Less is More: Streamlining Design

By David Ashen Principal and Founder, dash design | September 25, 2016

When designing today's hospitality venues, whether they're fully outfitted resorts, boutique hotels, or beach side bungalows, hoteliers are finding ways to streamline design and simplify the guest experience. Muted colors and minimal furnishings in combination with earthy textures, expansive views of the outdoors, fresh scents and liberal doses of natural light not only foster a sense of peace but also help today's travelers set aside everyday distractions for the serenity that simplified living provides. In this article, David Ashen, partner and founder of dash design, explores how today's hoteliers are making the most of the trend to simplify.

During a recent business trip to Curacao, I stayed in 10-room boutique hotel called BijBlauw.
The Dutch couple that owned the place, which included a wonderful restaurant, furnished it simply, but that's not to say it was meager. I stayed in the largest guest room; an elegantly serene suite that had a painted bed prepared with modest, yet beautiful linens. Above the bed, a section of driftwood was suspended. There were, perhaps one or two other pieces of furniture in the room along with a terrace that overlooked the impressive expanse of the Caribbean Sea's crystalline turquoise waters.

There were no hanging pictures or television sets in the room, but not because the hotel lacked the capacity for either-other rooms had both. But the owners had purposely left this room devoid of the distractions. After all, the view of the Caribbean was magnificent; a treat unrivaled by anything that a television or furnishing could provide. My focus shifted. The luxury of simplicity.

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Sutton Place Apartment by dash design

As a society, we process an incredible amount of information daily. The U.K.'s The Telegraph reported in 2011 that a study found that the amount of information that people are hit with every day could fill 174 newspapers. It's no wonder that a simpler approach to life has emerged as a growing trend.

Although lavishly appointed properties provide for virtually any need, modesty certainly has its place. How businesses and hospitality venues carve out their spaces and treat sensory conditions can leave their customers feeling overwhelmed and confused or relaxed and focused. And it's not just smaller operations that are taking note of those effects. Simplifying surroundings with a subtle approach is a universal way to instill a sense of calm.

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Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.