Adaptive Re-Use of Existing Facilities: Instant, Authentic Architectural Character

By Ken Martin Hospitality Expert, DLR Group | November 20, 2016

Hotels have long been a piece of the urban fabric, but more often than not they keep to themselves, so to speak, through both design and programming. Aware of the locals, but inward-looking and more focused on the happiness of their guests; in the city, but not really of it. And that’s been a function of the industry’s decades-long branding and business model: Provide guests comfort through universal similarity no matter the location, from architecture to furniture to amenities.

Yet travelers are in search of unique and authentic experiences, moments rooted in the essence of wherever it is they’re visiting. And hotel operators are learning that this desire doesn’t stop at their revolving front door, that their guests respond strongly and positively to properties that absorb, understand, and reflect the local culture. As a result, hotels are learning how to be better neighbors when they move in.

And increasingly, what they’re moving into is an existing building. As the hotel industry evolves to succeed in a shifting marketplace, adaptive reuse is becoming a key piece of many brands’ strategies. Instead of erecting a cookie-cutter design on empty space or tearing down what already exists, hotel brands are infusing older spaces with new life and joining communities in a way they haven’t previously.

Could adaptive reuse be an opportunity for your company? Here are a few things you should think about.

The Benefits

For a hotel operator, the two best aspects about adaptive reuse are things that can’t be duplicated or matched: instant, authentic architectural character and that abiding real estate mantra: location, location, location.

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Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.