Architecture & Design: Expecting the Unexpected

There are more than 700,000 hotels and resorts worldwide and the hotel industry is continually looking for new ways to differentiate its properties. In some cases, hotels themselves have become travel destinations and guests have come to expect the unexpected - to experience the touches that make the property unlike any other place in the world. To achieve this, architects and designers are adopting a variety of strategies to meet the needs of every type of guest and to provide incomparable customer experiences. One such strategy is site-integration - the effort to skillfully marry a hotel to its immediate surroundings. The goal is to honor the cultural location of the property, and to integrate that into the hotel's design - both inside and out. Constructing low-impact structures that blend in with the environment and incorporating local natural elements into the design are essential to this endeavor. Similarly, there is an ongoing effort to blur the lines between interior and exterior spaces - to pull the outside in - to enable guests to connect with nature and enjoy beautiful, harmonious surroundings at all times. Another design trend is personalization - taking the opportunity to make every space within the hotel original and unique. The days of matching decor and furniture in every room are gone; instead, designers are utilizing unexpected textures, mix-and-match furniture, diverse wall treatments and tiles - all to create a more personalized and fresh experience for the guest. Finally, lobbies are continuing to evolve. They are being transformed from cold, impersonal, business-like spaces into warm, inviting, living room-like spaces, meant to provide comfort and to encourage social interaction. 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.

Trending articles this week...

Alexandra Glickman

"Experience" is the watchword for the Hospitality sector, but there is hidden exposure, both financial and physical in every operating property. As assets work to differentiate themselves by amenities, physical attributes and "one of a kind" offerings, there is the constant exposure to financial risk caused by natural and man-made physical damage to the asset as well as potential injury to guests and employees. This article identifies key issues in all of the phases of an assets operations: Development; Operational and Post-Loss Recovery. READ MORE

Eric Rahe

Just as multifamily developers aim to recreate the hotel experience, hoteliers are hoping to emulate the comforts of home. The two arenas feed into each other, spurring a friendly arms race that improves the experience of both. To compete with AirBnB and extended stay hotels for the coveted business guest, traditional hotels are taking a leaf out of the multifamily playbook. In this article, BLT Architects' Principal Eric Rahe explores how hoteliers are placing a tactful emphasis on the qualities that truly make us feel at home: personalization, continuity of routine, and a sense of belonging. READ MORE

Monika Moser

Why is the current trend to search for the unexpected? Isn't it a risk to take away the comfort zone for our clients? Does unexpected design really favor social interaction or is the hotel just a place to sleep? What is the impact of the social life in a city of new experiences for the client? More and more designers and hotel developers are asked to create the unexpected experience and ones that tell an exciting story. READ MORE

Randa Tukan

How can hotels design the unexpected and prepare for what lies ahead, anticipating guests' wants and needs? Are there properties or spaces that are more adept at delivering what will meet or exceed guests' expectations? Conversions are becoming increasingly popular as they not only bring a sense of exploration and discovery, but also a strong narrative. In addition to having a sense of place and history, conversions also enhance sustainability and are able to create a brand. This article will examine those design elements that help set the stage for delivering elusive and invaluable hotel "unexpected" experiences that are top-of-mind. READ MORE

Library Archives

Anna Kreyling

What's possible when hoteliers reframe their approach and role within a design initiative? Here's a story about a historic property and ownership group that recommitted itself to its city through an immersive reinvention for both the hotel and its operations model. The results: a 15% uptick in occupancy and a whopping 282% increase in revenues associated with its restaurant and catering. We'll explore a few staff-to-guest connection strategies that evolved from this simple and cost-effective mind shift. Why this matters? We're in a new age where great design alone isn't enough to woo consumers. READ MORE

Dirk Lohan

This article describes the redevelopment of historical buildings into new hotels. The design of hotels is especially suited to fit into older buildings which have lost their original purpose as the various functions of hotels are quite flexible and don't need to be the same all the time. The architect Dirk Lohan discusses the wonderful experiences travelers can have by staying at such hotels which have become quite ubiquitous. He features five unique historical hotels around the world and expresses the hope that this trend will continue to give the travelling public more choices for memorable experiences. READ MORE

Brian Murch

Today's travelers are looking for engaging guest experiences that offer an authentic connection to the local community. For many national brands, this means designing unique hotel environments that feel rooted in each location. From the food they serve, to the art they display, to the entertainment they provide, we take a look at how hotel flags are infusing local influences into their designs to create one-of-a-kind experiences deeply-rooted in a sense of place. READ MORE

Tammy S. Miller

Expecting the unexpected: With significant competition to attract travelers and their getaway dollars, hotels are working hard to become destinations and offer something authentic and original to their guests beckoning them to visit. One design strategy for enhancing the travelers experience is to look to nature and outside surroundings, integrating the locale and culture into the interiors of the hotel space. Combining nature with beauty, wellness, uniqueness and healthy food creates an opportunity for each property to be a sought after destination. There is an ongoing effort in hotel design to attract guests by pulling the outside in and creating harmony with the local environment. READ MORE

Coming up in December 2018...

Hotel Law: New Administration - New Policies

In a business as large as a hotel and in a field as broad as the law, there are innumerable legal issues which affect every area of a hotel's operation. For a hotel, the primary legal focus includes their restaurant, bar, meeting, convention and spa areas of their business, as well as employee relations. Hotels are also expected to protect their guests from criminal harm and to ensure the confidentiality of their personal identity information. These are a few of the daily legal matters hotels are concerned with, but on a national scale, there are also a number of pressing issues that the industry at large must address. For example, with a new presidential administration, there could be new policies on minimum wage and overtime rules, and a revised standard for determining joint employer status. There could also be legal issues surrounding new immigration policies like the H-2B guest-worker program (used by some hotels and resorts for seasonal staffing), as well as the uncertain legal status of some employees who fall under the DACA program. There are also major legal implications surrounding the online gaming industry. With the growing popularity of internet gambling and daily fantasy sports betting, more traditional resort casinos are also seeking the legal right to offer online gambling. Finally, the legal status of home-sharing companies like Airbnb continues to make news. Local jurisdictions are still trying to determine how to regulate the short-term apartment rental market, and the outcome will have consequences for the hotel industry. The December issue of Hotel Business Review will examine these and other critical issues pertaining to hotel law and how some companies are adapting to them.