08. August 2013 · Comments Off on NY Times article on Libraries and Hotels · Categories: Uncategorized

I recently saw a great article in the New York Times about how the hotel industry is creating libraries within their hotels as a way to attract/retain guests and to increase overall sales. The article by Amy Zipkin entitled, “Hotels Add Libraries as Amenity to Keep Guests Inside” is from the July 29, 2013 B4 edition of the New York Times. See http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/30/business/hotels-add-libraries-as-amenity-to-keep-guests-inside.html?emc=eta1&_r=0 for details.

For me the article is a wonderful response to those that question the value of libraries in our digital age. One of the interesting partnerships that is developing is the business relationship between bookstores and the hotel chains. As noted in the article, “The Strand bookstore in New York, for example, sells books to the Library Hotel and the Study at Yale, as well as to hotels in Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, and Philadelphia, among others. Jenny McKibben, who coordinates the store’s corporate accounts, estimates that 60 percent of corporate business stems from hotels or design firms working for hotels. Before the recession, she said, 15 to 20 hotels a year would call to order books. Now, with increased guest interest and newer technology that allows hotels to review pictures and title lists, the number of hotels ordering has increased to about 40 annually. “It’s a new luxury item,” she said of books.”

The reason the hotel industry is creating these libraries is because the hotel library encourages guests to be comfortable with staying in the hotel as opposed to traveling outside the hotel. By staying within the hotel, the odds increase that the guest is likely to purchase items directly from the hotel instead of going outside the hotel to make these purchases. The obvious purchases that come to mind are food and beverages. As the article indicates hotel restaurants and bars stand to benefit by being located close to the hotel library. One example that Zipkin highlights, is the June 2013 renovation of the Hyatt Magnificent Mile in Chicago that includes a bar stocked with books and magazines and a small number of computers. Other examples of hotels that have created libraries include, the “Renaissance Washington, D.C., Downtown Hotel which has books about presidents and sports; the Newport Regency Beach Hyatt; and the Boston Marriott Long Wharf, where books about the Boston Celtics, fishing and baseball are popular.”

It will be interesting to see how this concept evolves over time. Should we anticipate the hotels hiring library acquisition staff to help select books for the collection? Should we see a definitive rise in sales within hotel restaurants and bars? We will have to see.