Hotels are Becoming Even More of a Home Away From Home

By Amy Locke Director, Interior Design, Hatchett Hospitality | August 27, 2010

Analyzing the Similarities Between Hospitality and Residential Design

Hospitality and residential design have been borrowing heavily from each other in recent years, but now the trend is becoming even stronger as travelers want a hotel room that's especially cozy, comfortable, and homey.

That's because with the economy limiting expense account spending, business travelers are spending more time in their hotel room and less time out entertaining - while leisure travelers want a hotel that offers a little fantasy, a little sense of adventure, and a whole lot of luxury.

As a result for example, seating in guest rooms is more plush and almost theatre style, enabling travelers to be more relaxed as they work on their laptop or text on their PAD.

Designing for hospitality is about providing guests with more than just a place to stay - it's about offering them an experience, emotionally and physically, that's beyond their daily lives.

One way for me as a designer to achieve this objective is to "package" the amenities guests enjoy at home and want on the road - such as flat screen TV's, comfortable bedding, plush bathrooms, iPod docking stations, and reliable internet service - in an environment that is cutting-edge, energized, and exotic, yet still useful and inviting.

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.