Beyond These Walls: The Evolution of Public Spaces

By David C. Marr Senior Vice President & Global Head, Hilton Full Service Brands | November 25, 2018

This article was co-authored by Larry Traxler

It goes without saying that today's travelers expect more out of their hotel stays than ever before. Beyond comfortable guest rooms, world-class amenities and intuitive service, travelers gravitate towards destinations and accommodations that allow them to both escape and selectively engage with the world around them.

Because of that, we at Hilton find ourselves looking at hospitality design and architecture in new, innovative ways to accommodate these sophisticated traveler's needs. Guests are also, in turn, looking to interact with every square inch of a property – including lobbies and outdoor spaces as well as meeting and event areas.

We leverage a number of design strategies to help us create dynamic spaces to meet guests' evolving needs. The seamless integration of indoor and outdoor space throughout our public areas provides travelers with invigorating environments that can be adapted to fit any of their travel needs - from business to relaxation or celebration.

Natural Elements and Collaborative Space

Too often, the interiors of hotels can feel detached from the local environments outside of its walls.

Because of this, we have begun looking at how to incorporate natural elements from the surrounding area into our interiors in a way that feels authentic to the destination and also meets the changing expectations of our guests. Through tactful design strategies that bring the outdoors in, we have seen a great value add to our public spaces on both an aesthetic and functional level.

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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.