Expert’s Voice: Hospitality industry needs to design its way to better profits
All hospitality design ultimately boils down to creating an unforgettable human experience. (Picture: Moxy Frankfurt City Center / JOI-Design)
One must be aware of what it takes to design a hotel property that is memorable, piques interest and makes people want to visit — and come back to, writes Annika Sandberg, CEO/Principal at Hospitality Interior Architect
The hospitality industry is competitive and ever changing. It is an industry in which the average hotelier is constantly racing to gain recognition from the increasingly versatile and dynamic global traveler.
Today’s traveler is a sophisticated, knowledgeable, savvy consumer that is very demanding when it comes to choosing travel accommodations. In making a decision, he has to maneuver through a labyrinth of options and alternatives that have resulted in the need for hoteliers to invest countless hours and money simply trying to stay afloat.
For this reason, as a hotelier, one must be aware of the design tools and options that are available in order to stand out from the rest. One must be aware of what it takes to design a property that is memorable, piques interest and that ultimately results in a place that people want to visit and stay in—and hopefully come back to!
DESIGN TOOLS AND OPTIONS
What are these tools and options? To be able to answer this question we must first attempt to understand the significance and importance behind any design endeavor.
Design in all its shapes or forms (whether it be fashion, automotive design, product development, or architectural and interior design) is above everything a global industry. One that transcends borders and that deals with a more universal, omnipresent subject: human experience.
With this in mind, we should then seek to ultimately appeal to the core element responsible for such experience: our senses. Design should always look to awaken our senses—it should look to incite feelings and reactions. This can be achieved by arousing sensations such as happiness, relaxation, comfort, joy, invigoration, well-being or safety in a guest or even through an allusion to sexuality, luxuriousness, or juvenescence to name a few.
DESIGN EVOKING EMOTION
Good interior design, or rather great interior design, successfully “plays” with and evokes a reaction from all of our senses. It is design achieved through the understanding of the importance behind our human psychology in creating an experience. Surfaces, color, and light should all aim to be in perfect harmony with each other. Balance should be reached between the hard and the soft, the smooth and the textured.
Great interior design allows our brain to seamlessly receive information through a holistic approach in the synthesis of architectural space and features. This is design that captures us by awakening our senses: through our hearing (music, ambient noise), our smell (flowers, leather, wood, food, spices), our sight (shadows, light, colors), or our touch (surface materials, textiles). Great interior design evokes a desire to stop, take in, enjoy, discover, relax, and crave. The opposite can be said of design that is generic and ineffective which obviously has negative implications for the hotel owner.
THE PROFESSIONAL TOUCH
It is then paramount for the hotelier to seek the support and collaboration of a design professional. This crucial entity, preferably an interior designer, will help you to more accurately and efficiently navigate through the complex and often nonlinear design process required to create an effective solution to your particular needs as well as understand the relevant components related to each phase of an interior design project—i.e. the conceptual formulation and understanding of a project’s desired outcome, proper implementation of site specific knowledge, and informed product selection.
A successful designer should be able to assist in selecting products that are not only logical because of their adherence to a site’s history and geographic location but also because of their respect for the targeted end user.
Such a designer is aware of the life cycle of a product as well as its durability in relation to its desired use. All of this while keeping in mind how each of these elements affect the senses and assist in creating that experience your client subconsciously yearns for.
THE END RESULT
The overall result should be a property that the global traveler will want to visit. A property that is talked about on social media and written about on blogs and magazines because of its novelty, memorability, and experiential qualities.
If your involvement in the hospitality industry is fairly recent (or even if you are an experienced hotelier looking to explore new ideas), I would like to encourage you to expand your horizons and avoid falling into the trap of not investing sufficiently in design. Think outside the box and recognize that we are all humans and as such we transcend borders.
We are connected by our ability to hear, see, touch, taste, and smell. Recognize the potential that lies behind being able to understand and effectively cater to the human senses. Only careful, thoughtful design can assist in successfully achieving this. Invest your money in achieving good design — design that will lead to better profits and a greater return on your investment. I encourage to invest in great design!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
CEO and Principal at Hospitality Interior Architect
Annika Sandberg is an award winning Interior Architectural Designer, specialized in hospitality, multi-family and mixed-use development, and high-end residential new construction and renovation projects.
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