Beyond the Bedroom: Hotel Design Trends for 2018

Today’s savvy nomad has realized that the hotel experience is an integral aspect of travel. Hotels are no longer merely the place of a morning departure and evening return, the place to shower and sleep, the place just to hang one’s hat; many guests expect their hotel to be an experience and an extension of its locale. Services and amenities continue to be important, and a beautiful space is essential, but travelers are increasingly choosing and returning to hotels based on ambiance. In other words, how your space feels is as important as what your hotel offers. Many recommend that a hotel create a home away from home, and that’s certainly important in the sense of comfort. A hotel should aim to be as comfortable as a home, but shouldn’t it offer more ease? In a sense, a hotel’s space should aspire to feel like the ideal home.

Rethink Ambiance

Travelers have eclectic tastes and strong expectations; still, it’s possible to enthuse them with unexpected features. The details of these features will depend on the brand you want to portray and story you want to tell – and make no mistake; ambiance tells a story. Decor continues to trend towards minimalism; however, simplicity can be executed in many ways. Some are choosing to mix neutral colors with soft blues, greens, and yellows. Others showcase one bold color – like a deep blue, red, or purple – set against softer creams and whites. Still others include urban art (like graffiti) as a striking visual statement. Mix and match tones, textures, and styles to produce unpredictable and engaging results.

One of the unique aspects your hotel has at its disposal is… itself. What is the history of the hotel? The building? If newly built, what is the inspiration behind its design? What is the history of the community? Every hotel has a story. Tell it through the traditional mediums of photographs, art, and displays, but also in the furniture you choose and the overall mood you set. Including pieces from local artists and artisans is a great way to tell your and your community’s story, and can also give your guests a unique glimpse at local ways of seeing the broader world.

This year many hoteliers will also rethink the function of their spaces.

Lobbies >> Front desks are increasingly being replaced with sit-down concierge desks where guests sip on coffee or wine while the check-in is conducted by staff with iPads. The lobby is your guest’s first interaction with a hotel’s physical space. It should be inviting, not pragmatic. Many hotels already have cafes, restaurants, or bars connected to their lobbies. Others are thinking beyond those mainstays, incorporating specialized bookstores, galleries, and libraries into their lobbies, opening a space for community members and guests to interact.

Rooms >> How often do guests use all the drawers in hotel rooms? Or hang a full closet of clothes? If your hotel caters to short stay visitors (and most do), the trend in room design is moving towards simplification with furniture designed especially for hotel rooms, including wall racks for hanging clothes, bed frames that enable a guest to slide their luggage underneath, and nightstands that double for desks. This trend is particularly appealing to hoteliers in urban markets where square footage is limited. Simplified furniture lends a spacious feel without needing as much space. Also, by designing variations in layout and differences in decor (through wall treatments, rugs, and lighting), hotels are increasingly providing a more distinct, fresh, and memorable experience, one that guests will be inspired to relive.

Incorporate Nature

Including natural elements in hotel design is not new in 2018, but it has recently gained a new name, and with that comes a whole philosophy for rebuilding a relationship between humans and their environment. Biophilic Design will be on many designers minds this year. Biophilic Design seeks to remedy the discord between our lifestyle (especially urban) and our innate desire to connect with nature. Designers with this mindset aim to integrate buildings into their surroundings, incorporate natural elements like large plants, wood and stone, and maximize natural light. In a hotel’s communal spaces, designers are incorporating vertical gardens and multi-level terraces. At resorts, room sizes are decreasing to make room for larger balconies and verandas. In urban and rural hotels alike, expansive windows enable the local foliage and panoramic views to become part of a room’s ambiance.

The Human Spaces report into the Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace suggests that having a view of nature can trigger a dopamine response, and that contact with nature “has a restorative effect,” reducing stress and contributing to overall well-being.  Designing spaces that incorporate elements from nature encourages an emotional connection with our environment, which will not only provide a sense of experience in your guests but also contribute to the productivity of your staff.

Embrace Technology

We crave more interaction with nature and people, but we’re also not willing to relinquish our electronic devices. Hotels should design bedrooms, boardrooms, and communal spaces that allow guests to stay connected.

