Personalized experiences, sustainable operations and catering to a mobile workforce are all on the list of needs for today’s hotel guest. With the proliferation of providers like Airbnb offering unique, and often cheaper, guest experiences hotel designers and operators must look towards innovative ideas that will draw guests and keep them coming back.
Sustainability is becoming top of mind for many travelers, as they are increasingly aware of their trip’s carbon footprint. Knowing a hotel has implemented resource-saving initiatives into its design, like energy management measures and use of local, sustainable materials, for example, can let guests know that some of their footprint has been offset. Sustainability measures can also mean engaging with the community and even assisting on a local level.
Hotels that incorporate biophilic design into their properties can also enhance the guest experience through the soothing properties of nature. Incorporating natural plant life into design, providing views of nature, or utilizing elements like natural lighting and increased air flow, can give even urbanized hotel environments a more natural look and feel. A study from Terrapin Bright Green indicates that 36 percent more hotel guests will spend time in a hotel lobby if it incorporates biophilic elements. The same study notes a boost for operator revenue as well, where guest rooms with views of nature can result in an increase of up to 18 percent of the average daily room rate.
Entrances as gathering spaces
It’s important for designers and operators like to note that the hotel’s entrance area often shapes the guest’s all-important first impression. Once-stale lobbies are now being redefined as gathering spaces, as their square footage increases in size. As David Black, Managing Director, Hotel Project and Development Services for JLL says for Hotel Online:
“The lobby is becoming a vibrant communal gathering area, where people can work, dine, eat and socialize,” says Black. “Some hotels are also using lobby design to create a gateway to the local community, carving out space for local art exhibits, performances and social gatherings that enable guests to easily connect with the neighborhood.”
Hotel design for the “bleisure” market
Today’s mobile workforce gives rise to the new “bleisure” travel market. Since technology now enables many hotel visitors to catch up on work from their vacation spot, hotel operators and designers are incorporating comfortable, flexible work areas into their amenity offerings.
Coworking spaces are becoming more prominent and can create opportunities for guest networking, engaging with the hotel, and even provide food and beverage revenue to the operator. Add in fitness options and offer perks like yoga classes, and hotel operators can even draw non-traveling local visitors looking for a unique place to work. Boring business centers are becoming things of the past.