November - Architecture & Design: Original, Authentic and Localized
Corporate hotel developers once believed that their customers appreciated a homogenous design experience; that regardless of their physical location, they would be reassured and comforted by a similar look, feel and design in all their brand properties. Inevitably this led to a sense of impersonality, predictability and boredom in their guests who ultimately rejected this notion. Today's hotel customer is expecting an experience that is far more original and authentic - an experience that features a design aesthetic that is more location-oriented, inspired by local cultures, attractions, food and art. Architects and designers are investing more time to engage the local culture, and to integrate the unique qualities of each location into their hotel design. Expression of this design principle can take many shapes and forms. One trend is the adaptive reuse of existing facilities - from factories to office buildings - as a strategic way to preserve and affirm local culture. Many of these projects are not necessarily conversions of historic properties into grand, five-star landmark hotels, but rather a complete transformation of historic structures into mixed-use, residential, and hotel projects that take full advantage of their existing location. Another trend is the addition of local art into a hotel's design scheme. From small sculptures and photography to large-scale installations, integrating local art is an effective means to elevate and enhance a guest's perception and experience of the hotel. These are just a few of the current trends in the fields of hotel architecture and design that will be examined in the November issue of the Hotel Business Review. Need to subscribe? Click here!
Michael Suomi

The hospitality market has seen an explosion in the number of Soft Brands in recent years, and yet the concept is not at all new. How then do we account for the sudden resurgence and success of this decades-old model? A new generation of soft brands emerging today coincides with a major shift in the demands and desires of travelers: one that places an unprecedented premium on authenticity and originality. No longer motivated by standardized offers wherever they go around the world, travelers want to be immersed in their destinations, and favor excitement of discovery over the tried-and-true comfort of familiarity. READ MORE

Dave Murphy

With improvements in the economy bringing more and more disposable income into the household, many people are spending money on experiences and travel, causing a boom for the restaurant and hospitality industries. The elevated occupancy and bookings for hotels and inns is leading to a surplus of revenue that many owners and managers are using to re-invest in their properties. Many hotels have not seen renovations or remodels since before the housing market up-ended in 2008. As a result too often the interior spaces are dated. Improving décor throughout the property is one vital element to ensuring customer satisfaction and retention. READ MORE

Hans Van Wees

While home-sharing companies capture attention for truly immersive local experiences, and brands respond to the movement with sub-brands touting authenticity, independent hoteliers have long appreciated the localized approach to business. In Burlington, Vermont, such local partnerships build and bond communities, and through their contribution to the hotel design, product and programming, ultimately enhance the overall guest experience. The current state of the travel industry suggests the sharing economy is here to stay. These home-sharing companies are rapidly increasing in popularity as travelers crave – and ultimately, trust – their hosts to serve as sources of information for where locals really go to eat, explore, shop, etc. READ MORE

John Tess

The success of a hotel is predicated on providing a product that is embraced by the market. Some customers value brand loyalty and a standard product while others look for unique experiences with a custom product. In determining the viability of a hotel, product and location are essential to success. Over the past decade, there has been resurgence in the viability and attractiveness of America’s urban areas, as witnessed by the proliferation of centrally located hotels. Where buildable lots are at a premium, the reuse of historic buildings as hotels has grown significantly. While old hotels are often upgraded to meet market demands, the reuse of non-hotel historic buildings has been significant and dramatic. READ MORE

Tammy S. Miller

Every town, village, community, and city has its own character, its own vibe, and its own history. Each location has a story to tell about what makes it unique. Isn’t it important to tell that story through the practice of interior design? Shouldn’t designers be called to task to bring the story to life in a unique way for each and every project, especially hotel projects where people stay? Doesn’t the guest travelling on vacation or on business want to understand the locale, and what makes it unique? Won’t this lead to better experiences for guests? READ MORE

Gary Inman

Every great hotel has a great story. There is nothing more enduring, nor more sacred, than the art of storytelling. It is ancient in its origins, found in every culture. It is a seminal part of every childhood and is arguably the greatest economic driver on the planet. Consider the combined value of the film, music, publishing, and advertising industries, and the billions that go into brand building for nations, companies, products, beliefs, and any part of our culture – large and small - that requires a producer and consumer equation. We’re surrounded by stories, some trite and superficial but others transformative, enhancing life in ways never believed possible. READ MORE

Carol Ackerman

The Royal Palms Resort and Spa represents an exceptional example of adaptive reuse from a private estate into a beloved regional treasure, preferred and proclaimed by the sophisticated neighborhood that reflects its nearly 90 year architectural influence, as the gem of the Scottsdale-Phoenix ‘resort row’. Situated approximate to such classic properties as the Phoenician, the Hyatt at Gainey Ranch and the venerated Arizona Biltmore, the Royal Palms enjoys a history and an intimacy with its Arcadia neighbors – and the greater hospitality-savvy residents in the Valley of the Sun – unequaled in affection and selection. READ MORE

Christina Hart

Lighting remains firmly entrenched as a dynamic, versatile and often untapped interior design element. Both functional and abstract, lighting can transform a hotel, spa, dining outlet, lounge or lobby and help articulate and even tell a brand’s local story. By creating drama and intrigue, lighting can be used to solidify an emotion, forge a meaningful tie and formalize a sense of place. HOK’s Hospitality practice has used lighting as a creative, abstract feature on major global projects for decades. We design lighting solutions that help express our hospitality clients’ brands and aspirations while always respecting the property’s regional nuances. READ MORE

