Hotel resorts can be designed to accommodate travelers who take vacations alone, and employees can help enhance the solo traveler experience by providing excellent service.
Those of us who have traveled for years as singles—not only for work but also for leisure—can share stories about being placed at a dining table near the kitchen or opting for roomservice, so as not to call attention to the fact that we were alone.
Particularly for women, historically there has been a stigma attached to something as simple as sitting at a bar alone. While business travel as a single person is often a necessity, single leisure travel is a choice. In years past, singles would often forgo a vacation rather than vacation alone. The good news is that our viewpoints are changing. Traveling as a single can, in fact, provide a more restful and refreshing experience than traveling with others.
As cultural perceptions shift and more people are choosing to remain single or simply focus on enjoying some “me time,” the resort industry is responding by finding ways to make the single traveler feel as welcome and comfortable as a couple or group. While all leisure travelers share the same basic desires, for the single traveler there is often a heightened sensitivity to concerns about safety and security, service and options for social activity.
Safety and security improvements are an ongoing commitment throughout the industry and might be the prime concern for the single traveler. To provide a safe environment for guests, the resort operations must be in partnership with the resort design. From the operations perspective, particularly with foreign travel, providing an immediate sense of safety can begin with escorted airport pickup arranged by the resort. Resorts can arrange for friendly greeters to meet you upon deplaning and guide you through the immigration process and on to your private transportation.
From the design perspective, discreetly designed and strategically placed security cameras monitor public areas without intrusion to the guest. The day of uniformed security guards has transformed to plain-clothed security officials who are often visible opening doors and welcoming guests or unobtrusively monitoring resort perimeters. Great photosensitive lighting throughout both interior and exterior spaces provide convenience and safety. Keycard access to elevators and room entry tied to personal devices all provide a heightened sense of security for singles and groups alike.
Recent decor design trends have also greatly enhanced the experience of the single traveler. Lobby and lounge spaces have evolved almost universally to become hubs of activity. Food-and-beverage spaces are often integrated in public lobby or lounge spaces, and offer a comfortable place to dine alone or enjoy a media event in an active environment. These multifunctional gathering spaces offer the single traveler the choice to sit alone and enjoy observing the active environment or to join others at communal areas to meet, dine and share conversation. Some operators host complimentary wine tastings in the evening hours, which encourages interaction, or may host popcorn and movie nights by the pool. Offering choices to the single guest to control their personal experience is key.
Resorts have long embraced the lifestyle and fitness needs of their guests. Going to a spa for quiet pampering or for a workout at the fitness center has always been a comfortable alternative for the single traveler. The difference today is that beyond the individual spa experience, resorts offer more and more alternatives for singles to partake in group activities with people who share common interests. From ziplining to rock climbing, biking to yoga and nutrition classes, there are resorts geared for every interest and economic level. Singles are as welcome as groups and it is often a wonderful way to meet people who enjoy the same things.
The greatest positive impact on the single traveler is how he or she is treated by the resort staff. Resort employees play an important role in guest satisfaction, from the quality of the rooms guests are assigned to the level of help and service they receive throughout their stay. People give off signals and it is important that staff is trained to recognize when guests may want to be alone and when they wish to engage.
Kathryn Mickel is a Principal with BBGM, and Founding Principal of the award winning MONOGRAM Hospitality Interiors. In addition to supervising all hospitality interiors efforts in the Scottsdale and Washington D.C. offices, she coordinates design efforts globally with BBGM colleagues. Informed by the ideals of hospitality environments, Kathryn also engages with teams in residential and commercial markets with the goal of incorporating hospitality thinking into users’ day-to-day experiences. Kathryn provides oversight and mentorship for project teams from concept through completion. Her positive attitude, approachability and team-oriented outlook are hallmarks of her leadership style and interactions with clients and industry partners. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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