Interview conducted by Eric Riley.
So, thanks for doing this. We tried to do a big “community recognition-type” thing for the Festival, though it’s probably a strange request to have a music website interviewing a hotel.
– *laughs* Well, when you’re a music hotel, it’s not a strange request.
Very good point. Would you mind introducing yourself and tell us a little bit about the Ames and about what you do, for those who maybe aren’t that familiar with you guys?
– My name is Mark Feinberg, I’m the Director of Sales and Marketing here at the Ames Boston. We’re a 114-room boutique hotel located in Boston’s Financial District. We’re located in the historic downtown area, across from the old statehouse and across the street from where the Boston Massacre took place. The building was built in 1894 and was the tallest building in Boston until 1908, but is still to this day the tallest building that contains no steel. So, we’ve got some history here.
Earlier this year, Ames Hotel was named the 2014 “Best Hotel” in Boston Magazine’s Best of Boston issue. What do you think the Ames Hotel does different from others in Boston to provide guests with the best experience?
– I think one would be our service standards. We set them very high, and we try to take the best care of guests as we possibly can. And the quality of our rooms are the best in Boston – there are hardwood floors, great big windows in all of the rooms, high ceilings, thirteen different room types, and a lot more. It really just boils down to service, quality, and amenities that sets us apart.
You guys are right around the corner from the festival grounds. Do you think that accounts for a big part of the crowds you draw in?
– Absolutely. Being within walking distance is a huge part. You can hear the concert right from your windows here. It’s a great location – and with the festival allowing re-entry, people can walk back and forth like it’s nothing. If they care for the act who is playing, or if (knock on wood) it rains, they can just head back to their room for a bit.
I’ve seen some other festivals run ticket/room bundles with hotels that are sponsoring. Do you offer any deals for festival guests?
– Last time around, we had a package deal – VIP passes for all three days, along with three nights in a suite here – and people really took advantage of that. This year, we didn’t do one strictly because we didn’t have many rooms left because of how quickly we filled up.
So I’ve been debating with the girl that runs the site, and I’m hoping you could settle an argument; what sort of crowd are you anticipating this time around? I say that, with schools heading back into session and moving back into their own places, there will be a smaller number of younger kids looking for a place to stay. But she thinks that, with it being a weekend at the end of summer, as well as the last festival of the year, there will still be plenty. Think you could clear that up for us? What sort of crowd do you anticipate?
– *sigh* Oh man. Umm, can I stay neutral? We’ll have both – there’ll be the kids who are coming back to school, as well as the ones coming from out of town or from out of state. It’ll be the best of both worlds, and there will also be the local folks who want to be closer than they normally would be. And then with some of the artists this year, especially Lorde, they’re such huge names and they draw in such a broad crowd.
Boston Calling is one of the more diverse festivals and has only been around since last May. It’s a very local, centralized event, and I think that that helps it stand out. What else do you think makes this festival such a huge hit?
– Crash Line Production really just hits it out of the park. They do amazing advertising that really gets not only their name out there, but the festival and the sponsors. They’re 100% professional while still having an upbeat, entertaining vibe to them. They really make it happen, and we’re so proud to continually be a part of it.
If you find yourself over at the show that weekend, is there anyone you’d be making a point to see? Or have you heard any buzz about certain artists from your fellow employees or people around town?
– Well we get some of the artists to stay here, so that’s always cool. The National stayed here the last time they played, and they will this time, too. Lorde, too, most likely. Last year, The Decemberists did an interview with JetBlue here, and Phosphorescent did an acoustic set in our lobby. So we try to give them a great place to stay, and sometimes they do something nice for us in return. And on top of that, we handle rooms for all of the press and the crew and staff and sponsors – it’s nice to provide them all with the same place to be at the end of the day.
Can we expect to see the Ames Hotel sponsoring the festival’s next edition (hopefully in May)?
– Absolutely. Without being a part of Boston Calling, I don’t know if we would’ve won Best in Boston this year. We’re in it for the long haul.
Okay, well thanks so much for this! Best of luck for the weekend!