Architecture & Design: Authentic, Interactive and Immersive

If there is one dominant trend in the field of hotel architecture and design, it's that travelers are demanding authentic, immersive and interactive experiences. This is especially true for Millennials but Baby Boomers are seeking out meaningful experiences as well. As a result, the development of immersive travel experiences - winery resorts, culinary resorts, resorts geared toward specific sports enthusiasts - will continue to expand. Another kind of immersive experience is an urban resort - one that provides all the elements you'd expect in a luxury resort, but urbanized. The urban resort hotel is designed as a staging area where the city itself provides all the amenities, and the hotel functions as a kind of sophisticated concierge service. Another trend is a re-thinking of the hotel lobby, which has evolved into an active social hub with flexible spaces for work and play, featuring cafe?s, bars, libraries, computer stations, game rooms, and more. The goal is to make this area as interactive as possible and to bring people together, making the space less of a traditional hotel lobby and more of a contemporary gathering place. This emphasis on the lobby has also had an associated effect on the size of hotel rooms - they are getting smaller. Since most activities are designed to take place in the lobby, there is less time spent in rooms which justifies their smaller design. Finally, the wellness and ecology movements are also having a major impact on design. The industry is actively adopting standards so that new structures are not only environmentally sustainable, but also promote optimum health and well- being for the travelers who will inhabit them. These are a few of the current trends in the fields of hotel architecture and design that will be examined in the November issue of the Hotel Business Review.

Library Archives

Shane Weaver

Nobody would argue that technology has changed the way we work and entertain ourselves. In a broader scope, however, technology has changed the way we think. From a consumer engagement standpoint, the business community has been slower to recognize this on a grand scale, though in recent months there have been signs of catching up. Take retail, for example. Amazon and other online retailers have long been stealing market share from brick and mortar retailers. These businesses are fighting back by placing a stronger emphasis on the customer experience by embracing digital technologies, as well as immersive and interactive platforms. READ MORE

John Tess

Are there opportunities for new hotel development beyond breaking new ground particularly in central downtown areas? When looking to develop a new hotel, price and location are important factors typically considered. Ground up development, which generally occurs in outer urban or suburban locations, has the appeal of starting with a blank slate which is often but not always the most economical path. New development in these areas can come with a hefty price tag for the property it sits on if what you are looking for is even available. Some thoughts to consider. READ MORE

David C. Marr

Hotel lobbies hold the impressive task of shaping a guest's stay from the moment they walk through the door. Because of the importance of this space, lobbies have always been carefully planned and designed keeping guest preferences top of mind. Travelers' needs and habits have shifted dramatically in recent years, prompting a design evolution of the hotel lobby. Dave Marr, senior vice president and global head of full service brands at Hilton, explains four common themes shaping how the hospitality company designs, stages, and provides a new experience within its lobbies around the world. READ MORE

Joel Villalon

While riding in a glass-roofed train through the Sacred Valley in Peru on my way to Machu Picchu, two hours into the windy, ever-changing landscape, I saw three glass capsules attached near the side of a cliff about 400 feet above the tracks. As foreign as these futuristic objects were in architectural style to anything I had seen in Peru, was the aesthetic juxtaposition necessarily bad? With recent hospitality trends of becoming more closely connected with the surrounding culture and landscape, how closely should we try to recreate an ‘authentic' experience before the experience begins to feel false and trite? READ MORE

Michael Tall

An urban resort is a property that connects guests to the unique and vibrant elements within a city and outside the hotel. The hotel itself acts as a concierge service, forming a direct link between the local community and those guests who crave localized and authentic excursions. With no signs of slowing down, the urban resort trend is here to stay, and hoteliers can successfully capitalize on this growing segment by keeping the guest experience in mind. At its core, an urban resort is a respite from daily life, offering guests the freedom to choose between relaxed disconnection or active participation within the local community. READ MORE

Vince Stroop

In a time when experiences are moments-long and shared over Instagram by many users, it is hard to top the surprise factor when it comes to creating a new destination. Nor should we, as hotel designers, try. With the pace of changing trends that is being communicated to us by branding agencies, designing the next new thing can be tempting. But I am not sure that's what guests genuinely seek. And judging from the rise of Airbnb, I may be right on my guess that guests want memorable, meaningful experiences, not more selfies. READ MORE

Rob Uhrin

When you think of the word resort, what comes to mind? Upscale amenities such as white sandy beaches, luxury pools, first class dining and entertainment and the ultimate spa experience to name a few. The word “resort” probably does not conjure up images of urban cityscapes, or streets filled with busy pedestrians in business suits. There is a new class of resorts coming to the fore in the hospitality industry right now called urban resorts. This article will explore this new type of transformational city design and how to achieve it. READ MORE

Brian Obie

When people arrive at a hotel they have usually traveled a long distance. They are typically tired and stressed to some degree or another depending on how easy or difficult the journey. When they finally come into our driveway and understand this is where they should be - with the valet right there ready to greet them - they get the sense that they can finally relax. There's a huge sense of relief. They now can begin their business trip or holiday with the family knowing they will be rested and renewed. READ MORE

