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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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.