Hotel developments need a great concept to be sustainable: Shannon Kim

by | 18 Jan 2020 | Experts


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The future of hotels is alternative lodging in exclusive locations, says Shannon Kim, Chief Creative Officer & Managing Principal at Designcitizen.

Shannon Kim wears many hats. 

An award-winning interior designer with over 25 years of experience in luxury hospitality projects around the world, Shannon is currently the Chief Creative Officer & Managing Principal at Designcitizen, a multi-disciplinary, integrated hospitality design, branding, and procurement firm based in Toronto, Canada.

She consciously decided to learn all angles of the hospitality development, the pursuit of which led her to be a designer, client representative, developer, owner, contractor, project manager, operator and brand manager. 

Speaking exclusively to TOPHOTELNEWS at TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Macau 2017, Shannon tells us why she advocates the disruption of the hospitality design industry and the importance of a solid concept for each hotel project. 

Consciously moving through various sectors of hospitality

Shannon: I started in the hospitality industry as an interior designer but quickly realised I didn’t know a lot of things about the hospitality development market. I decided to experience each part of the hospitality and project development industry. I moved from being a designer to an owner, developer, contractor to operator. I did this to understand each side of the business, the pros and cons, their targets as well as how to approach new developments.

Great hotel concepts key for sustainability

Shannon: The biggest challenge in the hotel industry is a lot of hotel operators and developers taking on projects without much of a thought or without a great concept. It is extremely important to have a great concept for a hotel development in order for it to be sustainable in the years to come. If you don’t have a good brand and good operations to support great hotel concepts, you business cannot be sustainable, especially in the luxury segment. 

Excellence is needed not just in design and construction but also in operations. We really need to think things through as to how can we create and exceed the expectations of our guests.

Future trend of hotels: alternative lodging

Shannon: In the future, I see a lot of hotel developments focusing on experience, emotion, and sustainability. I sense guests of the future requiring alone time, so some hotels will offer an exclusive location where it’s very different from current big hotel rooms. I think alternative lodging will be big, not only because of the influence of Airbnb but also glamping and the like. 

Shannon Kim was a delegate at TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Macau 2017. To attend, address or sponsor our boutique hospitality networking events around the world, contact TOPHOTELPROJECTS Head of Global Events & Conferences Kayley van der Velde.



The TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR is a series of one-day conferences around the world for hospitality leaders. 


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