Designers are creating clever ways to hide charging stations and preserve the décor of a room. Seamless doors in desks or nightstands open or lift to reveal USB ports and electrical outlets, enabling the modern guest to quickly plug in for work or play. Other designers are creating innovative ways to incorporate ports and outlets into the design of their headboards and other pieces. Hotels are also providing ports to enable guests to connect to their own media (Netflix, Apple TV, Google Play and YouTube) to watch their own content on the bigger screen. This is especially attractive for families who desire immediate access to cartoons and other programming for their young children, but many of us live in a world where we’re used to having our media at the tips of our thumbs. Offering access to our own media is one more way to offer the comforts of home, and offering access through innovative designs has the potential to elevate those home comforts.

Hotels are continuing to adopt smart technology like solar panels and personalized tablets to control room temperature and room service, but hotels are also ushering us into the future by embracing dynamic design features like wallpaper that changes color or pattern based on light and temperature. The hotels that deliver the most memorable experiences in 2018 will fuse innovation, design, and storytelling with comfort, leaving guests to return home to tell not only of their adventuring in your community, but of the experience they enjoyed throughout your hotel.

 

WebRezPro’s Top 5 Hotel Management Blog Posts of 2016

From hotel marketing to technology to general operations, we’ve discussed a lot of topics on the WebRezPro blog over the year and we hope you’ve found our posts useful and relevant to your property.

To wrap up the year on our blog, we thought we’d highlight our five most popular posts of 2016. It’s not surprising that these top five posts address some of the most pertinent current topics and trends in hotel management, namely online marketing, guest data and direct bookings.

Listed in order of the most-read, here are our top 5 posts of the year — did you catch them all?

1. Hotel Website Design Trends for 2016

Originally published on our company’s web design blog (World Web Technologies Inc.), our #1 post looks at 2016 website design trends that are particularly relevant to the hospitality and tourism industries.

A clean, simple, user-oriented design, eye-catching hero images, video headers and backgrounds, subtle animations, cool typography and a personal touch are highlighted as important design elements to consider for lodging operators thinking about redesigning their property’s website in 2016. >> Read blog post

2. Innovative Hotel Digital Marketing Campaigns to Inspire Us

In our digitally saturated world, innovation is key to standing out. In this blog post, we look at ways some of the big hotel brands have cut through the noise to grab attention and engage customers. Transcending traditional promotional techniques that simply aim to create awareness, these stand-out digital campaigns — including short films, social media campaigns, and virtual reality — all focus on winning customers through interactive digital experiences.

While big-brand budgets lie behind these specific campaigns, these examples are meant to inspire independent hoteliers to come up with their own innovative digital marketing efforts that engage customers with compelling, interactive content rooted in real experiences. >> Read blog post

3. Getting to Know Your Guests: How to Gather Guest Data

A hot topic the past couple of years, guest data is crucial to personalizing the customer experience and building stronger guest relationships. This blog post provides useful tips on how to use your property management system to build and use rich guest profiles to elevate the guest experience. >> Read blog post

4. 11 Practical Ways to Increase Direct Bookings

Increasing direct bookings is another hot topic among independent lodging operators and big brands alike. While OTAs play an important role in online distribution, too much dependency on them can hurt a hotel’s bottom line.

This post offers actionable tips on how to tip the scales in favor of direct bookings, including offering value-added packages and book-direct perks, using social media to drive traffic to your website, implementing a loyalty program, and trying out remarketing. >> Read blog post

5. The Power of Post-Stay Emails: Top Tips for Independent Hoteliers

Post-stay emails are a powerful customer retention tool, yet many lodging operators are still not taking advantage of this tactic. With a property management system and/or CRM that automates the process of sending guest emails, every property should be checking in with their guests post-stay.

In this post we provide a guide for developing an effective post-stay email campaign, including tips on timing, content and how to stay relevant. >> Read blog post

 

Thank you for reading! We look forward to continuing the discussion of topics and trends that matter to independent lodging operators in the New Year. In the meantime, we wish our readers a very happy and profitable holiday season and the very best success for 2017!