Design will help hotels problem-solve their way to a post-Covid future

by | 14 May 2020 | Design

Hotel design has become more important since Covid-19 say leading designers. (Picture: Pratama Ryan / Unsplash)

Designers give their opinion on why they think hotel design will offer a brighter future for the hospitality industry in a landscape that currently looks fairly bleak.

Innovative thinking will be key to the future success of hotels in a world after coronavirus. Designers give their opinion on why they think that hotel design will offer a brighter future for the hospitality industry in a landscape that currently looks fairly bleak. We find out what they had to say.

Stalls and starts

Some of the world’s leading hotel designers weighed in on the current state of the global hospitality industry, with particular attention being paid to project pipelines and the stage of various hotel developments around the world. The reaction to the crisis has been mixed, with many projects being put on hold, but others ploughing full steam ahead.

The stage of the development obviously has an impact on whether or not a project can move forward, as does the liquidity of the developer, and developers whose properties were already funded are planning on forging ahead, says Clay Markham, Vice President, Global Sector Leader Hospitality of CallisonRTKL. Darrell Long, Design Principal and Regional Managing Director at Wilson Associates, is surprised at the number of developers that are proceeding with their schemes. “That number is shockingly large,” he says.

Design solutions

Tom Horwitz, Executive Vice President of NELSON Worldwide, thinks that many hotels that were planning renovations this year will push those works back to 2021. But the question then will be, what form will these renovations take?

Social distancing will need to be observed for some time to come, even when restrictions have been eased, to prevent the expected second wave of the virus, but will social distancing become a permanent fixture in F&B areas? Shay Lam, Managing Executive and Studio Creative Director at TPG Architecture says that the strongest impact Covid19 will have on hotel design will be in ways that are less obvious, such as remote check-ins, strict hygiene policies and contactless bathrooms, all of which will help to prevent the spread of the virus.

The future of brands

Some of the designers expect that the hospitality landscape in a post-Covid world will be a little less crowded. Beyond the lack of current demand for hotels that will likely stretch into the future because of customer wariness, there is also the fact that the proliferation of brands within big name portfolios will need to be culled. “I think that there will be a paring back of superfluous brands and properties that don’t match the new market that will emerge,” says Markham.

There is broad consensus that the boutique segment will bounce back quickly, with guests seeking a more intimate and experiential stay. Wellness will also perform powerfully in a world after coronavirus.

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