{468x60.media}
Ms. Locke

Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment

Hotels are Becoming Even More of a Home Away From Home

By Amy Locke, Director, Interior Design, Hatchett Hospitality

Analyzing the Similarities Between Hospitality and Residential Design

Hospitality and residential design have been borrowing heavily from each other in recent years, but now the trend is becoming even stronger as travelers want a hotel room that's especially cozy, comfortable, and homey.

That's because with the economy limiting expense account spending, business travelers are spending more time in their hotel room and less time out entertaining - while leisure travelers want a hotel that offers a little fantasy, a little sense of adventure, and a whole lot of luxury.

As a result for example, seating in guest rooms is more plush and almost theatre style, enabling travelers to be more relaxed as they work on their laptop or text on their PAD.

Designing for hospitality is about providing guests with more than just a place to stay - it's about offering them an experience, emotionally and physically, that's beyond their daily lives.

One way for me as a designer to achieve this objective is to "package" the amenities guests enjoy at home and want on the road - such as flat screen TV's, comfortable bedding, plush bathrooms, iPod docking stations, and reliable internet service - in an environment that is cutting-edge, energized, and exotic, yet still useful and inviting.

My job is becoming easier every day - don't tell my employer that, please! - thanks to new materials, new products, and especially perhaps to new thinking by hotel owners and FF&E buyers.

New materials - such as fabrics for bedspreads, window treatments, and decorative pillows - that are plusher and available in more colors, patterns, and textures just like residential offerings, but that are designed to be "hospitality specific" in durability, ease of maintenance, and meeting stringent fire codes.

New products - especially case goods, seating, and lighting - that are being brought to market more frequently by manufacturers - often as much as twice a year compared to once every few years as was the case for a long time.

New thinking by hoteliers and FF&E buyers, who are making "value" the hot buzz word in hospitality purchasing because they - like astute consumers, especially those with disposable income - are choosing FF&E products not just based on the lowest price but rather based on the best value. Even as budgets tighten, certain other factors are increasingly part of the purchase decision - such as product durability, design, construction, delivery times, and customer service for repair or replacement.

Let's look at four specific examples of how hotel and home design are moving closer together:

Bedding

When Westin Hotels introduced their "heavenly bed" a decade ago, it opened the door to an entire new era of bedding upgrades in the hospitality industry. Products that at one time were reserved for residential use and were a hotel "extra" have now become standard in most properties - products such as higher thread-count sheets, pillow top mattresses, and top of bedding touches like decorative pillows and throw blankets.

While the quality of many bedding elements has been raised, bed bases and frames have literally gone up - they're typically three inches higher than they used to be. The result is a bed that's more attractive to look at and that's more comfortable to get in and out of - in short, more like home.

And to prove that residential design borrows from hospitality design as well, many hotel bed packages are now available for purchase online by consumers. So if you like your hotel bed, you can now sleep on it at home

Fabrics

As noted earlier in this article, the selection of fabrics available for hotel design has increased dramatically in recent years to more closely match the selection available to consumers for their homes. This has opened an exciting world of opportunities for designers and owners to make hotel space more comfortable and inviting - and to feature new color palettes not just in fabrics, but also in wall paint, carpeting, and artwork.

Technology

It's not uncommon today for a guest to travel with three or four electronic devices that all need to be charged as needed and ready to go at any time. People don't want to search a guest room or move furniture to find the plugs they need, so manufacturers are responding by adding more electrical plugs to light fixtures such as table lamps as well as to case goods such as night stands and desks. This is a small improvement that's paying big dividends in satisfying guests - and in building the loyalty that generates return visits.

Given our dependence on technology, both business and leisure travelers want reliable - and free - high speed internet service, preferably wireless. This is as standard now as cable TV was a few years ago.

Accessories

Art and accessories have become increasingly important ways to combine a look that's "uptown" with a feel that's "down home." In the past, these items may have been overlooked or just an after thought - but now they are necessities used to add personality to a property and to enhance its appeal with travelers.

Just as the right belt or piece of jewelry can "make" a clothing outfit, the right accessories are the little touches that can finish space, "make" your hotel, and put you ahead of the competition. In short, accessories can enhance both a hotel's environment and its bottom line - all while providing a strong sense of home.

Of course, any discussion of accessories and amenities would be incomplete without mentioning that perhaps a hotel's ultimate amenity - and most valuable resource - are your hardest working, most customer-oriented personnel. These people are your stars for this value-added service economy.