Pat Miller

Hospitality guests today want a more authentic experience connected to nature and local culture. Designers are responding with new schemes for public spaces that perforate the border between indoor and outdoor, opening up lobbies, lobby bars and restaurants to bring guests into the environment around the hotel. Whether creating unobstructed views of the mountain landscapes or physically opening the space to the neighboring waterfront, indoor/outdoor spaces create a whole new experience for guests and pays dividends for owners. READ MORE

Ken Martin

Hotels have long been a piece of the urban fabric, but more often than not they keep to themselves, so to speak, through both design and programming. Aware of the locals, but inward-looking and more focused on the happiness of their guests; in the city, but not really of it. And that’s been a function of the industry’s decades-long branding and business model: Provide guests comfort through universal similarity no matter the location, from architecture to furniture to amenities. Yet travelers are in search of unique and authentic experiences, moments rooted in the essence of wherever it is they’re visiting. READ MORE

Alan Roberts

Renovations at hotel properties promise significant rewards. From higher guest loyalty scores to additional revenue streams and new business from trusted partners, revitalizing a property constitutes a win for both brands and owners – but only when done right. As the Global Head of Embassy Suites by Hilton, I’ve witnessed many major renovation projects firsthand. The successful ones have three important factors in common: owners who think bigger than just their financials; careful planning with guests’ needs kept top-of-mind; and a strong collaboration between the brand and ownership to prioritize renovation areas and create cost-effective strategies that align with individual budgets. READ MORE

Gino Caliendo

Embarking on a major hotel renovation can be an exciting endeavor. When we began formulating our renewed vision for the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront in 2014, we were mindful of a dual responsibility: projecting the image of the regency brand while also infusing into the plan the personality and flavor of a unique surrounding region and its people. Now that the project is complete, others in the industry may benefit from learning about how we achieved those objectives. In all, the year-long renovation included a floor-to-ceiling overhaul of all 951 guest rooms, corridors, the roof-top fitness center, select meeting spaces and more. READ MORE

Amanda Tower

Capturing the essence and soul of a location that surrounds a structure, and exhibiting that essence through the design extends the cultural experience into the hotel and further establishes a sense of place within the lodging experience. In architecture and interior design, genius loci is a profound inspiration for creating a sense of “place” and a truly unique experience for guests. How does genius loci inspire hotel design, both structurally and in the interior design, and how can hotels use it to create a more enhanced guest experience? READ MORE

Jennifer  Skaife

Exploring authentic ways of infusing the hotel location based upon the Operator/Brand & Owner vision. Applying elements of brand-specific identity and responding with successful design solutions within the constraints of existing properties- i.e. interior architecture, existing zoning etc. “It’s Tuesday so I must be in Sheffield...” When I started working in hospitality design, this was one of many sayings we frequently heard and always joked about. These were the days when the road warriors back in the UK drove their Ford Taurus’ from town to town, city to city, staying overnight in the local hotel flag of their or their company’s choice. READ MORE

Manuela Bravo-Smith

Sameness was once considered a virtue in the hospitality industry. Travelers were believed to crave predictability, which seemed to dovetail with the desire of larger hospitality groups to establish a recognizable brand. This was correct to some degree: a certain segment of the market prefer to take no chances with a hotel stay, and therefore place a premium on familiarity and having expectations met. But the industry has begun to swing away from this paradigm, recognizing that travelers also love a find: a unique experience or destination that offers newness and variety. READ MORE

Samuel J. Cicero Sr.

We have all been there. After a long day of travel, exhaustion kicks in and you can hardly wait to reach the hotel. When the front desk attendant hands over the key, you can finally take a deep breath and get set for the fun-filled days ahead. For the business traveler, whose stay is less casual and more formal, a room key means it's time to relax and prepare for the next important meeting or to celebrate a success. First things first: Every traveler deserves lobbies and public spaces that warmly welcomes them and awakens their senses, something more than a passageway to the front desk for expediting check-in and check-out. READ MORE

Coming Up In The August Online Hotel Business Review




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Food & Beverage: Multiplicity and Diversity are Key
The challenge for hotel food and beverage operations is to serve the personal tastes and needs of an increasingly diverse population and, at the same time, to keep up with ever-evolving industry trends. In order to accomplish this, restaurateurs and hoteliers have to flex their creative muscles and pull out all the stops to satisfy their various audiences. One way to achieve this is to utilize existing food spaces in multiple ways at different times of the day. Lunch can be casual and fast, while dinnertime can be more formal and slower paced. The same restaurant can offer counter service by day but provide table service by night, with a completely different menu and atmosphere. Changes in music, lighting, uniforms and tabletop design contribute to its transformation. This multi- purpose approach seeks to meet the dining needs of guests as they change throughout the day. Today’s restaurants also have to go to great lengths to fulfill all the diverse dietary preferences of their guests. The popularity of plant-based, paleo, vegan, and gluten and allergen-free diets means that traditional menus must evolve from protein-heavy, carb-loaded offerings to those featuring more vegetables and legumes. Chefs are doing creative things with vegetables, such as experimenting with global cuisines or incorporating new vegetable hybrids into their dishes. Another trend is an emphasis on bold and creative flavors. From chili oil to sriracha to spicy maple syrup, entrees, desserts and beverages are all being enhanced with spice and heat. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will document the trends and challenges in the food and beverage sector, and report on what some leading hotels are doing to enhance this area of their business.