November FOCUS: Architecture & Design

November, 2019

Architecture & Design: Biophilic Design

The hospitality industry is constantly evolving to meet and exceed guest expectations. As a result, hotels are always on the lookout for new ways to improve the guest experience, and architecture and design is an essential part of this equation. Bold design is often the most effective way to make an exceptional first impression - an impression guests use to distinguish between brands. One design trend that is being embraced worldwide has become known as “Biophilic Design.” Biophilic design is based on the concept of biophilia, which is the theory that human beings have an innate tendency to seek out nature, natural elements, and natural forms. Biophilic design is more than hotels simply adding a surplus of plants; it involves incorporating specific design elements into a hotel in order to imbue it with a sense of wellness and well-being. Some of those elements include exposure to natural lighting; views of nature and rooms with a view; natural architectural patterns; salvaged or reclaimed woods of all types; reclaimed metals; sustainably sourced stone; living green walls and vertical gardens; and direct and indirect exposure to nature. Hotels that have incorporated biophilic design into their properties are reaping the benefits associated with this trend including reduced stress responses, better air quality, lower energy costs, and more positive guest reviews. Biophilic design has also been shown to improve guest moods and to satisfy consumer demand for environmental responsibility. Savvy hotel owners and managers are aware that nature-inspired elements enhance their guests' comfort and well-being, which is why this trend is becoming so prevalent. Biophilic design is just one topic in the fields of hotel architecture and design that will be examined in the November issue of the Hotel Business Review.

This month's feature articles...

Isaac-Daniel Astrachan

Modular construction is a hot topic in the construction industry and in particular for hospitality projects. Hotels, given their often-repetitive nature, are ideal for modular construction. The citizenM New York Bowery Hotel which opened a few months ago is a prime example. This new 19-story, 100,000 square foot building is located at 189 Bowery, in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. It consists of 300 guestrooms, double height lobby and lounge, as well as a rooftop lounge and outdoor deck with spectacular views of the city. The hotel won the 2019 World of Modular's First Place Award of Distinction and is the tallest modular hotel in the world. READ MORE

Matt Kavanagh

During the height of the "green design" craze, hotel RFPs fairly regularly required their buildings to receive some level of L.E.E.D. accreditation. As the general public became increasingly aware of the climate changes happening around them and their own carbon footprint, they started to consider how their own actions contributed to the environment they inhabited. Hotel owners quickly tried to capitalize on the growing market segment. New hotel brands, such as Element, were created specifically for the environmentally-conscious guest. After approximately 10 years or so, it seems like a reasonable time to step back and ask the question, was all the hype for "green design" worth it? READ MORE

Felicia Hyde

From self-driving cars to wearables and virtual reality, technology is infused into our everyday lives. Not only has it made our lives easier, but it has significantly shifted consumers' desire to an expectation for technological integration. Whether it's at the office, in an apartment community or their next hotel stay, consumers want the convenience and connection modern technology provides. This concept is already reshaping residential and multifamily communities nationwide and developers are integrating automations into their properties and design process that hoteliers may want to apply in order to curate a seamless and memorable guest experience. READ MORE

Clay Markham

From bespoke fashion to technology that adapts to individual biometrics to cars and homes designed to their owners' specific needs and wants, customization and personalization are synonymous with luxury and cutting-edge innovation. Increasingly, hotel brands and any company associated with travel are having to address this ever-growing trend. CallisonRTKL's Hospitality Sector Leader Clay Markham weighs in on the trend for customizable travel, how it works from a design perspective, what technology makes it all work, and what kind of personnel and skills the hotel of the future will need to succeed. READ MORE

John Tess

From their inception, historic hotels have played a defining role in uplifting a community. Beyond economic generators, they also serve as landmarks and as an expression of a community's larger sense of being. Despite the real estate market waning in some sectors, the hotel real estate market continues to thrive and grow. This continued growth has typically relied on historic preservation incentives and association with national hotel brands. This article talks about the evolution of the historic role of hotels in community revitalization and the ingredients of success. READ MORE

Christian Gonzalez

It wasn't that long ago that sustainability and luxury in hospitality seemed to be wildly at odds. While an eco-friendly consciousness was rapidly rising in our industry, it began with back-of-house changes that were aimed at efficiency and carefully made so as not to diminish the guest experience. But, a veritable green revolution has grown since those early days, and today being a leader in sustainable luxury isn't an oxymoron it's a commitment that we at Rosewood Mayakoba take to heart in everything we do. READ MORE

