words Al Woods
The world of hospitality is dramatised on the small screen by many programmes, with both celebrities and ordinary business owners providing an insight onto the day-to-day realities that running a hospitality business entails.
The hospitality market has gone from strength to strength, and big hotel businesses, as well as smaller independent bed and breakfasts, are all facing challenges when it comes to luring new customers in.
With the help of The Cairn Collection, owners of hotels in Jesmond, we have compiled a selection of some of the best hotel TV shows for an insight into the reality and glamourous extremes of the industry.
Gordon Ramsay’s Hotel Hell
With more than a decade of experience in running some of the world’s top-rated restaurants and hotels, Gordon Ramsay took to the small screen with a selection of hospitality programmes aired in the UK and the US. With a similar concept to his other phenomena ‘Kitchen Nightmares’ and ‘Hell’s Kitchen’, the ‘Hotel Hell’ edition is similarly ruthless when it comes to criticising a range of hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts. Ramsay visits an establishment which has run into financial difficulties or become the subject of a string of bad reviews and reverses the ill-fated ventures, by loudly enforcing his own extremely high standards.
Ramsay makes his presence well-known to the owners, with a combination of constant expletives… and an element of business coaching. He leaves no source of incompetence unchallenged, but Ramsay also shares a lot of invaluable industry advice with the owners. In every episode, he has a genuine enthusiasm for rescuing the establishments from closure, even if it does require some cut-throat tactics.
The Hotel Inspector
Award winning hotelier and businesswoman Alex Polizzi turns floundering establishments into successful money spinners, as she applies her own vast industry knowledge to the pitfalls of each venue she visits. As the title suggests, Alex is the hotel inspector who aims to transform venues from drab to fab, often with the help of gifted décor from well-known brands to help revitalise the space that she is working with. Alex tackles issues that go beyond the low-quality furnishings though, as she will often look at management infrastructures to salvage dwindling profits.
In each episode of this classic hotel show, the challenges presented are unique and Alex tailors a solution for the owners. Her no-nonsense approach can often mean executing a full brand revamp or revising the target market of the hotel and adjusting to suit a new audience. The most anticipated part of the program is when Polizzi revisits the establishments, to see her changes in practice. If the venue doesn’t seem up to scratch, she is known to stick around and implement her ideas again.
Four in a Bed
In ‘Four in a Bed’, the owners of four bed and breakfasts must welcome each of their competitors into their own establishment, and the guests will then rate their hosts on cleanliness, facilities and answer the ultimate question — would they stay there again? The owners are notoriously critical, with every surface being subjected to the finger sweep for dust and stray hairs. After the competitors have stayed in all the establishments, they meet up for an often-confrontational stand-off. To add to the drama, the rival owners are left to decide how much they thought their stay at the hotel in question was worth, with underpayments providing regular conflict between the competing hosts.
The premise of the program is simply to bring out the most meticulous of characters into the traditional bed and breakfast environment, and often a lot of the entertainment comes from guests showing the lengths that they are willing to go to, to be crowned best of the bunch.
An Australian show streamed on Netflix, ‘Instant Hotel’ shares some similarity with Four in a Bed. The hosts have transformed their homes into stunning hotels, and the other competitors enjoy a night’s stay during which they look for the smallest of details and rate the rental accordingly. However, unlike other formats of this kind, the hosts are given a chance to score their houseguest out of 10 depending on how they think the stay went.
The couples who accumulate the most points go on to a grand final, going head to head with each other to claim the title of best instant hotel. They are given a chance to improve on their rentals based on the feedback given from their previous guests, ensuring that they have the best shot at coming out victorious. The scoring criteria ranges from value for money, location and the quality of sleep at the rental, and the guests are also given the chance to report on the changes which the hosts have made to their home. Instant hotel provides an insight into hospitality across the pond, and there are plenty of faux-pas to keep you glued to your screen.
Another Netflix binge-worthy series, ‘Stay Here’ is an American show which focuses on boosting profits for homeowners who choose to rent out a room in their home or alternatively, their entire house. The concept is purely to rejuvenate the space and identify any unique selling points, as the hosts designer Genevieve Godrer, and real estate expert Peter Lorimer, advise the property owner on how to make their rental into a success. As the growing trend of the ‘customer experience’ remains strong, the show highlights the ways in which the owners could make their rental stand out from the crowd. Some of the most eclectic venues which feature include a floating romantic retreat rental and an ex-firehouse which is transformed into a family-friendly holiday home. The series explores modern conventions and alternatives to the classic hotel room and demonstrates the innovation possible to each property owner.
Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby
This Amazon prime series is a global rundown of some of the best high-end, unique hotel establishments. The hosts Giles Coren and Monica Galetti enjoy a whistle stop tour of some truly breath-taking hotels, getting an insight into the daily running of each venue. This insight into the industry allows the audience to appreciate all that goes on behind the scenes at these extravagant locations, showing the diversity of roles within the workforce and the reality of the work for many. The hosts also get involved themselves, in order to decide whether they would be cut out for a job in a real-life hotel in the industry.
Which one will be taking over your screen?