Must-Know Hotel Design Disruptors

by | Apr 21, 2017 | Design

The word “disruptors” has become increasingly popular in recent years, generally used to describe technologists who have developed new ways to do business or communicate, ones that “disrupt” long-established ways of doing things.

Like most industries these days, the global hospitality industry has become one of constant shifts and reorientations, especially as it pertains to how hotel rooms are designed. At the recent BD West conference, Michael Suomi, the principal and VP of design for Stonehill & Taylor, and Misty Delbridge, EVP of Montague, co-moderated a panel that consisted of design experts, all of whom shared valuable insights about “disruptors” who stand to be influential in the coming months and years. While many innovative ideas were discussed, four stood above the rest as must-know hotel design disruption concepts.

Modular Construction

Prefabricated rooms seem to be rising quickly in popularity across the industry, especially in the United States. For example, the newest addition to New York City’s Lower East Side, the Citizen M hotel, is having rooms shipped from Poland, complete with sinks and electrical appliances already installed and ready to use. The benefit, industry insiders say, is the amount of time that modular construction saves.

Small Rooms

As the millennial generation wields more and more spending power in the global hospitality industry, communal spaces in hotels are increasingly important, and, as a result, small guestrooms are becoming more popular. One of the most prominent brands pushing small guestrooms moving forward is Marriott’s hip taste-maker Moxy, although leadership for that company has acknowledge that small guestrooms can be polarizing among guests. Moxy rooms cover about 183 square feet on average, with a pegboard that hangs furniture until its needed, which frees up space.

Home Sharing

There’s no denying the vast impact that Airbnb is having on the global hospitality industry, as the online concept has forced hoteliers to step up their creativity. Some operators are working on unique concepts, such as one 40-guestroom hotel in Austin, Texas that can be bought out in its entirety. If a company comes to the city for SXSW, for example, they can rent the entire property and brand it for a week. This concept, as well as similar efforts to offset Airbnb’s impact, affords a level of flexibility that more staid hotels don’t. Other operators are discussing the creation of mixed-use hotels, combining those properties with branded apartments. For example, one floor in a new hotel might be dedicated apartments to be used for Airbnb type accommodations.

Eliminating and Combining

Imagine a guestroom with its closet, minibar and dresser all combined into a single unit—all for less than the cost of a traditional closet. So, eliminating and combining has a duel purpose of creating a better aesthetic piece of furniture for a lower cost. Other such disruptions along these same lines involve desks with multiple functions, such as offering workspaces along with room to store one’s suitcase, or a task chair that was also perfect for lounging.


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