Hospitality brands that have value and moral connection to their guests will survive

by | 05 May 2020 | Design, Events

Holly Hallam and host Harry McKinley discussed the future of hospitality design post lockdown in an Instagram Live Talk.

Panellists at the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards discussed the future of hotel design in a post Covid19 world.

The future of hotel design in a post-Covid19 world was on the agenda for the first Instagram Live Talk from the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards. This talk, which is akin to the digital version of a typical panel discussion from an industry conference or event, brought together two experts in hospitality design to thrash out their best and worst case scenarios for life after Covid. We find out more.

Restaurant & Bar Design Awards goes online

This year’s installment of the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards was due to take place on May 1st, but like everything else in the industry, the timetable and format of this event has been impacted by the sudden and shocking Covid19 crisis. The first of their Live Talks saw hospitality F&B consultant, journalist and events curator Harry McKinley interviewing Holly Hallam, Managing Director of DesignLSM about recovery, fresh thinking and innovation in a post-Covid19 world. The talk was sponsored by Hill Cross Furniture.

Moving with the times

The IG live talk was held on April 23rd at 3pm GMT, and has been added to the highlights reel of the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards Instagram account so that followers can watch it back. Some items on the agenda for discussion were questions sent in from followers, including how QSR design concepts will adapt in and out of food hall and retail settings, and the future of luxury design in a heavily weakened economy.

McKinley and Hallam discussed how innovation will be key to the recovery of F&B design, especially given fresh fears about proximity and social distancing. No doubt these concerns will need to be reflected in the design of future hospitality spaces, as well as how outlets can adapt to different forms of doing business, such as retail, take away and delivery.

Key takeaways

Harry McKinley started the conversation by asking Hallam what she really missed about hospitality. Hallam said she missed hospitality’s core tenets of social interaction, people watching and social observation. The pair discussed the future of hospitality design going forward, with McKinley asking if he thought there would be a recalibration of what’s important.

Hallam’s response was that social distancing will be a factor and that design will have to reflect this new type of guest behaviour. She outlined the two consumer groups that will present themselves after the lockdown ends: The first is the revenge hedonistic spending group, and hotels will need to maximise design to attract people out of their homes.

The second group are the security seekers – anxious consumers who will look for calmer environments, so wellness trends will increase, biophilic design will be favoured and mental and physical well being encouraged through design.

Speaking about how restaurants will recover from the devastating impact of Covid19, Hallam said she thought that July might be when a slow reopening starts, or September for higher capacity venues. There will be bigger traction by the end of the year, but by then, capacities and cover ratios will have dropped by 30 – 50%. She wondered how people can operate businesses in this manner.

McKinley said that recovery won’t be a return to how it was before necessarily, we will probably see a contraction, meaning fewer restaurants. What will be the key challenges for those restaurants? Hallam said that hospitality brands that have value and moral connection to their guests will survive, and those that have been innovative will also do well.

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