Hotel Design: Creating an Individual and Unique Experience

By Tammy S. Miller President, Alternate Resources | October 29, 2017

There is a generation of young people that have redefined travel for all of us. Actually, they have redefined many things for all of us! The advent of social media platforms and the influx of visually stimulating photos posted everywhere have enabled people to open their minds to new ideas. Where the unknown used to be scary, there is very little unknown these days because you can tap into new experiences from friends and strangers gaining comfort in your interests. You can follow innovators and be exposed to what others are seeing and what they are experiencing and put those ideas on your bucket list.

The millennials may have led the charge, but the Baby Boomers and even the healthy elders are getting on the band wagon. People won't settle for the mundane any more, not in technology, not in work environments and not in their travel experiences. Hotels large and small, independent and branded are being called to task to be original and if they don't respond they will fail.

Personally, I have raised three boys who are now in their 20's and two of them have studied abroad for a semester and the third is about to choose his abroad destination. They seek "once in a lifetime" experiences and can often accomplish them on a shoe string financially. At the end of their fingers sits a full blown computer, masked as a cellular device that they can instantaneously access real time data and fuel their ideas. They seek unique and authentic experiences in hotels, food, tourism and culture.

What might have been out of my comfort zone being born into the Baby Boomer generation has become what I seek because I watch how easy it is to do. My parents born 25+ years before me were being pulled along initially and now are looking at their own trips in a different light. The hospitality industry is being tasked with more creativity and innovation in designing hotel space with the local culture in mind and bringing forth new ideas for how to attract and retain a client base.

Vacation travel was once a luxury available only to the wealthy but now it is much more affordable because Hoteliers are targeting all levels of "stars and diamonds" and striving for authentic and meaningful. The goal is to create fulfillment and offer an interactive approach to planning what a visitor wants from their experience. Social media makes these experiences visually available for many to share in the moment and gets recorded for others to call on when seeking a new experience. Photos posted on line by travel, hotel and food followers inundate the senses and expand the desire for new experiences truly defined however you want them to be.

The focus of hotel design regardless of the type of experiences your guests are seeking tasks professionals to offer ideas and solutions that are authentic, immersive and interactive. If the design doesn't mirror the experience the customer wants, regardless of age, they walk away disappointed. So how do designers achieve this? We do our homework and we challenge our inner creativity, training, knowledge and expertise to do our best work for each client.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.