Hotel Design: Creating an Individual and Unique Experience

By Tammy S. Miller President, Alternate Resources | October 29, 2017

There is a generation of young people that have redefined travel for all of us. Actually, they have redefined many things for all of us! The advent of social media platforms and the influx of visually stimulating photos posted everywhere have enabled people to open their minds to new ideas. Where the unknown used to be scary, there is very little unknown these days because you can tap into new experiences from friends and strangers gaining comfort in your interests. You can follow innovators and be exposed to what others are seeing and what they are experiencing and put those ideas on your bucket list.

The millennials may have led the charge, but the Baby Boomers and even the healthy elders are getting on the band wagon. People won’t settle for the mundane any more, not in technology, not in work environments and not in their travel experiences. Hotels large and small, independent and branded are being called to task to be original and if they don’t respond they will fail.

Personally, I have raised three boys who are now in their 20’s and two of them have studied abroad for a semester and the third is about to choose his abroad destination. They seek “once in a lifetime” experiences and can often accomplish them on a shoe string financially. At the end of their fingers sits a full blown computer, masked as a cellular device that they can instantaneously access real time data and fuel their ideas. They seek unique and authentic experiences in hotels, food, tourism and culture.

What might have been out of my comfort zone being born into the Baby Boomer generation has become what I seek because I watch how easy it is to do. My parents born 25+ years before me were being pulled along initially and now are looking at their own trips in a different light. The hospitality industry is being tasked with more creativity and innovation in designing hotel space with the local culture in mind and bringing forth new ideas for how to attract and retain a client base.

Vacation travel was once a luxury available only to the wealthy but now it is much more affordable because Hoteliers are targeting all levels of “stars and diamonds” and striving for authentic and meaningful. The goal is to create fulfillment and offer an interactive approach to planning what a visitor wants from their experience. Social media makes these experiences visually available for many to share in the moment and gets recorded for others to call on when seeking a new experience. Photos posted on line by travel, hotel and food followers inundate the senses and expand the desire for new experiences truly defined however you want them to be.

The focus of hotel design regardless of the type of experiences your guests are seeking tasks professionals to offer ideas and solutions that are authentic, immersive and interactive. If the design doesn’t mirror the experience the customer wants, regardless of age, they walk away disappointed. So how do designers achieve this? We do our homework and we challenge our inner creativity, training, knowledge and expertise to do our best work for each client.

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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.