With social changes evolving every day in the way we live, work, travel etc, hoteliers have to go above and beyond designing beautiful hotels. Hotel designs must include areas that become highly personalised for guests, spaces that are not just functional and good looking, but make a personal connection with the guest. It’s also about great first impressions – if you’re unable to meet and greet each guest that enters your hotel reception, create a reception area that captures how you want them to feel – welcome, wanted, happy and so on. It’s also about great hospitality, and even though there are so many spaces that make up a hotel – here are a few key trends and ideas to create personable spaces that connect with your guest.
Reception area or lobby
Great lighting (chandeliers) or should we say mood lighting is a great way to turn a boring space into something fun. Change it up and change your lighting colours from time to time. Add indoor waterfalls, oversized windows with natural light and lush greenery to create an indoor/outdoor environment that screams tranquillity and fun, rather than ‘work, corporate, work!’ But as business hotels should also be functional (guests are after all staying in town for business), there should be separate (but easy to access) areas where laptops, phones and other electronic devices can be plugged in for use. Printers, PC’s and tablets should also be available for guests who just want to send a quick communication or check an email.
In fact, tablets left at reception areas are these days used for self-service check-ins in some hotels abroad. This may be a little bit too fast paced for SA to look at right now but it is fast becoming a new trend globally. Add some local art (pictures, sculptures, beadwork etc) to create a uniquely local vibe which in turn is often reported to create a genuine connection with the hotel for the guest. Make it personal, make it fun and make it functional. It’s the first area you ‘make an impression’ so make it a good one.
Add a little colour to brighten things up, and some texture in your finishing’s so guests can feel the mood. Offer technological efficiencies in your rooms that are easy to access by keeping your guests ‘plugged in’ all the time. These days, Wi-Fi is just the tip of the ice-berg…changing aircon, lighting and window blinds with your smartphone is very on trend, as well as having USB’s next to your bedside lamp and more. King size beds, additional couches in the rooms, spa-like bathroom features all make a huge impact on a personal level for business travellers (it’s a home-away-from-home that they often seek). Waterfall showers, over-sized bathtubs, his and hers sinks, eco beauty amenities all add to the personal experience. Another key trend is a cozy environment – fireplaces, chunky carpets, curtains and large TV’s all create a cozy homely feel. Have fun with colours, textures and lighting to create rooms that look more inhabitable than a standard desk, locker and bed scenario.
Food and Beverage outlets
Restaurants should be a destination, not just a place to grab a bite to eat. It’s a space that should be interesting, unique, inviting and social. Watching chefs in action is a great new trend revisited. Restaurants with themes are very popular these days not just because of the use of space and design, but also from a menu concept idea. People want to try new foods, new tastes, local dishes. They want to share food, snack, nibble and feast without too much formality. Creating snack bars, tapas bars, deli’s, or grab and go stations in the reception area is one of the most popular ways to attract guests, to keep them in your hotel, keep them spending their money in your hotel or F&B outlets and also create a social vibe where there may ordinarily be nothing but stark boardroom atmospheres. Another key F&B trend is the demise of room service because of sloppy product offerings, lack of speed or efficiency and the aspect of dining alone. It’s now about being social and fun, and always available 24 hours at reception. Why not!
We’ve covered a few key areas of design for modern business hotels. There are many types of designs for hotels and the millennial hotel is fast becoming a popular design concept, as well as hotels that offer wellness as a theme. But sticking to traditional corporate hotel designs, we think the above key trends and concepts are vital to ensuring a competitive edge for your hotel, and a whole lot of happy guests. Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below – we would love to hear from you.