Monday, 17 August 2009

The Social Hotel - Creators Inn by Elvine, Stockholm

This looks awesome! Swedish clothing line Elvine have just opened their second 'Creators Inn' in Stockholm, Sweden - "offering free, short-term accommodation for visiting creators." (The first Creators Inn is in Gothenburg, Sweden.)

The Creators Inn website states: "An overnight at Creators Inn offers all the standard features and comfort associated with a modern hotel, but the crucial difference is that you as a guest do not have to pay anything. It's totally free. No hidden fees. The aim with Creators Inn is to promote the local area and give something back to travelling creators whose presence contributes to a more interesting city, whether they are in a band, DJ, designer, artist, writer etc."

But this isn't for everyone, a selection process is applied to guests - as the website says "you need what we call a “valid reason” to stay at our Inn. A valid reason is some sort of creative activity, preferably together with local creators or something that incorporates the city in some way. For instance, meeting up an old friend to go clubbing is (unfortunately) not a valid reason to be granted a free stay." (!)

However, this is not just a clothing brand creating a hotel. In the same way that Electrolux hope to benefit from the restaurant experience they have created in Paris, the Creators Inn is about bringing to life the essence of the Elvine brand, engaging the key role models who (they hope will) act as brand ambassadors and generating word of mouth promotion for the Elvine brand.

Every detail of the Elvine Creators Inn has had attention paid to it and wherever possible ideas are collaborative and crowdsourced. Suggestions from the Creators Inn Facebook discussion board, web page comments and Twitter have all been incorporated into the final design.

Some of my favourite touches:

- Decor - a map of Stockholm and the local area of Södermalm covers one of the walls in each room and guests are encouraged to mark out their favourite spots using pins and pre-printed notes to create a collaborative city guide

Elvine Creators Inn collaborative room map

- The wardrobe contains Elvine clothes that the guests are free to use

Elvine Creators Inn wardrobe containing Elvine clothes

- Creative concierge service - in the room is a list describing eight different people guests can call up if they need someone to go out with or other less traditional tourist information

- Guests can use an in-room record player with vinyl on loan from 'management and friends private collections.' (These also have an attached note that says 'if you're interested in keeping any of the records we'll speak to the owner and see what we can do.' Also a space to 'tell us what you think about this record.')

Creators Inn By Elvine - record collection sticker

- a fixed gear Elvine branded bike that can be borrowed

- 'The Story of Elvine' printed on the shower screen

Creators Inn by Elvine - 'Story Of Elvine' on the shower screen

- various other stickered articles including bananas and notes encouraging guests to become a 'Friend at')

As you'd expect there is a heavy Elvine social media presence (main website with the relevant links here) and there is even a tongue in cheek YouTube video explaining the background to the brand:

The Creators Inn by Elvine displays an acute understanding of how Word Of Mouth is generated / spread and is a great example of an engaging brand experience - immerse the few rather than target the many. Unfortunately not sure if 'having a blog' will fulfil their creative criteria though.......

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