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Brief Published: 23 Oct 2015

Designing Hotels for Modern Travellers

Vast lobbies are becoming less desirable

This year’s Independent Hotel Show, held on 21-22 October at Olympia, in London, provided a wealth of insights into the future of hotel design. Stylus highlights key takeaways from Designing Hotel Environments for the Modern Traveller, a seminar that featured Fiona Thompson (Richmond International), James Waterworth (Soho House Group), Michael Kiolbassa (Hansgrohe) and Sally Storey (Lighting Design International), who participated in an engaging panel discussion.

  • Make Communal Cosy: With individuals travelling for work and pleasure more frequently, guests are increasingly craving authentic home-from-home environments that feel easy to be away from home. Hotels can achieve this by making their communal spaces less formal and creating opportunities for personal service.
  • Balance Trend with Tradition: “Trendy initiatives can be more immediate, such having a pop-up food stall, but design must be right for the style and age of the building to truly resonate and make guests feel at home,” explained Fiona Thompson, Principal, Richmond International, London.
  • The Evolved Lobby: “Vast lobby spaces are becoming less desirable and could be replaced with smaller, more intimate areas such as drawing or sitting rooms that allow for easier guest-to-guest interaction,” said James Waterworth, Global Director of Design Development, Soho House Group.
  • Casual Consumption: Honesty bars – bars where guests pay for items at the end of their stay – are becoming more commonplace. This sort of initiative gives hoteliers the opportunity to forge a closer intimate relationship with guests based on trust and flexibility.
  • The Golden Trio of Assets: Panellists felt that successful hotels need to first identify where they sit in the consumer market and then concentrate on being functional, convenient and sustainable in equal measure.

For a comprehensive look at service in hotel environments and beyond, see our hospitality-focused industry trend Future Service. Meanwhile, Sustainable Stays unpacks eco-friendly innovations in the hotel sector.