It’s simple: HOTEL ARCHIVE Andreas Augustin

It’s simple: HOTEL ARCHIVE

( words)

Am I getting on your nerves yet? Just wait until I'm fully up to speed. Today's exercise is a simple one:
Preserve your present so it can become a past in the future. Too complicated? Not at all!

I asked ChatGPT to give me a precise explanation for the marvellous English word "sustainability." First off, as we've thoroughly learned, it means "sustainable." The extended definition brings us to our topic today. "Sustainability refers to maintaining something over a long period without exhausting resources or harming the environment. It can involve various areas such as environmental, economic, or social aspects and implies the responsibility to meet the needs of the current generation without compromising the ability of future generations." I couldn't have put it better myself.

This sustainability, ladies and gentlemen, pertains not just to environmental consciousness but also to your historical awareness. History is happening right now, as we sit here comfortably together. You are making history with your hotel. You produce menus, be they traditionally printed or digital. You create moments for your guests, for yourselves, and for your staff. But where are these moments recorded? What happens to them? Who will remember a price list from today tomorrow or in ten years? Who will be able to trace what you offered on your menus for special occasions? Which New Year's Eve menus or hotel brochures will still exist?

The answer is: a hotel archive.

Maintaining a hotel archive is not a major effort. Surely, the most challenging part is deciding the right person to regularly collect materials. This includes photos, menus, brochures, documents, reports on renovations and refurbishments, as well as significant acquisitions. The memories of long-standing employees, documented for your hotel archive, are invaluable.

You don't need to spend money or reinvent the wheel for a workable database. For instance, create an Excel file where you can chronologically organize events and easily retrieve them. The essential thing is not just to collect the material but ultimately to make it accessible to the public, whether online or as a publication. The range of options extends from PDFs to elaborately illustrated books, paying attention to copyright, correct citation, and simple academic guidelines for compiling and researching historical contexts.

Why all this effort? A few keywords: marketing, identity creation, ideas for events, upcoming anniversaries. Perhaps, for a change, learn from past mistakes. Keep a logbook to preserve anecdotes and history. Regularly print everything and store it in a secure location outside the hotel. Talk to your local archive/museum. They will be delighted with such documents and will process them professionally. Create a dedicated collection for your establishment.

I know you have other concerns at the moment, but properly maintaining a hotel archive will spare you and, more importantly, future generations one less worry. I promise you that.


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**Images above include:
The menu of the Savoy Hotel, London, from November 19, 1949, makes the wartime food shortages a distant memory.

What mysteries lie behind this elegant gold embossing of the Hotel Kulm in St. Moritz's New Year's Eve menu from 1947?

An initial drawing by the architect of the Bella Vista section of the Kronenhof Pontresina. An irreplaceable historical document.

This is how the Parkhotel Vitznau on Lake Lucerne celebrated Switzerland on August 1, 1909.

The Bahnhof Restaurant (like many others) had its daily changing menu. This one from 1924 was typed with a typewriter.

The two Baur Hotels in Zurich issued this bill for diner and lodgement in 1868.