Users expect more than ever in experiential design: Paolo Cafolla
Paolo Cafolla was a delegate at TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR London 2020.
Paolo Cafolla, Commercial & Marketing Director at Serendipity By Design, tells us why designing for experience has become more challenging than ever.
Commercial & Marketing Director at Serendipity By Design, Paolo Cafolla spoke exclusively to TOPHOTELNEWS on the sidelines of TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR London 2020, which took place on February 6 at the Conrad St James, to explain how experiential design is having to work harder than ever to satisfy customers.
What drives your design philosophy?
We design from the end-user back, every single time. We come from a hospitality background family-wise so we understand operations are a huge point for the bottom line, but at the end of the day that bottom line figure will be massively implicated if that customer stays longer or gets bored and leaves. It’s nice to be able to design venues that people enjoy.
What trends do you see dominating the hospitality landscape this year?
Experiential design. Everyone wants an experience now; you can’t just open your doors and have an alcohol or food license and people come. Gone are the days of opening a venue and printing cash. Now, you gen Z and millennials, and they all want an experience. So designs have to encourage the atmosphere, and that’s what we try to do at Serendipity.
How do you communicate these experiences to potential guests?
When our venues open, it’s all about encouraging a mix. It’s about encouraging atmosphere, and that is how we position our designs. I don’t send pretty pictures of empty venues. Instead, we send videos of venues, full of atmosphere. For example, there’s a venue on the top 44th floor of the Hilton Hotel and it’s essentially a bar, but we have a bowling alley in it, we have snooker tables, we have pinball tables. So, it’s about experiential venues, and when the guest is actually there, they’re not just having a pint and having a chat, but they’re actually doing stuff.
What are the biggest challenges facing hotel designers today?
While they’re also the biggest trend, experiences are definitely the biggest challenge too. As people in the 21st century, we expect more. Gone are the days where you could just have a hotel, boring carpet, boring beds and you go in there and you wanted to leave straight away. A hotel room is more about comfort than it is about having fun. How much fun can you have in a hotel room?
What are the most fun hospitality spaces to design?
I think the fun projects are probably the food and beverage side of hospitality. While the ideal project is one that finishes on time, a dream project is one where we design the hotel from A to Z. So, we do the common areas, the halls, the gyms, the spas, the rooms and the food and beverage and by connecting all of those uniquely through design, they should cohere to each other. It’s about feeling comfortable to be able to stay in your hotel room or go downstairs and enjoy the food and beverage outlets.