Joshua Zinder

Amenities continue to be a major focus as millennials and post-millennials become an increasingly economically influential demographic. To engender brand loyalty and social media buzz, developers and owners should make investments in design that create authentic experiences and socially activated spaces. Layouts and features that encourage social interaction among guests foster a sense of engagement and community, while the inclusion of biophilic design elements enhance the feeling of a restorative, relaxing and healthy stay. Design can also produce places and features that guests will immediately capture and share on social media – "Instagramable" moments that generate social media "word of mouth." READ MORE

Brian  Murch

A culture of curiosity and thoughtful hospitality design has driven us as designers and creatives to constantly explore the guest journey and the creation of meaningful experiences. Today's tech-driven fast-paced world amplifies the need to take a step back and reconnect with our natural surroundings. Re-imagining spaces that utilize natural and organic design elements offers a moment of pause and contrast to the rich urbanistic surroundings of which we are accustomed. Nature-inspired design infusion creates balance and fulfills our inherent need to reconnect with nature and the outdoors; in the design world, this increasingly utilized approach is known as "biophilic design" and is adding another dimension to how we curate the hospitality guest experience. READ MORE

Hunter Clayton

When it comes to hospitality design experiences, we know that the best hotels support the business traveler, the leisure traveler, and the growing blur between them. The business traveler, specifically, is the most active and engaged guest when it comes to hotel amenities and usage. This is largely due to the fact that they are often spending the bulk of their time in hotel meeting spaces, business centers and conference rooms. So what can be done to make these typically enclosed spaces a source of task, social, entertainment, discovery and aspiration? The answer is likely beyond the walls. READ MORE

Mary Alice Palmer

As global discussions around climate change become more prevalent, so do conversations around human connection to nature. Incorporating nature and its elements by way of biophilic design is occurring everywhere – throughout our cities, workplaces, hospitals, academic institution and more. Exploring where the hospitality industry fits into these discussions is not only timely, but extremely relevant for hotel operators. Through their decades of industry knowledge and research, HKS Principals Mary Alice Palmer and Sergio Saenz, will discuss how biophilia can influence the psychographics of the guest, transform their hotel experience and guide them to making better decisions for the natural environment. READ MORE

Amanda Hertzler

Hotel owners and operators, exploring newer and better ways to improve guest experiences and profitability, are turning to an exciting new design approach, Biophilic Design. Based on the idea that humans crave connections with nature, biophilic hospitality design seeks to create hotel ecosystems that mimic the positive effects that nature has on humans. In nature-rich locations, biophilia harnesses the natural elements. In urban locations, however, where tech-centric lifestyles are common, architects and designers must harness both the natural elements and technology to create integrated and functional biophilic habitats that support the human desire to connect with the earth. In this article, MKDA Executive Managing Director Amanda Hertzler examines how to strike the perfect balance with technology in biophilic hotel design. READ MORE

Adrianne Korczynski

The wellness industry is projected to be worth nearly $919 billion by 2022, according to a 2018 report from the Global Wellness Institute. The travel and hospitality sectors are beginning to catch on to these trends consumers are craving. To keep up with competitors, it's critical for hoteliers to evolve their environments to accommodate well-being needs and wants. Being in tune with wellness trends and reflecting that in the environments where people sleep, eat, work, and lounge will keep guests coming back and create a special feeling of ultimate relaxation, reflection, and peacefulness. READ MORE

Patrick Burke

As the experience-based economy continues to drive hospitality business, there is a parallel and growing trend toward biophilia, people's innate connection with nature. For over 35 years, American architect Patrick Burke, AIA has led Michael Graves Architecture & Design to create unique hospitality experiences for hotel operators and travelers around the globe, in Asia, Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East. Citing expert knowledge in the field of biophilia, he discusses the many ways that hospitality design can respond to the natural world, incorporate natural features at every scale, and enhance the guest experience. READ MORE

Tammy S. Miller

How do hoteliers, real estate management companies, asset managers and the like attract the traveler and make their property unique, desirable and sought after? Hotels have been curating a guest experience for years and have discovered that a more personalized, interactive and authentic experience delights their guests. An important part of hotel design is creating a strong narrative for each hotel. What is the hotel's story? Designers should create a design story for each hotel touching on the history of the hotel, the surrounding neighborhood, the mission of the property, the dedication to its guests. This story leads to better understanding of the goals of each project and builds trust, comprehension, receptivity and more. READ MORE

Monika Moser

The term Biophilic design comes from the word biophilia, meaning "the love of life." First used by an American biologist named Edward O. Wilson decades ago, the phrase has just recently emerged as a popular subject of discussion in the hospitality design world. In our modern society, especially amongst those living in urban environments, we have witnessed an increasing demand to reconnect with nature to maintain health and well-being. While companies quickly embraced the idea of employee wellness in response, hotels have fallen behind in adopting biophilic design to improve guest satisfaction and operational revenue. READ MORE

