Creating Memorable Spaces, Experiences to Attract More Travelers

By Felicia Hyde Design Director, Lifestyle Studio, H. Hendy Associates | September 16, 2018

Tourism and travel now accounts for more than one-tenth of the global GDP according to Deloitte's 2018 Travel and Hospitality Industry Outlook, with hotel industry growth projected at five to six percent this year. As a result, new trends are emerging, and consumer expectations are evolving, thereby driving hoteliers to adjust their design strategies to keep up with demand.

A trend that's shaking up the hospitality industry today is modern travelers' desire for memorable experiences through unique design elements, adaptable spaces and customized experiences – a concept that is already transforming residential and multifamily communities nationwide. Now, hoteliers must apply similar design strategies to separate themselves from their competition in an effort to attract more travelers.

First Impressions Count

When it comes to leasing apartments, making a great first impression is everything. Research indicates that when residents and guests enter a property, amenities are not likely the first thing they notice. Rather, it's the design. The guest experience starts even before they enter the door – and carries through from the parking lot to the leasing office to even the restroom.

Essentially, it's all about the details and the experience that the look and feel of the property evokes. The first impression is crucial for potential residents: it's what gives them a glimpse of the living experience a community could provide. The concept of providing guests with a memorable first impression not only applies to multifamily but is directly translatable to the hospitality industry, and it's a concept hoteliers should consider to attract more travelers. Here are some first impression design strategies used in multifamily properties that hoteliers can leverage:

1. Set the Stage

In the multifamily world, the initial experience for prospective residents begins the moment they approach the property. This means that anything guests see, and experience, should be designed to create instant attraction or drama. This includes the architecture, landscaping, set up of the parking lot and even the signage directing visitors to the leasing office. For example, we worked on a multifamily project where the marketing team designed and implemented catchy phrases in the visitor parking stalls and throughout the property leading guests to the leasing office – ultimately creating an inviting first impression for prospective residents. For hoteliers, consider adding an unexpected twist to set your property apart.

2. Create Surprises

The lobby and adjoining leasing office at Vantis, an apartment complex in Aliso Viejo, features a variety of seating options and a glass-enclosed business center outfitted with the technology to serves residents' co-working needs.
The lobby at Broadstone Cavora offers residents a surprising, yet contrasting experience from the traditional Spanish architecture outside to the majestic, bold and modern design elements inside.
To appeal to the eclectic and artistic community in North Hollywood, the walls of the common spaces at The Hesby are decorated with famous quotes and song lyrics.
To evoke emotion and create of unique sense of space, H. Hendy Associates implemented a custom, six-foot painting of the world-renowned Frida Kahlo in the lobby at Broadstone Cavora.
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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.