How hotels keep up with design trends, needs
 
How hotels keep up with design trends, needs
12 JULY 2017 7:31 AM

Hotel News Now reports on a wide range of design topics, from sustainable design practices to cost-effective renovation tips. Here’s a roundup of stories from the first half of 2017.

REPORT FROM THE U.S.—Exceptional design in hotels draws in its guests in several ways, from Instagrammable moments to seamless integration of technology, and travelers want it all. Here’s a look back at how some industry experts have achieved these trends.

Generation Z has a lot in common with millennials when it comes to what they want from a hotel experience. Sources said the two groups both look for authentic, personalized experiences that incorporates seamless design paired with other amenities. Kevin Tyjer, designer at Wilson Associates, said Gen Z guests are looking to personalize their stay through their own mobile devices.

“We’ve been told by brands not to do spaces that feel like an Apple store, but one that feels like a house, that feels residential but has that sort of Apple technology in there,” he said.

Many hotel guests are eager to post photos of their hotel stays to Instagram, but only if the vibe is right. Sources said getting that vibe right starts as soon as guests step foot on the property.

“You might want to highlight and give them something to remember as they’re walking down some corridor on the way to the ballroom or even some discoverable moment when you’re in the restroom stall,” said Meg Prendergast, principal at The Gettys Group.* “You never know … you really aren’t supposed to be able to figure out where … (guests) find those interesting moments.”

Creating comfortable, shared spaces through design and engagement gives families a casual area to gather, and hoteliers have seen that as an added benefit to their properties.

Anne Coffman, brand manager of Wildwood Lodge, suggests an open-lobby format that “fosters that sense of casual interaction” such as at the two Wildwood Lodge properties, which both “feature relaxed camp-style décor and a variety of board games for use.”

With the demand growing for all-inclusive resorts and authentic local experiences, owners and operators are bringing cultural elements into their design, food-and-beverage offerings and entertainment. Daron Andrus, associate principal and SVP at HKS Hospitality Group, said resorts previously focused more on the pools and beaches, but now that’s evolving.

“In recent years, it really has been more about trying to open these properties up and connect them with the surrounding lands and experience the communities as well,” Andrus said. “Each year, it seems that has been pushed further and further with each design.”

Millennials continue to inspire and be the driving force for hotel design trends, which include smaller guestrooms and larger common areas to accommodate their preferences.

“Small guestrooms offer opportunities to accommodate more travelers, the ability to build on what would typically be considered too small of a lot, more space for experiential common areas, restaurants and bars …,” writes Harry Wheeler, principal at Group One Partners. And designs in smaller spaces include furniture with USB ports for charging mobile devices, along with colors and accessories that make the space appear larger.

Many hoteliers see renovation projects as an opportunity to stay competitive and maximize return on investment in preparation for a downturn in the economic cycle. For them, it’s more important to be ready than to be perfect.

Bob Kraemer, co-founder and principal at Kraemer Design Group, said hoteliers should stretch their money instead of spending it all in one area to making that space perfect, while leaving the rest feeling unfinished. “We can do a lot of refresh with lower cost materials rather than, say, switching out granite,” he said. “Paint is cheap. Fabrics are fashionable. If a lounge piece looks dated and dirty in a room, replace it. A dresser can be worn out, so we figure out how we can accessorize the room.”

With more and more hotels striving to be eco-friendly, sustainability practices have become a crucial consideration —from the development phase to the interior-design phase—for hotel designers. Eddie Abeyta, principal at HKS Architects, said design materials should be chosen not only for their visual appeal, but also for how they contribute to the guests’ well-being.

“We … strive to design environments that perform well from the human perspective in terms of enhancing the health and wellness of hotel guests,” he said.

*Correction, 17 July 2017: A previous version of this story had an incorrect spelling of The Gettys Group. 

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