What makes “Instant Hotel” a little different from other reality game shows is that it pits a group of entrepreneurs in the hospitality industry and share economy against each other. Each couple owns an instant hotel, which means they rent out their homes to vacationers. The other couples visit the hotel and rank it based on the home itself, local amenities and attractions, a good night’s sleep and value for the money. These scores, all on a scale of 1 to 10, are combined with the interior design professional’s score. In addition, the group of 8 are given a score from the hosts based on how the home was left and if all the rules were followed. The winner of the game gets a trip to California to stay at an exclusive instant hotel rumored to be run by a Hollywood celebrity.
So, how do you win this game? Since it’s the first season, episode two, it doesn’t appear that many of the participants are looking to win in the traditional sense – getting the prize. Instead, they’re looking to enjoy themselves, see what other instant hotels are doing and just go along for a good time. The mother/daughter team tried to plant the seeds of some sort of alliance against the two gay men, but it was more of a “let’s not let them win because we don’t like them” kind of thing.
If someone wanted to win, they could rate every experience they were on with a zero. The scores are anonymous, and it would probably be too late before anyone did the math to figure out what was going on. That same team could then rate their guests as a zero, and it would still put them ahead but reveal the strategy. This would work best with a team that is later in the series. No one knows when they will be the hosting hotel, but even the first hotel could rate its guests with a six without giving anything away.
However, that’s not actually the point of this competition. The point is for every hotel to get more guests after the episodes air. How do we get more people to come to our hotel rather than the other hotels featured and the other hotels in our area? The first step is to have a great hotel. The second step is to treat your guests well. The third step is to hope the guest at your hotel on this show say good things about your hotel. Whatever happens, the hotel experience needs to be memorable so that no one forgets what your hotel was like.
These steps should help the team connect with the viewing audience in some way and improve booking rates. More needs to happen though. People need to feel like the team is made of people they want to hang out with. They need to feel like the team is something they can support. Most importantly, team members need to find a way to create a story that will last and motivate people to book.
The longer-term gain from “Instant Hotel” is increased tourism for Australia from both nationals and foreigners. So, there needs to be a minimum of bad-mouthing of places and hotels and a maximum of showing off the best the country has to offer. Could a team employ a zero-sum strategy? Sure, and while it might win that team the trip to California, it would undermine the meta game goals of improved bookings at their own hotel and improved tourism for Australia. Because who would want to stay with a team that lied to win?