Being somewhat of a romantic when it comes to hotels, especially the Grand hotels, I was captivated recently when leafing through a copy of Bradshaw’s Continental Railway Guide, the 1913 edition. This print publication transports us back to the halcyon days of steam-driven railways journeys that granted the well-to-do access to virtually any place of interest in Europe. From natural spa resorts, Riviera beaches, alpine heights, to every grand European capital.
With each documented destination, the traveler is provided a brief overview of the most noteworthy hotels from which to choose. These hotel descriptives clearly had the same intent back then as our equivalent modern-day marketing materials, albeit their respective delivery mediums have changed beyond all recognition. What piqued my interest within the hotel descriptions were the promotional points-of-differentiation that the hotels employed to gain the traveler’s eye, and through that, hopefully their patronage. Despite this travel guide being over one hundred years old, technology seems to have been just as much of a key differentiator back then as it is today.