Anna Kreyling

There's no doubt biophilic design is on the rise, and with good reason. With health and wellness top of mind for customers, and a proven link between biophilic design strategies and increased well-being, the implementation of such features can not only enhance guest experience but add tangible value to a hotel's bottom line. Yet popular design elements like green walls have a high initial cost and require continued maintenance, which can be a limitation. So how can hoteliers split the difference and get smarter about biophilic design? We'll share key considerations to successfully implement biophilia without busting the budget. READ MORE

Mark Ricketts

Identifying, recruiting, hiring and training new workers are expensive, time-consuming propositions for hospitality groups these days. As hoteliers work to find enough qualified workers, there is no one answer in understanding and appealing to the moving target of what motivates an ever-changing employment pool, including those who already work with an organization. What are we to do? This article considers some approaches to finding those workers we need to operate quality properties, care well for guests and develop meaningful, profitable organizations that are poised for growth in a highly competitive economy and industry. READ MORE

Bill Caswell

Timeshares and vacation clubs are working to determine what their next product sets should be in order to attract younger buyers. The industry as a whole has consistently increased its revenues over the past decade, but many believe this has been done on the backs of existing owners. There is still a generational disconnect between the product, the marketing and sales processes, and today's younger buyers. The problem for operators is that many are using decades-old acquisition and sales models to reach today's generation of buyers, who are less willing to make big financial or ownership commitments. READ MORE

Willem Niemeijer

Anurak Community Lodge in southern Thailand is winning plaudits for its ecological best practice efforts. Located adjacent to Thailand's Khao Sok National Park – home to a magnificent rainforest ecosystem older than the Amazon – the lodge takes an innovative yet practical approach to sustainable tourism. Its back-of-house operations are built on simple, but effective, recycle, reduce, reuse policies and procedures. The lodge has also cultivated strong community relations with its neighbors. Its latest initiative is its Rainforest Rising project to return a palm oil plantation on its grounds to native forest cover. READ MORE

Mostafa Sayyadi

Leadership has always been at the forefront management training. The four functions of management depict leadership as one of the four. The four that seemed to stand the test of time are controlling, leading, planning, and controlling. Leadership, being the core of management, has manifested itself into the forefront of many hotel executives. Leadership can help hotels to achieve a sustained change and eventually a higher degree of effectiveness. In the absence of effective leadership, hotels are not capable of effectively implementing changes at the competitive level. Hotel leadership is crucial to business success----both from a performance and management level. READ MORE

Dana Kravetz

Legislation is being passed worldwide that seeks to protect consumer privacy; most notably, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Hoteliers, these laws may well apply to you, even if you don't have any properties located in the Golden State or EU. Long story short, for those in the hospitality space, If your bookings include CA or EU resident, you must be mindful of how guests' personal information and data are collected, processed, shared and retained, and poised to implement comprehensive data privacy programs at an organization-wide level to ensure legal compliance. As for the latter, if you haven't done so already, the time is now. READ MORE

Lisa Ross

User Generated Content (UGC) is a double-edged sword for every hotelier. It's invaluable as far as it delivering positive, authentic guest testaments to future hotel guests. However, it can also elevate a hotel's pain points into the public domain. As hoteliers focus on the balancing act of leveraging guest accolades and damage control, it's easy to lose sight of the impact that UGC ultimately has on room revenues, as well as the potential ways in which hoteliers could be maximizing UGC to further enrich the guest experience and better the property's exposure among potential new guests. READ MORE

Mark Heymann

It's no secret that engaged employees work more efficiently, improving a hotel's bottom-line results. But they also bring a level of commitment and passion to their work that enhances the level of service, increasing guests' satisfaction and, in turn, their intent to return and recommend. This article explores the factors that impact employee engagement and the role that engagement plays in optimizing a hotel's workforce, ultimately driving top-line revenue. READ MORE

Steven Ferry

A bold and perhaps perplexing question, but the unfortunate reality is that almost all third-party Quality Assurance audits are designed either to increase membership in a club that guests used to use as a barometer of whether or not a hotel or resort would be good (where mostly today they make these decisions based on social media/OTAs); or to be included in a magazine that some guests refer to for the same reason. The goal of those participating does not necessarily add up to improved service and guest experience-more to influencing guest perception and awareness of the property and so strengthening sales. READ MORE

