What is it about miniature soaps that can instantly bring holidays to mind? They are basically useless, but still manage to be oddly pleasing just to see. And why are hideously over-priced macadamia nuts so tempting when they come from a small cupboard in the corner of a hotel room? And how do you know what I am referencing? We have most likely never stayed in the same holiday accommodation, we don’t share the experiences yet physical objects, sounds, smells can be anchored to the same parts of popular culture for us. Holiday accommodation has links to popular culture that vacation rentals have not managed to capture yet.
There are some products and little additions that people can’t help associate with holidays. From a safe to the Corby trouser press, people expect and associate certain things from holiday accommodation. We have a collective, shared idea of what this means. It is established among us and it is interesting to see how a little thing can evoke an emotion or relate to an individual memory in so many of us. Individual objects are indexed and related to their space within popular culture, and then again to our individual experiences to them. And this is more than a cultural or national quirk. These links between signs and signifiers can stretch across the globe.
Why is champagne the drink of celebrations? Why do fir trees prop up our notions of Christmas? It starts with a reason, a tradition is established. But then, the story and the facts behind it erode whilst the link between them remains. We build a framework into everything we do. These links are the keystone in a bridge, once it’s in place, it means that it stands even when the support is taken away. It becomes part of the experience and these links are observed and even strengthened by the next people that come along.
You can argue that these small things are, just that; small things. But anything can become a common signifier within popular culture. But what can we link with vacation rentals? What small things are going to form the links to happy memories at vacation rentals?
A white paper, called A Perspective of Collective Consciousness of Business Organisations describes the process of establishing businesses as part of popular culture:
Business organisations ought to be treated as a new form of collective life along with family and society...like the individual, the nation, society (or organisation) also has a body, an organic life, a moral and aesthetic temperament, a developing mind and a soul
These things, like room service or fresh towels, are signs and signifiers and part of the dense weave of associations we all form. If you can develop a link between your properties and certain objects then it will help to establish your business as part of the bedrock of the industry.
Currently, vacation rentals are something of a blank canvas. They are not established in popular culture as a mass, shared experience. There is nothing that unifies this experience between us. Our experiences with vacation rentals are diffuse and separate. We don’t yet have a classic scene, De Niro, or Eastwood holding off the hordes from the balcony of the vacation rental property he rented for two weeks. Arthur Miller didn’t write A View From The Bridge from his bedroom in a multi-unit property in Tampa. He wrote it from the window of a cheap hotel in New York, and doesn’t that conjure up a more vivid image?
This may sound trivial but having these reference points, something for people everywhere to understand and forge a connection to is how industries become global forces. They burrow into popular culture and lodge in our minds. The option to personalise you your property is a chance to establish your brand in the mainstream of popular culture. To have that innate link between the idea of holidays and enjoyment inextricably linked to your business.
What are going to be the objects that come to form a link between vacation rentals and our collective consciousness? What brings vacation rentals to mind for you?