Super 8 isn’t afraid to admit that much of the art that hung in its hotels for decades was, well, not so super. With a redesigned look rolling out across the economy brand’s North American portfolio, it was time for those washed-out pastel landscapes and frolicking forest animal paintings to come down.
New, hyper-local artwork is the finishing touch to Super 8’s reimagined guestrooms, which feature soothing color palettes, sleek finishings and bedding, and modern amenities. Of the brand’s nearly 1,800 hotels in North America, about 1,000 have already upgraded to the new guestroom design package. The remainder will complete the transformation by year’s end.
To celebrate the brand’s new look and feel, Super 8 is giving its old art a proper sendoff during an exhibit at Openhouse gallery in New York City tonight. Actress, author, and comedian Amy Sedaris will host “When the Art Comes Down: Works from the Super 8 Collection,” where nearly 100 pieces will be free for the taking. Sedaris has given each piece a humorous name, to boot (e.g. “Pale Glory”).
“We felt it was time to do an event that would help our guests and the traveling public understand that we want to change the perception of Super 8 from just a budget brand to elevated economy,” explains Mike Mueller, Super 8 brand senior vice president.
Once the redesign is complete, all Super 8 guestrooms in the United States and Canada will boast large, black-and-white photographs of iconic landmarks or local landscapes that are distinct to each hotel’s location. Displayed above the bed, the artwork doubles as a headboard and eliminates the need for additional artwork in the room.
Mueller says the new look better positions Super 8 to attract the next generation of travelers, especially as millennials become an increasingly important customer segment for hotels. The art also serves as a vehicle through which guests can form local connections. Super 8 sourced more than 50,000 photographs of specific points of interest throughout North America for hotel owners to choose from. The brand encourages owners to use up to 15 different images in their properties and complementary images in double rooms.
Rather than hang an arbitrary picture of Badlands National Park, for example, a Super 8 outside of Rapid City, S.D., can feature Tunnel 4 on Needles Highway in Custer State Park. Instead of showing a generic locomotive, a Super 8 near Muscle Shoals, Ala., may show a Norfolk Southern Railway locomotive traveling next to Highway 72. The hope is that guests will ask questions about the photos or even feel inspired to visit the exact location. “The goal is to stimulate dialogue between our guests of today and tomorrow with the hotel staff,” Mueller says.
Refreshed properties have also added vintage postcard art from their state or province in the lobby. This has become a prime spot for guests to take selfies and share their travel experiences on social media. “While we still fulfill the jumping off point to their bucket list of travel destinations, we’re becoming a much more integral part into getting there,” Mueller says.
Aside from creating a sense of place and improving overall brand perception, Mueller says the redesign proves to guests that Super 8 has come of age and is ready for the modern traveler. “You may have thought of Super 8 as your grandfather’s budget hotel—it is not,” he says. “We’re elevating the economy segment through this guestroom design and experience, and we’re really happy with the positive response so far.”
On behalf of Super 8, Amy Sedaris will present a donation to The Center for Arts Education, an arts education provider and advocate for children.
For more information on “When the Art Comes Down: Works from The Super 8 Collection,” visit www.super8artshow.com.