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: The Greening of Your Bottom Line

There are strong moral and ethical reasons why a hotel should incorporate eco-friendly practices into their business but it is also becoming abundantly clear that “going green” can dramatically improve a hotel's bottom line. When energy-saving measures are introduced - fluorescent bulbs, ceiling fans, linen cards, lights out cards, motion sensors for all public spaces, and energy management systems - energy bills are substantially reduced. When water-saving equipment is introduced - low-flow showerheads, low-flow toilets, waterless urinals, and serving water only on request in restaurants - water bills are also considerably reduced. Waste hauling is another major expense which can be lowered through recycling efforts and by avoiding wastefully-packaged products. Vendors can be asked to deliver products in minimal wrapping, and to deliver products one day, and pick up the packaging materials the next day - generating substantial savings. In addition, renewable sources of energy (solar, geothermal, wind, etc.) have substantially improved the economics of using alternative energies at the property level. There are other compelling reasons to initiate sustainability practices in their operation. Being green means guests and staff are healthier, which can lead to an increase in staff retention, as well as increased business from health conscious guests. Also, sooner or later, all properties will be sold, and green hotels will command a higher price due to its energy efficiencies. Finally, some hotels qualify for tax credits, subsidies and rebates from local, regional and federal governments for the eco-friendly investments they've made in their hotels. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document how some hotels are integrating sustainable practices into their operations and how their hotels are benefiting from them.