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Stockholm-based Scandic Hotels gave itself a great 50th Anniversary gift last year, announcing the launch of a spinoff brand for a new generation of traveler (ahem, Millennials)-- HTL Hotels.
The first hotel under the new flag, HTL Kungsgatan, is scheduled to open this May with 274 rooms in Stockholm. The concept is simple-- provide an affordable, Nordic-mod (we just made that up), digital and mobile friendly, urban accommodation that leaves out what you don’t want anyway.
Nordic Hotels has long been technology driven, and we congratulate Scandic for receiving “the digital winner” award earlier this month (HSMAI European Award) for their on-line check out system.
A recent survey by Scandic Hotels shed some light on the booking habits of Swedish travelers who frequent their properties, and as it turns out, they're not very proactive in their planning. The results revealed that 60 percent of the hotel chain's guests book their hotel within one week of their stay, and that 21 percent of guests book on the day of their arrival.
While we think the latter number is pretty stunning, what's more surprising is that the survey found that 24% of families book on the day of arrival. Going to the mall at the last minute with small children is stressful enough, let alone packing bags the night before a trip without a reservation.
While the habits of the Swedish population as surveyed by a single hotel chain might not be applicable for universal assumptions, it sure did get us thinking. Is this type of last-minute decision making happening everywhere? We sure as hell put a little more than a day’s thought into where we're going to stay, and perhaps we just assumed that most would do the same (backpacking trips and the like excluded, of course). That said, it is possible that people are thinking in advance, but simply waiting until the final day to book. Why? Perhaps because of new apps, such as HotelTonight, that give last-minute deals on room rates.
Want a free (and chic) hotel room during your stay in Stockholm, Sweden? If you're a creativemeaning an artist, writer, designer (whether graphic, web, fashion or other) or musicianthen the Creators' Inn By Elvine is for you.
A concept from the Swedish fashion brand Elvine, the Creators Inn has taken over a space within the Scandic Malmen Hotel in downtown Stockholm and transformed it into a 3-room suite with interior design and amenities based on answers to two questions:
1. "What are the most important needs of a traveling creator? How do they differ from “regular” guests?"
2. "What would your ultimate room for creators look like? What kind functions, products and services would be provided for the visiting creators?"
Wheelchair Accessible Hotels / Disabled Access Hotels / Hotel Websites / Europe Hotels / Ibis Hotels / Scandic Hotels / ETAP Hotels / → All Tags
This week our roving correspondent Monica Guy is writing about an oft-overlooked aspect of hotels and travel: disabled access. Monica knows a lot about this subject as she works and travels frequently with Stephen Hawking. However, feel free to chime in with your thoughts and experiences too. Got a question? Let us know and we'll get it answered for you.
For disabled travellers outside of the US, perhaps a better option than designated specially-designed accessible hotels is to go for ordinary hotel chains who take access seriously.
Three cheers in this department go to the Swedish-owned Scandic Hotel chain. They recently won two prestigious awards for their efforts in the field of disabled access. Unlike most chains, they employ a full-time disability coordinator, Magnus Bergland, to advise on access issues and train staff in how to deal with guests with disabilities.
In fact, he not only advises, he makes all new staff get into a wheelchair and follow the 'guest's route' round the hotel, from parking and the reception desk to the room, bathroom and breakfast area. It's only by doing this, he claims, that people gain any sort of understanding as to the difficulties faced by disabled guests.
As part of their big pledge for environmental purity by 2025, the European Scandic Hotels chain has just announced they're going to help the environment even more by stopping their use of bottled water.
In the future, if you want a drink of water in a Scandic Hotel, you'll be able to quench your thirst using tap water that will be chilled and filtered as it comes through the faucet. Scandic says their filtering process will leave in the good minerals and take out any nasty chemicals, and you'll be able to choose from still or carbonated.
The move will save about 160 tons in carbon emissions a year, both by saving in the use of plastic bottles and through the transport costs usually needed to get the bottles to all the hotels. Those Scandinavians seem to have a heap of good ideas about being green, so we'll keep following Scandic on their quest for "environmental purity".
[Photo: Felix Idan]
Scandinavians seem to be renowned for a bit of a social conscience and the Scandic Hotels chain has long had a reputation for doing things green.
In the last decade or so, Scandic has already done a lot to be environmentally friendly across their 140 hotels: introducing recycling bins into guest rooms, replacing chlorine bleach with oxygen bleach in the laundry, and renovating rooms with recyclable and renewable materials.
Last week Scandic made a very big promise: their goal is to be "100% green by 2025", which means eliminating all carbon-emitting activities and basically being super, super-environmental, including:
thermo steered heating, usage of renewed energy, cars driven by renewed fuel, water efficient water taps, showers and toilets, KRAV-labelled food (eco labelled), garbage sorters in 23 000 hotel rooms, switch to electricity from waterpower plants and no use of disposable packages.
Wow. Perhaps Scandic's services could be even more environmentally responsible if they just gave us sleeping bags and tents to stay in?
· Scandic Hotel 100% green by 2025 [Visit Scandinavia]
· Scandic Hotel's Natural Step to Creating Green Hotels [HotelChatter]
· Scandic Hotels Coverage [HotelChatter]
The whole sad process began with a complaint by a guest who had found a Bible in a drawer in his hotel room. He wrote to Mona Andersson, the head marketing executive at Scandic hotels. She wrote back [my translation]: "Thank you for your e-mail and your views. Yes, we have traditionally had the Bible/New testament available at our hotel rooms. But all religions are welcome at Scandic so as of today we encourage all our hotels to remove the Bible from their rooms. The Bible will be available at the reception as a service for our guests.
All 130 Scandic hotels in ten countries such as Denmark, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, Germany, The Netherlands and Norway will pull the bibles from their rooms.
We're guessing this ain't gonna happen at Marriott anytime soon. But never fear, your very own handheld bible trivia game is here!
· Finding you religion in the nightstand [HotelChatter]
· Must ... remove ... all Bibles ... from all Scandic hotels [Scandic Hotel Bibles]