If the streets of the city of Madrid have become in recent years an improvised set in which films, series, video clips or advertisements have been shot, also other places, where this fact is not so visible, have been infected by this wave that does not stop growing in the capital, such as hotels. For many of them, filming became a lifesaver in the hardest time of the pandemic, an evil that came to open the eyes of the sector in this sense, because this industry not only represents a new way of business to add to their accounts but also provide visibility, national and international, difficult to achieve otherwise for the accommodations themselves and also for Madrid as a brand image.
The RIU, the Hilton, the Santo Domingo, the URSO, the Bless, the NH Collection Madrid Sweden... The list of hotels that have jumped on this bandwagon is endless, as well as the number of shootings that have occurred in them in recent times. In 2022 alone, 66 series, 47 films and more than 380 commercials were shot in the capital. And of these, a significant percentage left their mark on hotels in Madrid, mainly in productions, but also, and no less important, in accommodation. And that just seems to be the starting point.
The Iberostar Las Letras Gran Vía acknowledges that it began to see a real business in the audiovisual sector in the middle of the pandemic. When he was raising the blind to open the restaurant that houses on his ground floor, a producer who was shooting opposite approached them to ask for help and that led them to become the scene of several productions. For months, the Iberostar became a bubble hotel: it housed the production teams and the actors, and its rooms and rooms became filming spaces. And also of rehearsals, of makeup, of change, of montages. There was filmed the second season of The Warrior Nun, the first of In from the cold (The return of the spy) and also some scenes of the Uncharted movie.
Three international productions that involved a direct expenditure of 2,103,000 euros in accommodation (not only in this hotel) and approximately 70,000 in rentals of hotel spaces, according to data provided by Madrid Film Office -the office in charge of the promotion of filming and audiovisual of the City Council-.
'The return of the spy', at the Hyatt Centric Gran Vía Hotel.NETFLIX
"As a result, we've been growing. After the pandemic, we were rented the hotel to present in Spain the film The Return of the Zombies. They thematized two floors of the hotel as an escape room. And then several ads have been shot, "says Yara Martínez, general director of the hotel, who recognizes that this business route is an important part of the accounts that generates extra income because they not only rent rooms, but any facility: rooms, gym ...
"With the hotel open, filming is complicated, but you can live together," adds Martínez, referring to the fact that producers can always adapt to certain schedules so as not to interfere with the clientele, or even adjust the taking of images to lower seasons of tourism.
The general director of RIU, Gonzalo Baselga, is in the same vein. "The building has become an icon of the capital and when we opened the hotel (2019) we received many requests that we could not meet due to demand. When we focused on the shoots it was in the pandemic, that there was a lot of availability and we could play with all the spaces. All the big platforms have passed through here: Amazon, Netflix, HBO, Movistar... We have appeared in films that have been seen all over the world and that brings us a return, "he says. "Now we have to select because we have great occupations, but the good thing is that we have gained a lot of experience," he adds.
Its terraces are the most sought-after. In the hotel, scenes from the series Valeria or Elite were filmed -which "hit hard in Latin America"-, connections have been made with the Grammys or images of the video clip of the most acclaimed song by C. Tangana, Tú me dejaste de querer. "The Netflix series Sky Red bought us all the rooms on the central façade and, from inside, they projected messages and images to promote it. It was something that attracted a lot of attention," says Baselga. "We constantly receive proposals. We are being tested for a Hollywood movie and we have also hosted a Bollywood. This was not something we didn't plan when we opened, but it has become a plus," he adds.
Valeria's actresses, on the terrace of the RIU. NETFLIX
The NH Collection Madrid Suecia Hotel has been the scene of more than 40 productions between 2019 and 2021, hosting films such as Parallel Mothers, by Pedro Almodóvar, and Way Down, by Jaume Balagueró, or chapters of the series The Ministry of Time, Midas' Favorites, or Valeria, which meant a total income of more than 600,000 euros and 1,800 hotel nights. according to data provided by the Madrid Film Office.
It is one of the hotels in Madrid that hosts the most productions, about two a month, and the trend, which in its case arrived before Covid, has not decreased. "As there are more and more series, the number of productions is increasing," says Isaac Forcada, commercial director of the establishment, who says that "La Casa Suecia -which houses, among other spaces on the ground floor of the hotel, the Hemingway Bar, where Penelope Cruz could be seen in Parallel Mothers- has a very classic design, and is very helpful when it comes to being able to set a series or a film that occurs at this time. "
Its rooms and rooms, in addition to serving as support for the hairstyle, makeup and clothing of the actors, has also hosted end-of-filming parties. The last one, that of The Snow Society, by Bayonne.
