The Evolution of the Luxury Guestroom

Less is… More Just Fine

By Michael R. Paneri Senior Vice President, Hotel Development, Viceroy Hotel Group | June 23, 2013

With the economic challenges faced by the hospitality industry over the past several years and the need to maximize the value of real estate with limited investment dollars, smaller, more efficiently conceived, and technologically advanced guestrooms have emerged.

The sociological shifts in guest expectations along with generational demographic desires have altered what constitutes and defines “luxury”. Great design is still appreciated by the discerning and experienced global traveler, whether visiting for business or pleasure. The innovative way the room is organized and detailed, the features and amenities that are seamlessly incorporated, the distinctive and timeless design style that the room exudes are thoughtfully appreciated by the “new luxury” guest.

Technology has played an integral part in this evolutionary progression. Whether a result of advances in flat panel TV’s, high-speed Internet and wireless technologies, the “content” cloud, or the latest entertainment solutions - each has altered the guest’s experience, expectations and the physical requirements for the hotel guestroom.

While the size of the bed or the need for a comfortable lounge chair hasn’t changed much (let’s face it, some things just are never going to change!) other innovations and the thoughtful reassessment of basic functional design elements has led to this “new luxury” standard.

The almost universal movement toward “green”, environmentally thoughtful buildings has further played a role in rethinking what is absolutely necessary and the days of “bigger-is-better” are a thing of the past. LEED certification is almost universally accepted as the new standard for design and international local interpretations of LEED are being implemented as well.

The Evolution of the Guest

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Human Resources: Value Creation

Businesses must evolve to stay competitive and this is also true of employment positions within those organizations. In the hotel industry, for example, the role that HR professionals perform continues to broaden and expand. Today, they are generally responsible for five key areas - government compliance; payroll and benefits; employee acquisition and retention; training and development; and organizational structure and culture. In this enlarged capacity, HR professionals are no longer seen as part of an administrative cost center, but rather as a member of the leadership team that creates strategic value within their organization. HR professionals help to define company policies and plans; enact and enforce systems of accountability; and utilize definable metrics to measure and justify outcomes. Of course, there are always new issues for HR professionals to address. Though seemingly safe for the moment, will the Affordable Care Act ultimately be repealed and replaced and, if so, what will the ramifications be? There are issues pertaining to Millennials in the workforce and women in leadership roles, as well as determining the appropriate use of social media within the organization. There are new onboarding processes and e-learning training platforms to evaluate, in addition to keeping abreast of political issues like the minimum wage hike movement, or the re-evaluation of overtime rules. Finally, there are genuine immigration and deportation issues that affect HR professionals, especially if they are located in Dreamer Cities, or employ a workforce that could be adversely impacted by federal government policies. The March Hotel Business Review will take a look at some of the issues, strategies and techniques that HR professionals are employing to create and sustain value in their organization.