In summary

Hoteliers are becoming more sophisticated in their design decisions. Hotel styles are following suit and are not only changing the way we travel, but changing the way we enjoy travel surrounded by the comforts of home.

Amy Locke is director of interior design at Hatchett Hospitality. She works with franchisers and franchisees on a wide variety of hotel brands, styles, and themes – from economy to luxury, from resort to business conference, and from traditional to modern. Previous to joining Hatchett, she held a position in interior design with Ethan Allen Interiors. Ms. Locke earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from the Art Institute of Atlanta. She is completing a degree in feng shuiand is an allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). Ms. Locke can be contacted at 770-227-5232 or Amy@HatchettHospitality.com Extended Bio...

HotelExecutive.com retains the copyright to the articles published in the Hotel Business Review. Articles cannot be republished without prior written consent by HotelExecutive.com.

Receive our daily newsletter with the latest breaking news and hotel management best practices.
Hotel Business Review on Facebook
RESOURCE CENTER - SEARCH ARCHIVES
General Search:

NOVEMBER: Architecture & Design: Authentic, Interactive and Immersive

Eric Rahe

The advent of social media brought with it an important shift in the hospitality industry. Any guest’s experience might be amplified to thousands of potential customers, and you want to be sure that your hotel stands out for the right reasons. Furthermore, technology has increased competition. According to Euromonitor International, the travel industry will have the highest online payment percentage of any industry by 2020, often occurring through third-party sites that display your competitors alongside you. As a result, many hoteliers are looking to stand out by engaging customers and the experience has become more interactive than ever. READ MORE

Pat Miller

Even the most luxurious hotel has a finite budget when it comes to the design or re-design of hotel spaces. The best designers prioritize expenses that have the biggest impact on guest perceptions, while minimizing or eliminating those that don’t. This story will focus on three blockbuster areas – the entry experience, the guest room, and the public spaces. This article will focus on these three key areas and shed light on how the decision making process and design choices made with care and attention can create memorable, luxe experiences without breaking the bank. READ MORE

Patrick Burke

For over 35 years, American architect Patrick Burke, AIA has led Michael Graves Architecture & Design to create unique hospitality experiences for hotel operators and travelers around the globe, in Asia, Europe, the U.S. and the Middle East. As the hospitality industry has shifted from making travelers feel at home while away to providing more dynamic experiences, boutique hotels have evolved to create hyper local, immersive environments. Having witnessed and contributed to the movement, Burke discusses the value of authentic character that draws on physical and social context to create experiences that cannot be had anywhere else in the world. READ MORE

Alan Roberts

More than ever before, guests want and expect the design of a hotel to accurately reflect its location, regardless of whether they visit a property in an urban center, a historic neighborhood or a resort destination. They also seek this sense of place without wanting to sacrifice the level and consistency of service they’ve come to expect from a beloved hotel brand. A unique guest experience is now something expected not just desirable from any hotel wishing to compete in the world today. A hotel’s distinctive design and execution goes a long way to attracting todays discerning customer. READ MORE

Coming Up In The December Online Hotel Business Review




{300x250.media}
Feature Focus
Hotel Law: Issues & Events
There is not a single area of a hotel’s operation that isn’t touched by some aspect of the law. Hotels and management companies employ an army of lawyers to advise and, if necessary, litigate issues which arise in the course of conducting their business. These lawyers typically specialize in specific areas of the law – real estate, construction, development, leasing, liability, franchising, food & beverage, human resources, environmental, insurance, taxes and more. In addition, issues and events can occur within the industry that have a major impact on the whole, and can spur further legal activity. One event which is certain to cause repercussions is Marriott International’s acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. This newly combined company is now the largest hotel company in the world, encompassing 30 hotel brands, 5,500 hotels under management, and 1.1 million hotel rooms worldwide. In the hospitality industry, scale is particularly important – the most profitable companies are those with the most rooms in the most locations. As a result, this mega- transaction is likely to provoke an increase in Mergers & Acquisitions industry-wide. Many experts believe other larger hotel companies will now join forces with smaller operators to avoid being outpaced in the market. Companies that had not previously considered consolidation are now more likely to do so. Another legal issue facing the industry is the regulation of alternative lodging companies such as Airbnb and other firms that offer private, short-term rentals. Cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and Santa Monica are at the forefront of efforts to legalize and control short-term rentals. However, those cities are finding it’s much easier to adopt regulations on short-term rentals than it is to actually enforce them. The December issue of Hotel Business Review will examine these and other critical issues pertaining to hotel law and how some companies are adapting to them.