Paul van Meerendonk

For the hospitality and travel industry, giving the customer the ability to personalize their experience, and thusly pay the right price for that experience, is all the rage. Airlines, restaurants, and even some resorts have pioneered new ways to give the people precisely what they want, but for the standard hotel operation, it's not proven to be so simple. In this article, we'll take a look at some of the hurdles hoteliers face when it comes to instituting customer-choice pricing into their sales processes, and we'll take the pulse of personalization in the industry and the evolving guest expectations driving this shift. READ MORE

Katharine Le Quesne

Developing next generation destinations is a hot topic. We are travelling overseas more than ever before, looking for great places – new or old – to visit, stay, eat, enjoy, work and entertain. However, with issues of environmental degradation, overtourism and waste management in the spotlight, it is imperative to develop destinations in ways that regenerate, protect and nurture the very things that attract tourism. Today, a successful destination development framework secures buy-in from investors, masterplanners, governments and visitors. It should also be sustainable. So, who are the visionaries out there and what are they doing? READ MORE

Nancy Brown

Hotels are a 365 day a year, 24 hour a day enterprise. This business model provides a number of challenges, including how best to provide for guests needs while balancing costs when considering overnight shift capacities. This final instalment of the four part series unfolding disaster resilience in the hotel sector provides lessons learned by Wellington New Zealand hotels following a midnight earthquake in Kaikõura New Zealand. Hotel staff rose to the opportunity to provide guest service when faced with this significant disruption. Hotel leaders and staff learned a number of lessons and provide a few clear ideas that hotel everywhere can adopt to improve their resilience. READ MORE

Rick Garlick

Over the past decade, most assessments of guest satisfaction show guest experience scores generally increasing year after year. As the competition becomes more crowded in the hotel space, it doesn't take long for competitors to start emulating one another, leaving industry leaders to think about their next enhancement to make the guest experience even better. Making the right decisions regarding upgrades and investments becomes critical in the evolution of hotel brand standards – but what's the best approach? This article will cover how to develop a strategy to measure the ROI of service, product, and amenity upgrades while maintaining brand integrity. READ MORE

Derrick Garrett

New technology is providing a path forward in the pursuit to contextualize the actions of your customers. Eventually, the result will lead to a more accurate representation of their emotions. Quantifying these emotions in a predictable and repeatable fashion paves the way not only to consistent business, but to continuous upselling as well. Fortunately, technology has ceased to be maligned as an unnecessary expense. Not only is advanced technology required now, but it's transforming from an uncomfortable cost to a shrewd investment with quantifiable returns. READ MORE

Michael Hess

We live in a digital era fueled by connected devices and experiences. The Internet of Things (IoT) has completely transformed the way we live, work and play. This very concept funnels directly into the waste management industry. Enter the "internet of trash," where technology is designed to help you solve your waste and recycling challenges while making your program more efficient and sustainable for the long term. New innovations can help you keep your hotel waste program in tip-top shape and positively impact your bottom line. READ MORE

Gino  Engels

As the hospitality industry continues to grow and change, traditional strategies are being tested and it can be daunting for revenue managers to know how to adjust. This article features insights from industry experts on distribution, direct bookings and rate parity. Our experts share some of their challenges and approaches to revenue managing whilst aiming for a seamless customer experience. We also look at some key trends, including harnessing customer data, the upturn of direct booking, and new developments from hotels in order to keep up with market changes. READ MORE

James Houran

Human Resource Executives in the Lodging and Restaurant Sectors utilize systematic tracking mechanisms in order to "categorize" and monitor associates and key talent. Some tools work readily smoothly but depending upon the size and scale of the organization, these KPI tools may need modifications in order to result in the better information, useful for the continued training and success of employees. The "Four-Box Grid" offers the advantage of easy tailoring to the success metrics of a specific team, department, market, or organization. And, if anchored to specific metrics, it can facilitate discussions and decisions related to development and succession planning. READ MORE

Coming up in September 2022...

Hotel Group Meetings: The Great Outdoors

There is some welcome good news in the Hotel Group Meetings sector. There seems to be a resurgence in activity - across all sectors and all sizes - from small board meetings to large in-person groups. However, hotels must remain flexible and proactive, as they seek to provide venues and programs that are productive, comfortable, and safe to all parties. One major development is the expansion of outdoor meeting activities. This trend not only serves to meet regulatory health standards, but it also promotes an environment of well-being. According to a recent study from, spending just 29 minutes outdoors can result in a 45% increase in productivity; and 63% of employees reportedly felt invigorated after being in fresh air. Combined with guided physical activities and healthy food and beverage offerings, a sense of wellness and productivity are established. The September Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to accommodate the revitalization of group meeting business in their operations.