Alan Roberts

More than ever before, guests want and expect the design of a hotel to accurately reflect its location, regardless of whether they visit a property in an urban center, a historic neighborhood or a resort destination. They also seek this sense of place without wanting to sacrifice the level and consistency of service they've come to expect from a beloved hotel brand. A unique guest experience is now something expected not just desirable from any hotel wishing to compete in the world today. A hotel's distinctive design and execution goes a long way to attracting todays discerning customer. READ MORE

Patrick Burke

For over 35 years, American architect Patrick Burke, AIA has led Michael Graves Architecture & Design to create unique hospitality experiences for hotel operators and travelers around the globe, in Asia, Europe, the U.S. and the Middle East. As the hospitality industry has shifted from making travelers feel at home while away to providing more dynamic experiences, boutique hotels have evolved to create hyper local, immersive environments. Having witnessed and contributed to the movement, Burke discusses the value of authentic character that draws on physical and social context to create experiences that cannot be had anywhere else in the world. READ MORE

Pat Miller

Even the most luxurious hotel has a finite budget when it comes to the design or re-design of hotel spaces. The best designers prioritize expenses that have the biggest impact on guest perceptions, while minimizing or eliminating those that don't. This story will focus on three blockbuster areas - the entry experience, the guest room, and the public spaces. This article will focus on these three key areas and shed light on how the decision making process and design choices made with care and attention can create memorable, luxe experiences without breaking the bank. READ MORE

Eric Rahe

The advent of social media brought with it an important shift in the hospitality industry. Any guest's experience might be amplified to thousands of potential customers, and you want to be sure that your hotel stands out for the right reasons. Furthermore, technology has increased competition. According to Euromonitor International, the travel industry will have the highest online payment percentage of any industry by 2020, often occurring through third-party sites that display your competitors alongside you. As a result, many hoteliers are looking to stand out by engaging customers and the experience has become more interactive than ever. READ MORE

Anthony DiGuiseppe

Architecture is the built environment that defines space and affects the way people live, whether you are a modernist or a traditionalist. Wellness is a state of health and mindfulness that not only brings each of us in tune with nature, both our bodies and minds but also gives us a spiritual attitude towards one another on a global basis. Is it possible to combine the two, Wellness and Architecture? There are many examples of how this attitude of wellness in building has started to take form. Let's take a look at how this movement is evolving and the opportunities it brings to the hotel industry. READ MORE

Eric Henry

There are many possibilities for adding interactive and conventional digital signage around hotel properties, and lots of examples in the marketplace of high impact, meaningful deployments. But there are also countless examples of hotels that have invested in display technology without having objectives defined, a strategy for execution, and an understanding of how success is measured and validated. I see hotels with screens and wonder why the operators bothered. But more often these days, I see smart operators using that technology to enhance the properties, and the experiences of their guests. In this article we'll take a look at some exciting new technologies available to hotels today. READ MORE

Ed Wilms

It might not always be easy to adapt a brand's standards to a downtown property, but no matter where one is designing, the main priority should always be helping clients identify their target audience and how to make their return on investments by creating the proper offerings for their location. Research is your friend here, which can come in the form of multiple charrettes with partner offices and the client or neighborhood residents. It will always lead to a deeper knowledge of the community you are entering and the ability to link the history of the site with the new property you present to it. READ MORE

Monika Moser

With new trends dominating upcoming hotel renovations and redefining brands, it is interesting to compare the point of view of designers and hoteliers. The importance of combining operational knowledge as soon as design work starts seems to be obvious, yet very few projects combine both backgrounds. Designers, for the most part, have ample experience in hotel design but none in operations, while hoteliers do not always embrace the full possibilities of good hotel design. We explore the importance of operations and design collaborating in the early stages of a renovation and examine some new trends from both a design and operations perspective. READ MORE

Coming up in August 2018...

Food & Beverage: Millennials Rule

The Millennial Generation has surpassed the Baby Boomers to become the largest living generation in America, and their tastes and preferences are being reflected in the Food & Beverage industry. In general, Millennials insist on more natural, healthier, less-processed food and beverage sources, and in part, this inspired the farm-to-table movement. However, now the trend is becoming even more pronounced and hyper-local. Millennials no longer simply want to know their food is farm-to-table, they want to know which farm, and where it's located relative to the community. As a result, hotel F&B directors are redesigning entire menus to feature area brewers, wineries, and family farms. Not only is this a proven way to satisfy Millennial tastes but it also opens the door for hotel guests to enjoy immersive experiences such as tours and excursions to local farms and breweries. Also, thanks in no small part to Millennials, coffee consumption is at an all-time high. In response, F&B directors are creating innovative ways to enhance the coffee experience for guests. Nitro-brewed coffee, cold brew, lattes on draft, and the introduction of unique milk options are part of this trend, as are locally sourced coffee beans where available. Millennial influences can also be found in the Craft and Artisan Cocktail movement where the same preferences for locally sourced and high-quality ingredients apply. One leading hotel even offers a drink menu featuring liquors infused with herbs recommended by experts for their health and well-being benefits. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will document the trends and challenges in the food and beverage sector, and report on what some leading hotels are doing to enhance this area of their business.