Nowadays, the demand for aparthotels, rural homes, camping and unusual lodging is increasing. In the United States, in Europe but also in Switzerland, unusual lodgings have become a new trend, a place where you can rediscover the word “lodging”. But do unusual lodgings really add value to a destination? Can we consider them as an asset to a destination’s portfolio?
First of all, we have to define the term of “unusual lodging”. An unusual lodging is a place where you can discover a new way of sleeping, enjoying the uniqueness of the place and seeing things you do not normally see in your daily routine. An unusual lodging can be a hotel or a holiday resort. Unusual accommodations can be artistic hotels, hotels with a new concept, etc… On the international scale, unusual accommodations take forms as the future underwater hotel in Dubai, as the tree houses holiday resorts KulturInsel in Einsiedel, or as the scary Propeller Island City Lodge Hotel in Berlin. In Switzerland, these unusual lodgings are the Yurts in Les Rochers-de-Naye, the Igloo village in Zermatt or the Jail Hotel Lowengraben in Luzern, etc…
Marketing and promotion
Unusual accommodations often focus their promotion in underlying the uniqueness of their hotel or holiday resort. They will try to promote a place where children will enjoy the place and the buildings and where adults will fulfil their childhood dreams.
These hotels or holiday resorts tend to target young, adventurous people, people looking for a very original night. Couples are probably the first targeted in this market because offering a night in this type of accommodation can change their daily routine and have a special night away from home.
Unusual lodgings are very sensitive to elderly and disabled people. But even though they are putting in all these efforts to integrate these others segments, elderly and disabled people remain only a few per cents of their market.
Most of the people who stay in such a hotel or holiday resort tend to stay only for one night.
Unusual accommodations usually will be eco-friendly. Not only will the hotel holiday resorts be made of natural, ecologic materials, but the services provided will be sustainable.
The price of an unusual lodging depends on the services that it offers, even though the prices are in average much higher than a night in a 3*** stars hotel. For example, the price to have one night in the igloo village in Zermatt is 159. – CHF. Some unusual accommodation do bot benefit from toilets inside the “room”, sometimes there will be no electricity and even the comfort of the bed can be discussed. The major aim of this type of accommodations is to provide a unique night, having no commodities will in some lodgings only be a part of their uniqueness. Some people might think that this type of night do not have a price.
Value for destinations
The interesting question is to know if unusual lodgings add value to the destination of if people sleeping in these hotels or holiday resorts are not interested in the area they are.
To have an unusual accommodation in its destination can be a positive and a negative point. The positive point will be that such lodging will diversify the destination’s portfolio and perhaps attract a new target market into the destination. The media will of course have a very important role for both the accommodation and the destination. By promoting the resort, the media will also tell readers were it is located and the destination will therefore also appear and become more known. The article will maybe also specify what other activities there are in the region.
The negative point might be that the majority of guests who will stay at this type of accommodation will not usually stay more than one night and their goal will be to experiment the lodging first and not to visit the destination. In fact, most of people sleeping in an unusual lodging will not take the time to visit the area where the accommodation is located. The destination’s attractions will, in many cases, not see the difference before the construction of the lodging and after.
There are however some exceptions in Switzerland: The Mongol Yurts located in the area of Montreux (les Rochers-de-Nayes) belong to the Goldenpass train company. The guests will automatically see the attraction before and after experimenting the lodging because they will have to take the Goldenpass (to go to les Rochers-de-Naye, you cannot go by car). So the guests of the Yurts might be interested by the region in seeing it from a train and could want to see other attractions of the area.
Statistiques Suisse, www.bfs.admin.ch
Switzerland Tourism, www.myswitzerland.com
Switzerland Tourism ,Http://Chalet.Myswitzerland.Com/Location Vacances/Zermatt/Igludorf-277137
Hotels Insolites, www.hotels-insolites.com