The Influence of Theme Park Design on Hospitality

By Scott Acton CEO & Founder, Forte Specialty Contractors | November 19, 2017

With an influx of recent theme park revamps like Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy at Disney's California Adventure, Justice League's Battle for Metropolis at Six Flags and many more on the horizon such as Star Wars Land (Disneyland), and Nintendo World or Fast & The Furious (Universal), it's no surprise that theme park designers know what it takes to thrill the general public and play to their fascination with being fascinated.

Theme park designers have known, and implemented for decades, a common strategy to keep the public engaged: this strategy is multi-sensory and experiential design. As a result, there is no better time than the present for us to look at how multi-sensory and experiential design is impacting the hospitality industry and influencing consumer's purchasing decisions. With an ever-increasing craving for experience, it is critical for the hospitality industry to think, build and design with the overall experience in mind.

One of the largest consumer segments driven by experience is the millennial generation -- they are driving what's hot and seeking experiences to define them. Millennials now make up the largest generation in American history, comprising over one fourth of the U.S. population. According to a J. Walter Thompson Intelligence Study, 56 percent of millennials define themselves by their experiences more than other qualities, and 78 percent of them choose to spend money on a desirable experience over buying something tangible.

Forte Specialty Contractors has been at the forefront of multi-sensory and experiential-oriented design through our work in hospitality, restaurant, retail and the nightlife segments. We have quickly learned that a holistic approach - one that goes far beyond the visual design - is critical. This is as simple as understanding the emotion a space evokes based on the acoustics in a room, the feel of a finish, the temperature of the room, the visual clarity of an object. All of these elements factor into the overall guest experience, creating an environment that comes to life. The multi-sensory approach engages all five senses, triggers emotional memories and leaves a lasting impression.

So what key elements are theme parks using to attract and engage consumers that are now influencing hospitality design?

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.