Interactive Hotel Design is All About Knowing Your Target Guest

By Eric Rahe Principal, BLT Architects | November 12, 2017

Donna D. Lisle, AIA LEED AP and Doug Soehl RA contributed to this article

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.

Interactive Technology

But what does this mean, really? Not only do our definitions of interactivity vary, but so also do our preferences. As such, the key to a truly interactive hotel experience is to understand your target customers and how they want to be engaged. This is especially true when it comes to hotel technology, which offers near infinite options to tailor your experience to your guests.

For hotels catering to business travelers, such tech is key to streamlining quick and efficient service. For these travelers, check-in kiosks are still king, but we are already moving towards even more advanced options. Hilton Hotels and Resorts, for instance, has begun introducing ‘mobile-enabled room key technology’ allowing guests to bypass the front desk entirely in favor of using a cell phone as a room key.
Similarly, Near field communications, still in its infancy, can ensure that a preset room temperature, lighting, and even window shade level will be ready - per a traveler’s specifications - as soon as they walk through the door. This level of control can be a real selling point to experienced travelers who know exactly what they are looking for.

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Coming up in May 2018...

Eco-Friendly Practices: The Greening of Your Bottom Line

There are strong moral and ethical reasons why a hotel should incorporate eco-friendly practices into their business but it is also becoming abundantly clear that “going green” can dramatically improve a hotel's bottom line. When energy-saving measures are introduced - fluorescent bulbs, ceiling fans, linen cards, lights out cards, motion sensors for all public spaces, and energy management systems - energy bills are substantially reduced. When water-saving equipment is introduced - low-flow showerheads, low-flow toilets, waterless urinals, and serving water only on request in restaurants - water bills are also considerably reduced. Waste hauling is another major expense which can be lowered through recycling efforts and by avoiding wastefully-packaged products. Vendors can be asked to deliver products in minimal wrapping, and to deliver products one day, and pick up the packaging materials the next day - generating substantial savings. In addition, renewable sources of energy (solar, geothermal, wind, etc.) have substantially improved the economics of using alternative energies at the property level. There are other compelling reasons to initiate sustainability practices in their operation. Being green means guests and staff are healthier, which can lead to an increase in staff retention, as well as increased business from health conscious guests. Also, sooner or later, all properties will be sold, and green hotels will command a higher price due to its energy efficiencies. Finally, some hotels qualify for tax credits, subsidies and rebates from local, regional and federal governments for the eco-friendly investments they've made in their hotels. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document how some hotels are integrating sustainable practices into their operations and how their hotels are benefiting from them.