5 Take-Aways from NEWH Leadership Conference
Select Service Becomes Full Service Experience
Rather than the Select Service Hotels of yesterday, brands are now offering Full Service Experiences that weave in the local neighborhood and create engaging moments. For example, large hotel brands might have two restaurants in-house instead of six to encourage guests to explore local cuisines. Partnering with local chefs, some hotel brands are crafting curated culinary experiences for their guests outside the hotel walls.
Food & Beverage concepts have shifted to Beverage & Food. This idea offers small plates, often with a local, rotating menu produced by guest chefs. Instead, brands are focusing on the beverage experience, utilizing signature cocktails created by master mixologists. Moxy Hotel has introduced a bar in place of a reception desk, Element offers a wine card for its self-service wine bar, and some brands are even teaching guests to make cocktails instead of handing over a pre-mixed drink. This focus on the beverage creates room for memorable moments that stay with guests long after their departure.
Guests will pay a premium for a personal connection. Hospitality design is all about creating immersive experiences, creating environments that make guests want to explore social spaces and neighborhood locations outside of their rooms.
“Tech is outdated the day you think about it.”
Hotel Brands are constantly striving to keep up with advances in technology. As designers, it’s important to build flexibility into design to allow new tech to come in and replace the old – constantly. Examples of how brands are currently utilizing technology include keyless entry using guest’s smart phones as their room key, and the option to order room service prior to arriving at the hotel.
Creating Social Media Moments
Hotel Brand needs to think about designing for social media moments. Social is how guests communicate their stay experience and if opportunities for media posts are built into the design, it serves as positive free advertising for the brand. Whether it’s fresh, local art, a one-of-a-kind lobby area, or a killer view, designers must work with brands to develop jaw-dropping, clever social media moments.
For years brands and designers were all about LEED. That has since shifted to a focus on WELL building and design. Designers are studying how travelers use space and exist within an environment while traveling. Whether for business or leisure, people want to feel better after staying in a hotel not worse. Emphasis on daylight, opportunities to be active (think yoga mats in every guestroom closet), fresh, vitamin enriched water, and maximum relaxation are just some of the WELL elements designers are incorporating.