Connecting Guests with their Surroundings

By Tammy S. Miller President, Alternate Resources | November 04, 2018

Sometimes travelers want to commune with nature and be right in the midst of it when they step out of their hotel room. With significant competition for getaway travel dollars, design professionals must think out of the box, continue to up the ante and create extraordinary design to attract guests for hotels to stand out. These unique experiences are what adventurers seek when they book travel on safaris, trips to the rainforests, mountain hiking or visiting Iceland to name a few.

A design trend that we are seeing play out in a multitude of creative ways is tying the design of a hotel to its' surroundings, to nature…bringing the outside in and marrying inside and outside to create authentic and naturally harmonious surroundings.

The trend in hotel design is to blur the lines between interior and exterior spaces and connect your guests with harmonious surroundings which is equally as important as personalizing the hotel space to make it original. Designers' should be taking their cues from the locale of each hotel and using their imaginations to create the individuality of each space.

When I take my family skiing in the Colorado Rockies, I am inspired by Aspen trees, snow, hiking trails, natural wood, log cabins, moving streams and the like. I want to breathe the fresh air and feel the crisp night air that makes the starry night brighter than ever before. When I take my family to an island in the Caribbean, I cannot wait for the white sandy beaches and the blues and greens of the tropical waters. My design eye seeks brighter colors, cleaner lines, open spaces clear of clutter, modern artwork, wispy sheer fabrics that billow in the open air spaces.

I am in awe of nature, whether it be in the middle of a thunderous and lightening rain storm or watching the waves crash on the jetties. I like the feel of running my hands over a raw slab of natural walnut in a live edge table, the smoothness of mahogany after it has been hand sanded and polished until it glows, and the roughness of driftwood with all its splintery glory. There is a time and a place to use each material in design and the fun of it is creating the unexpected.

Gone are the days where hotel owners are seeking consistency and everything matching, instead we have ushered in trends of eclectic and natural. It is still important to note that designers can't forget about modern conveniences in their designs, like charging ports, reading lights and working spaces. We all have (or are seeking) a lifestyle of being healthy, communicative, physically active, mind expanding and adventuresome. The places we want to go for our leisure, and even our business travel, have to offer us an experience or why bother going there.

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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.