The Benefits of Site Integration in Hotel Design

By Cristine Henderson Associate, Hoefer Wysocki | October 21, 2018

One of the first considerations for architects when designing a hotel is effective site integration to ensure its success, not only as a business, but within the community in which it exists. The most important considerations when applying site integration in a hotel's design are the building's overall visibility and accessibility, while also incorporating local inspiration and environmental influences in the design. A designer's skills, creativity and mindfulness produce opportunities to build hotel interiors and exteriors that reflect and make use of local surroundings, while deeply enhancing the overall guest experience.

Considering Visibility

Truly understanding how a hotel is situated on its site is a key factor to ensure any and all guests can easily locate and access the facility. Out-of-town guests will most likely be unfamiliar with the area, usually arriving at the hotel after a long day of travel. Therefore, a key consideration in determining a hotel's location is its visibility from the highway. This is not only helpful for passersby looking for a last-minute place to stay, but also for locals looking to book the hotel for special events or business conferences.

Hotel developers often strategically seek out popular locations nearest to local hubs of activity that are certain to attract visitors to the area. Related factors include availability of, and proximity to, dining options, recreational areas and entertainment amenities, as well as strong ties to surrounding neighborhoods. Fostering a connection between the hotel and its surrounding community creates positive experiences and will directly and favorably impact the overall guest experience. When the hotel is situated near amenities and enjoyable activities for its guests, brand loyalty is elevated and the likelihood of guests returning to the hotel in the future ultimately increases.

For instance, locating a hotel in an amenity-rich, affluent area creates not only brand alignment and loyalty as previously mentioned, but in some cases, has the ability to raise the status of the hotel. This could be the difference between a four-star and five-star rating, which for the builder, architect, and business owner, translates into a real value and return on investment. The same holds true for businesses that co-locate – those buildings that share a site but possess and retain their own identities. Easy access to amenities contributes to overall satisfaction with guests' hotel stay. A satisfied guest is more likely to return and to recommend the hotel to their friends, family and colleagues.

Accessibility for All Audiences

Element Hotel in Leawood, Kansas, designed by Hoefer Wysocki, integrates local Kansas limestone in its exterior.
Holiday Inn Express in Overland Park, Kansas, designed by Hoefer Wysocki, integrates the Bluhawk logo in its façade.
Holiday Inn Express in Overland Park, Kansas, designed by Hoefer Wysocki, is clearly visible from the nearby highway.
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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.