The Importance of Integrating Hospitality into Other Markets
By Roger G. Hill Chief Executive Officer & Chairman, The Gettys Group Inc. | August 21, 2011
There are countless ways to describe the meaning of hospitality – the very foundation of our industry. One definition is a cordial and generous reception of guests. Another, which has been turned into an emotion-evoking campaign by Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts states, "There's no greater act of hospitality than to embrace a stranger as one's own." For those of us within the hotel industry, the connotation of hospitality strikes a chord deep within that is actually quite simple: to treat our guests politely, provide aid when needed, and act with kindness. Wouldn't it be great if is this approach were applied to all sectors of the business world? As back to basics seems to currently be prevalent in our industry and societies the globe over, perhaps we ought to remember the Golden Rule: treat others how you wish to be treated. Who says it has to be just a part of hospitality as we know it?
When one considers taking the definition of hospitality and adding that to design as an approach for interior design, architecture and development, good things can happen. It is not just the ability to provide an aesthetic environment that appeals to visitors, quality products that stand the test of time, meeting furniture, fixtures and equipment ("FF&E") and construction budgets. Although all of these aspects are important, there is so much more that you cannot see. Hospitality design is about the feeling the spaces evoke, the emotionality the interiors create for the guests and the comfort level the surroundings provide. As Coco Chanel once said, "Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury." The unseen elements within these compositions and the vibes created within these spaces are the experiences your guests don't see, but they experience.
There are a myriad of genres within the hospitality industry: hotels, mixed-use buildings, vacation ownership, condo-hotels, restaurants and nightclubs are just some of the first that come to mind. If we are to take it a step further and open our minds to some of the aforementioned ideas, what other areas might provide a feeling of comfort you might be looking for when you embark on a holiday, for a night out on the town, or retirement?
For example, the face of senior and assisted living facilities is changing very quickly. With a large portion of the population reaching an age where they are looking at these facilities along with a heightened expectation for comfort, the design and functionality of these spaces are turning a corner and implementing many conveniences we would normally execute on a hospitality project. The feeling of home, the need for everyday life and warmth are factors where hospitality is becoming an integral part of this particular market.
When you consider healthcare facilities, we should not just allow for the environments in which the patients stay, but also account for the lodging facilities adjacent to the hospitals and healthcare centers for the patient's family. What better place than to feel you are at your home away from home? The trends are showing these spaces moving away from the typical sterile designs and towards an elevated level of sophistication and a warm space helping to evoke compassion and good feeling.
One of our most recent experiences as a firm includes a residential facility for the families of those ill. As discussed above, the design elements and thoughtfulness of these spaces are the main tenant for the design team. The goal of these spaces were to focus on the day-to-day physical and emotional needs of the guests, the low maintenance durability requirements of the staff and the evolving operational parameters of the program. All of these are critical aspects of hospitality thinking, and the collaborative design and review process between the designers and the ownership team were a necessity for the success of the subject property.