Hotel Design: Creating an Experience
By Tammy S. Miller President, Alternate Resources | June 01, 2014
The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines the word "design" to mean many things, one of which says…"to plan and make (something) for a specific use or purpose." In there lies the first task of a good hotel designer….Understand the use, purpose, desire, and interest of your guest(s). The hotel designer has to envision how something will look, how it will function and what experiences a guest will have from the moment they pull up or walk in to the property, through every inch they wander.
The world has changed drastically over the last decade. Once we had technology at our desks, in the office, and in our homes. Now, we walk around with smart phones that basically fit at the end of our fingertips and with that device we can do everything – instantly. Whether we seek an answer to a question, the lyrics of a song, the cheapest flight to a destination, the film clip of the interview we missed – it is all right in our hand. We have become a culture of immediate gratification, and of being able to do something or reach anyone in seconds via phone, text, email, tweet, and other social media outlets.
Design, functionality, space, color, light, clutter, sustainability are all part of our movements and our world. I used to find that many people were oblivious to the details, and often looked for an attractive, comforting design in the spaces they stayed. Now, hotel design also has to step up a notch.
People want more, they want more from everything they do and they will get it, because if "x" doesn't offer it, "y" will, and then "x+" will top it and then "y"+ and the bar keeps rising, as the expected costs fall. It is the nature of the beast. Just like we used to expect to plug our computer in a desk plug and Ethernet cable, now we want to recharge the 1-3 devices we carry individually and sit anywhere to use them.
This leads to new levels of creativity and new levels of design. It challenges hotel designers to "create an experience" for their guests.
I have heard many over the years fight about what is most important for the guest: the guest room, the lobby, the meeting facilities, the restaurant, the lounge, etc. I have found that it depends on the property and honestly, their renovation cycle. While every hotel owner would like to offer new designs to their guests, it is impractical. They are on a renovation cycle, they have to fund the work.
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