While location scouts and producers are always on the hunt for desirable settings for their next projects, it takes more than just beautiful aesthetics for a prospective property to translate to a great filming site.
With the U.K. gaining popularity as an ideal backdrop for Hollywood productions, after the success of “The Crown,” “Downton Abbey” and “Bridgerton,” more location scouts are shooting across the pond — with the help of the logistically minded hotel industry.
Notable hotels tend to be a boon for film projects as their architecture lends a sense of gravitas to a set, and their hospitality infrastructure offers the amenities needed to host large groups of crew members and privacy-seeking A-list talent.
With hundreds of hotels in Europe in its portfolio — more than 55 of which are spread across key destinations in the U.K. — Radisson Hotel Group has long been a preferred lodging partner for those in the entertainment industry, but following the film resurgence after the first few years of the pandemic, the company’s properties are now also being sought after as sets for film and TV projects.
As productions are only projected to grow in 2023, the hotel group has started to train members of its staff specifically to accommodate film projects.
“Radisson Hotel Group has a strong presence in some of London’s most iconic locations, as well as some of the country’s most in-demand production hubs, like Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester,” says Daniela Dumitrescu Oprea, Radisson Hotel Group’s B2B marketing director EMEA.
“Beyond our stunning and flexible spaces, our hotel teams have been professionally trained in how to cater to the specific needs of our entertainment partners, whether that’s crew accommodation or using our spaces as filming locations. We make sure there are trained staff at key hotels to minimize risk and ensure operational excellence.”
For location managers scouting the ideal place to get a production set up, shot and completed quickly, working with a hotel partner who offers this sort of expertise is vital— especially if public spaces are involved. In these instances, the hotel must understand the impact shooting a scene will have on all the guests, not just the staff.
Eugene Strange, managing director at Salt Film, a network of U.K.-based location managers and scouts, notes that communication is a huge priority when it comes to filming in a busy hotel lobby, for example.
“The most important thing about filming in the common areas is to make sure the owners and management are totally on board with the filming and the impact it could have on the hotel and their guests, either by choosing areas that are workable at certain times of the day, or choosing alternative spaces for the crew or hotel guests,” says Strange.
Then, there are the basics everyone needs while staying away from home, including internet access, dining options and the ability to get some rest. While crews are working in hotels, the property serves as both their workplace and their personal space, so it is important that crews staying in hotels for long-haul productions feel at home. Plus, as plenty of important scenes happen at night, crews that need to sleep during daylight hours and work in the evenings will appreciate a hotel with a peaceful atmosphere during the day.
To further cater to the needs of film projects, Radisson Hotels have launched a new initiative called Center Stage, a bespoke solution that lets production crews tap into exactly what their script calls for.
“Through Center Stage, we offer expert solutions and packages for the entertainment industry and a network encompassing hundreds of film-worthy hotels across Europe, the Middle East and Africa,” says Dumitrescu Oprea. “From the luxury lifestyle Radisson Collection to the sophisticated Radisson Blu or the bold aesthetics of Radisson RED, with nine distinctive brands across our portfolio, you can be sure to find a hotel that matches the requirements of your script.”
The Center Stage program also offers film crews additional amenities like flexible booking terms, dedicated spaces that can be used as production offices, separate dining spaces, private entrances and flexible opening hours at the hotel’s food and beverage outlets to accommodate the production schedule.
The hotel group’s logistical expertise is not its only strength. When there’s a need for a truly stunning site, one property that comes up again and again for film-related events is The May Fair, A Radisson Collection Hotel.
Earlier this year, The May Fair hosted the opening and closing press conferences for the London Film Festival, and the property has had a longstanding partnership with a wide range of important industry events in the U.K. such as the Critics’ Circle. That’s partially thanks to the hotel’s rooms and grounds, and partially due to the hotel’s private on-site theater, which makes an excellent screening room for invite-only premieres.
“There are many things that make The May Fair, A Radisson Collection Hotel, one of the key hotels for the entertainment industry in the U.K.,” says Botho Stein, the hotel’s general manager. “These include heritage, location, stunning signature suites and a variety of meeting and event spaces to suit their needs, such as the May Fair Theatre, which is one of the largest private screening rooms in London. Furthermore, a dedicated team is on-site to handle enquiries from our entertainment clients, ensuring good relationships are maintained, requests are actioned and expectations are met.”
Another hotspot in London is the Radisson Blu Edwardian Hampshire Hotel, a five-star boutique hotel set on the iconic Leicester Square, which is a prime location for major film premieres.
Overall, it is Radisson’s access to unique legacy properties all over the world, along with an understanding of how production needs differ from those of regular guests, that makes them a key ally in the film industry.
“Our diverse portfolio of brands allows us to meet any individual and group needs, from premium accommodation in some of the world’s most exclusive suites for your VIPs, to quality, affordable solutions for the crew,” adds Dumitrescu Oprea. “Years of growth following the pandemic resulted in a greater demand for authentic and inspiring filming locations, and hotels are some of the most popular filming location categories in the industry.”
Find out more about Center Stage by Radisson Hotels at radissonhotels.com/entertainment.