A new luxury downtown hotel shows how brands are selling Austin in 2022

    On Monday, 1 Hotels announced it was building one of its luxury hotels in Austin, scheduled to open in 2026. The announcement by S&H Hotels, the Los Angeles-based company that operates 1 Hotels, has successfully completed construction of its new Austin Bingo: uses” Austin City Limits, and claimed that the 74-story tower in which he will reside will be the largest in Texas upon completion.

    Without delving into whether Austin needs a massive new downtown luxury hotel amid a housing crisis, or the ambiguity of claiming a window in Austin’s city limits (the festival, downtown venue, or TV show?), the release was remarkable for its buzzwords and phrases. Especially for Austin. One in particular stands out.

    Consider this sentence in awe: “Sleek and modern Texas guestrooms feature furnishings that fuse cowboy craftsmanship with the sophisticated, assured tone of a smart city.”

    This Mad Lib evokes, in order, the muddy Ford F-150, Hermès’ upcoming South Congress store, lonely pigeon, Elon Musk and his various interests in Central Texas. It’s a really captivating journey.

    Without calling Webster’s Dictionary, that’s of course marketing: selling something to specific demographics using targeted images and phrases. These pointers are meant to help Austinites and their regular visitors visualize a space rather than a view. But it also begs the question, who is this for?

    And, more broadly, what does that mean for how brands sell themselves to — and in — Austin? Is this how the world sees our city now?

    This is probably the perfect 1 Hotel Austin vacation.

    This is probably the perfect 1 Hotel Austin vacation.

    Jeremy Mueller / Getty Images

    For comparison, I looked at the PR language used at the new 1 Hotel in San Francisco, which was announced just five days ago. San Francisco has the distinction of being an “eclectic and vibrant city” that has “always been at the forefront of driving sustainable change in architecture and design.”

    Addressing the first phrase, this is the PR talk of the city’s gay population. Most interesting in this exercise, however, when viewed through the lens of the city in which I reside, is the frequent use of San Francisco’s version of the words “design” and “architecture.”

    San Francisco is, of course, a famous American architectural city. Aside from ancient icons like the Golden Gate Bridge and the Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco has a wealth of Victorian, Modern, and Tudor structures dotted around the city. No wonder the ad handlers who waved their sticks over this version have pushed this angle.

    Overall, this means that when selling the idea of ​​San Francisco to potential clients—and to the city itself—the owners of 1 Hotel believe that what makes San Francisco unique is its place as a diverse, stunning and architecturally beautiful city. very simple.

    Moving to Texas, I looked up a few recent press releases for luxury hotels for San Antonio, the city closest to Austin. But even an hour or so after I-35, the language is completely different. The buzzword in the luxury sale of San Antonio is “history,” of course because of the Alamo.

    “Guests will be inspired by the historic influences of the Otis San Antonio,” and the Thompson hotel is busy “capturing the contemporary spirit of historic Texas,” according to related press releases. When selling luxury accommodations in San Antonio, it’s important to make it clear that the Alamo is there. Again, this mostly makes sense. When thinking of our hotel, remember the Alamo.

    It’s hard to fathom what Austin’s statement says and what the world thinks about our just city.

    Rainey Street, rearranged again.

    Rainey Street, rearranged again.

    Aimee E. Price/Getty Images for SXSW

    The only reference to design or architecture is in the footer to the edition, where Hotel 1 describes itself as a financier of “sustainable design and architecture”. Fair enough, because Austin isn’t particularly known for its beautiful bridges or modern towers, which is a nice way to put it, sure.

    And the history is not mentioned anywhere, except in the description of Rainey Street, which, in all fairness, is technically a historic district but retains almost none of the history (or the people) who made it so.

    Austin’s press release relies on some amalgamation of a low brow and a raised brow, like flowering onions smothered in beluga caviar. It’ll go straight into Hotel 1 in Austin because it’s macho, but it’s expensive and expensive.

    It’s as authentic as a cowboy but designed for the tech pros. With these many reversals, it is impossible to extract any kind of city definition. Ten years ago, this press release would have affected “weirdness” back home and live blues. Today, Austin has a lot of identities to stay straight.

    This does not mean that any one type of person lives in Austin, or that marketers have to cater to any one demographic. It’s just that this press release reveals that no one, not even those who got paid to define it, knows what Austin is in 2022.

    If you find a 6G bronc buster decked out in Celine and open his own Cyber ​​Truck in Tarrytown, though, let me know.