"We did a lot of research and found that millennials don't care about staying at a branded hotel, or amassing loyalty points," said Michael Baier, general manager, Stanford Court. "They're far more interested in experiencing something local when visiting a new city versus something cookie cutter. After learning that, everything we did was focused on how we could layer on a local story to Stanford Court."
For example, guests to the hotel find that employees wear Levi jeans because they were invented in San Francisco. The soap and the coffee is local and even the keycards given to guests when they check in feature local stories. One set was about local bands; another set was about items that were invented in San Francisco.
During the renovation of the hotel property, management found a lot of "cookie cutter" art on the walls. In line with its mission, the hotel decided to replace it with art from local artists. One artist did a series of skate board pieces while another did a series of maps made out of grocery bags. But Stanford Court really felt it hit the jackpot when it came into contact with Daylighted, a San Francisco-based fine art consultancy company.
Daylighted showed the hotel how it could display local art in a high tech digital way. In the hotel lobby are three 55” digital screens that rotate artwork curated from a variety of Bay Area artists including Mike Kepka from the San Francisco Chronicle, mixed media artist Derek James Lynch, and a selection of artists from Artspan, a renowned San Francisco organization supporting local talent. Each month, new artists are individually selected by Daylighted’s curation team to keep the exhibition fresh. Stanford Court can also access an online dashboard to control or edit the galleries.
"We can change the galleries as often as we want," Baier says. "We can say that we want the Spring 2017 gallery to be black and white photographs of San Francisco icons such as bridges, buildings, cable cars, etc. and they'll create a gallery around those parameters. Once created, we review the gallery and verbally approve it. They then schedule it to begin publishing at a date and time that we choose."
According to Baier, the technology was very easy to install. The hotel simply had to plug in the monitors and hook them up to the hotel's WiFi network. In addition to the digital screens, there are two tablets that sit in kiosk stands next to the digital displays.
Hotel guests who are interested in the art displayed on the digital monitors can go up to one of the two tablets and learn more about the specific piece currently on display. When someone takes command of a tablet, they also take command of one of the screens. As they look, they can buy a piece of art if its available for sale. Stanford court averages 1,354 interactions with guests per month over the last 6 months.
One guest wrote in a TripAdvisor review, "...The cable car stop was steps away from the hotel entrance and it was also a great place to check out local art. The Stanford Court has digital images, graffiti, and very unique art from local artists in the lobby."
Daylighted also updates the galleries automatically to reflect holidays, current events or special occasions. For instance, during Chinese New Year it ran a temporary gallery to celebrate that holiday and it displayed many rooster images to correlate with the fact that it is the year of the rooster.
Artists appreciate the exposure as well.
"I am delighted to exhibit my artwork with Daylighted. I think their approach — putting art in nontraditional places is an exciting development for me and other artists who are looking to connect with new audiences," says featured artist Am StÖhr.