Hoteliers need to recognize what is drawing guests—whether it’s a local beach or a rodeo—and adapt the property to match.
“Location, location, location” is the age-old refrain echoing around in anyone’s head when they’re determining where to buy real estate. But for hotel developers, once the land is purchased, the next phrase they should hear is “give the people what they want!”
So often a brand dictates the decor, room mix and amenities of what a hotel “should” look like, regardless of its location. A successful hotelier thinks outside the box, though. The developer and manager must take a common sense approach to create a functional and memorable stay so the property resonates with its guests.
The most obvious thing that impacts the mental and physical perception of a hotel is its decor. Aside from imbuing the guest with a sense of place, locally inspired decor sets the Courtyard by Marriott in Fort Worth, Texas, apart from the one in Pensacola, Florida, making it memorable in the mind of a business traveler who might have stayed in both properties over the course of the past month.
Given that our Courtyard by Marriott in Fort Worth is located in the heart of the Historic Stockyards District, which is famous for rodeo, we custom-designed the soon-to-open hotel to incorporate rope, metal, leather and wood in an effort to reflect the area’s “wild west” heritage.
For leisure-geared hotels near a beach, consider sea-inspired tones and added texture from driftwood. Near a theme park? Make sure the color scheme is fun but not noisy—that family-style suite has to serve as a restful oasis for mom and dad after a long day at the park!
While powerhouse brands bring a great reservation system, it’s still important to keep room mix in mind based on the market. Family or sports leisure markets need a higher percentage of double-bedded rooms or high maximum-occupancy rooms to accommodate larger groups. If little league tournaments are attractors to the area, rooms must be bigger to allow for supervision of the kids.
No matter who’s staying in it or where it’s located, a property must have a flexible meeting space. In fact, we look to incorporate one into every new build, particularly leading into the breakfast area. When opened up as an overflow area, the added space drastically improves the overall operation of the hotel for the staff while letting guests feel a little more at ease—not as though they’re fighting for a table in a food court.
On-site amenities must be highly market-driven, too. Many top brands are now allowing hotels to be developed without pools, which are historically ever-present amenities. This is the perfect space-saving solution for a hotel in the heart of a downtown, corporate business district where space is limited and every square foot means big dollars. After all, who’s to say the executive guests have time to squeeze in a few laps in the pool between business pitches and networking over drinks?
The brands’ most visually stimulating and cutting-edge amenities, design packages and other inclusions can help create a great hotel, but the key to creating the perfectly designed hotel is remembering why your guests are coming to the hotel in the first place. Design for the guests, design for the area, and you’ll have a property that surpasses expectations of travelers, owners and brands.
As SVP of Hospitality at LBA Hospitality, Farrah Adams provides strategic direction for many of LBA’s key functions including sales and marketing, revenue management, operations and human resources. Since she joined LBA in 1999, she has served in a variety of roles in the organization. Adams co-founded LBA’s Millennial Advisory Committee in 2016 and General Manager Advisory Committee in 2012. She currently serves on Marriott’s TownePlace Suites Franchise Advisory Committee and is a past member of Fairfield Inn & Suites’ Renovation Committee, Courtyard by Marriott’s Design and Construction Committee and Courtyard by Marriott’s Generation 6 Committee. She is a proud alumnus of Troy University.
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