[photopress:art.jpg,full,alignright]Eva Ziegler, the senior vice president of Le Meridien brand for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, says the firm’s two Le Meridien hotels in Shanghai will act as a testing ground for concepts they want to roll out globally.
Eve Ziegler’s view is that approaching guests with traditional ways of presenting art is no longer good enough.
She said, ‘A Picasso painting hanging on the wall, a sculpture in the corner — art has always been presented in a passive way. We want it to be interactive.’
By this she means partnerships with cultural institutions around the globe. Le Royal Meridien Shanghai has formed an alliance with the Museum of Contemporary Art in People’s Park, which is near the hotel. The partnership will offer Le Meridian guests free access to MOCA. Simply present a room key at the museum entrance, to, using a felicious phrase, ‘unlock art.’
With two properties under management in Shanghai, both owned by Shanghai Shimao Group, Eva Ziegler says it is the first step for Le Meridien to expand in China. She sees huge growth potential for the brand in the Chinese market as well as in other countries in Asia Pacific.
China will be Le Meridien’s second most important market following North America. (Style note. There seems to have been a conscious decision to drop the accents from the name. Only in France is it still Le Méridien and even then it is not consistent.)
Eva Ziegler defines herself a ‘non hotel person’ — she entered the industry with Starwood in March. Nonetheless, Ziegler says she wants to apply her 15 years of branding experience from previous jobs to the hotel chain. Regarding Le Meridien, she said, ‘Being a European brand, rooted in France, to bring to life cultural experiences is something very obvious.’
This attitude towards real art is very different from that of another hotel chain in another country. It hired a large warehouse, covered the floor with canvas and then had employees ride around on bicycles dripping different coloured paint. When the paint had dried the canvas was cut up into small picture sizes, framed and hung in the hotels as original art — as indeed it was. The approach of Le Meridien is somewhat more sophisticated and genuine.
Source: Shanghai Daily
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