Also the Westin Palace, with a long history of filming, hosted 36 between 2020 and 2021, including fiction projects, video clips or advertising spots, with an estimated turnover of 225,000 euros in rental of spaces and services. And the Hotel Spa URSO Madrid, which has recently been the scene of You can not hide, Parallel Mothers and the second season of La Unidad, hosted between 2019 and 2021 about 300 people linked to projects filmed in the city that meant to the accounts a benefit of about 800,000 euros, plus another 40,000 in rental of spaces, indicate from the Madrid Film Office.
Antonio Resines at the Intercontinental Hotel, in 'We are sorry for the inconvenience'. MOVISTAR +
The Hilton Madrid Airport Hotel also hosted five productions in 2019 and two in 2021, with revenues of 75,000 euros. The series Perdida, White Lines, Desaparecidos or Miguel Bosé's documentary have been filmed there. And the list goes on. The Intercontinental Hotel has hosted Arde Madrid, with great international projection, We feel the inconvenience or La Unidad. The Hotel Santo Domingo, the Veneno series. The Bless Hotel, The Crystal Girls, Stories to Not Sleep or the docu-reality I am Georgina. The main hotel, Valeria. The Hyatt Centric Gran Vía, The Return of the Spy...
Although the trend of filming is upward in hotels, there are some exceptions. The VP Plaza España Design, which in the lower times of tourism hosted the series Valeria, the video clip of Carlos Rivera in addition to several ads, now barely opens its doors to audiovisual productions due to its high occupancies and the high price of its rooms. "It does not compensate us because in our case there has not been an economic benefit. We have made transfers in exchange for brand image, "says its general director, Javier Pérez.
The truth is that Madrid, with its wide range of hotels – it has more than 74,000 beds among its 295 hotels between one and five stars, the largest offer in Spain – is an attraction for filming. Views, luxury, terraces and spaces that can be set or transformed is what producers demand the most, renting both five-star hotels and hostels for the filming of large productions.
All hotels in Madrid are of interest. They are a resource that we always use, "says the CEO of Fresco Films -a company that supports the producers-, who ensures that sometimes it is essential that the shootings move to the capital to shoot certain scenes: "You can not falsify a five star".
Actress Claudia Salas, from Elite, on the terrace of the Riu.NETFLIX
In all this business, advertising also occupies an important place. The report on the Economic Impact of Advertising Film Production in the Community of Madrid, published by the Association of Advertising Film Producers (APCP) in February 2021, maintains that during 2019 the 54 producers consulted invested more than 74 million euros in Madrid on the occasion of their shootings, with 8% destined to hospitality and 5.4% to accommodation, To which is added 8.4% destined to locations, among which hotels occupy a prominent position.
In order for this audiovisual trend to continue to rise, the Delegate Area of Tourism of the City Council, through the Madrid Film Office, signed last year in Fitur a collaboration agreement with the Hotel Business Association of Madrid (AEHM) that enhances synergies between both sectors and promotes the promotion of Madrid worldwide as an ideal place for audiovisual production, In addition to valuing hotels as one of the attractions for tourism.
An agreement that has already begun to bear fruit. "It is something very positive for the sector and for Madrid as a destination", point out from the AEHM, which is responsible for putting producers in contact with hotels that fit their needs, historical, contemporary ... "This trend that started in the pandemic has been consolidated and, above all, there has been an awareness on the part of hotels, which have seen it as other income. Now they understand each other better," the same sources add.
A PROMOTION WINDOW
"It is interesting to transfer to the industry that comes to Madrid to shoot that we have an agreement and that if they need a hotel of certain characteristics to shoot or to accommodate the team at the best price, they can reach the entire offer with a single contact," says the director of Madrid Film Office, Raúl Torquemada, who assures that the idea is to extend this to the hospitality industry. "The shootings are a promotional window to raise awareness of the city. If we know New York, it's because of the number of films we've seen," he says about the economic impact it can have on the entire city.
For Almudena Maíllo, the Councilor for Tourism of the City of Madrid -on which Madrid Film Office depends-, agreements like this are "an important way of working to boost the Madrid audiovisual sector, generating direct and indirect economic impact for the city and promoting, with the production of any audiovisual project, the city of Madrid through the different national and international broadcast windows".
The hotel sector "not only welcomes audiovisual projects at the time of their shooting, but also benefits along with the rest of the city from screen tourism generated later by the appearance of Madrid and its spaces in films and series of international projection," adds the councilor.
The city has positioned itself as the fourth best urban destination in the world, climbing nine positions in the last two years, "a privileged place", according to Maíllo, "in which it stands out as an ideal city to tell great stories, an ideal production center for international platforms and television networks".
The Community of Madrid is the main set of cinema, series and advertising in Spain. In the region, in 2022, some 950 productions were shot. The figure, which has grown more than 5% compared to the previous year, has been increasing for three consecutive years, driven precisely by the 'boom' of the series, which have risen more than 55%, according to data from Film Madrid, the Filming Promotion Office of the Community of Madrid. The collaboration of the 61 municipalities where there have been productions has been fundamental in the scope of these numbers, point out from the regional government.
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