roll film. The hotel is also inspired by social media site Instagram, encouraging guests to take selfies (self portraits taken while holding the camera at arm's length) and capture the architecture and design of the hotel to compete in monthly hotel photo competitions to win a free overnight stay.
Architect Chris Haughton of Shed Architects and interior designer Cressida Kennedy of Space Control Design were commissioned for the $30 million renovation, which has transformed the site from heritage woolshed to designer hotel.
The hotel is part of the 8Hotels boutique hotel chains which have sites across Australia and in Bali, Fiji and Paris.
“1888 Hotel is the most beautiful and unique of our 21 properties and is the culmination of a long and extensive collaboration to develop an exceptional boutique hotel in a wonderful location," said 8Hotels CEO Paul Fischmann. "The hotel has such an authentic, contemporary aesthetic that we through we should embrace the fact that all modern travellers can take memories away with then using their smartphones and share their experience with friends."
1888 is not the first hotel to encourage digital sharing or create online communities for guests. Two months ago, Sol Wave House drew a global audience for opening the world's first Twitter hotel in Mallorca, Spain. At Sol Wave House, guests are encouraged to hashtag their way through their stay to order room service, flirt and communicate with staff and other hotel guests completely through Twitter.
In 2008, New York’s Pod hotel was dubbed The Facebook Hotel for creating its own social online community, The Pod Community Blog, where guests could communicate through other guests through a customised hotel forum.
Hotels across the globe are tapping into the "over-sharing" market rapidly growing by social media sites, focussing on travellers who want to immediately share images and boast about their up-to-the-minute destinations.
At 1888, each part of the hotel has been customised, offering free WiFi, strategically designed and placed to satisfy Instagram users and encourage photo-taking (and uploading) in every part of the hotel.
While the hotel may demonstrate modernism by implementing social media technology throughout its space, its architecture and design pays tribute to its historic woolshed site through the use of reclaimed iron bark salvaged from the woolshed and materials such as concrete, marble and bronze.
Eclectic antique furnishing, exposed brick walls and huge period windows deliver light to a seven-metre-high internal atrium.
The designers were given a concise brief to work with when creating the hotel.
“Look at the building. Understand the building. Respect the building,” said 1888 general manager Roberto Russo.
With a touch of heritage, artisans are encouraged and photographers are inspired. The hotel demonstrates how the art of taking and sharing holiday photographs has been revolutionised. Rather than taking their photos home, guests can upload and share them immediately, a worthwhile endeavour when a free night's stay is involved.