Trends in the Hospitality Industry
The 2020 coronavirus pandemic will have global effects across the hospitality industry for years. Along with the losses from many months of canceled travel, the pandemic has affected the priorities of travelers worldwide. This will have profound changes in the industry.
In fact, the hospitality industry has been among the worst-hit industries. Travelers were forced to cancel countless spring and summer vacations, and business travel disappeared. In response, forecasters expect the industry to adapt to the new reality by pushing off new construction. Instead, decision-makers will focus on refurbishing, remodeling, and renovating current properties. What the pros call “adaptive reuse.”
Motivated to Renovate
With most people’s travel plans still a question mark, the hospitality industry is focusing on ways to enhance what they already have. Breaking ground on brand-new projects will have to wait.
What is surprising are some of the ways the industry is addressing the cares and concerns of their potential guests. There is no doubt worries over airborne, liquid-borne, surface-borne, any-kind-of-borne infections will be a primary factor for most travelers for the foreseeable future.
These travelers will favor those places that offer safety. And owners and operators in response are concentrating on cleanliness, technological solutions, and adapting their facilities to offer one-stop amenities, such as food and drinks.
Eat, Drink, and Be Merry
With many restaurants and bars closed, either permanently or temporarily, hotels have explored expanding their food and drink services. Their guests need food, but may prefer options that lessen possible exposure to anything that could result in them getting sick. Some industry watcher reports say that questions about how to offer food and beverages to customers safely dominate their discussions recently.
Designers are responding with renovations to lobbies, conference rooms, and corridors to allow serving pre-packed meals or food to go. There is less interest in providing full-service sit-down restaurants. Many guests remain wary of potential exposure from nearby patrons or servers. Plus, seeing plexiglass everywhere can make enticing people to eat there more difficult.
Meanwhile, the once-common buffet has fallen even further out of favor. Its open trays and shared serving utensils are now seen as potentially unclean or dangerous. Unfortunately, these locations may simply not survive today’s climate. Instead, designers have responded by repurposing current properties to meet their customers’ needs, and the needs of hotel guests, the ultimate deciders.
Mods and Pods
As the hotel industry pulls itself out of the coronavirus recession, certain styles of hotels will likely see recovery more quickly than others. Industry watchers expect properties that can offer extended-stay, apartment-living, or mixed-use options to see greater demand. Vacation-focused hotels will likely see slower demand, as the masses cautiously return to their prior lifestyles.
Modular designs and prefabricated designs are also seeing heavy interest. These designs can provide owners with less expensive options that can be built and installed quickly. Prefabricated guest rooms, bathrooms, even exterior skin systems offer ways to provide what their customer base is looking for. And without the heavy investment, many remodels need.
Modular designs might bring a sense of privacy, providing a space separated from the bustle found in more traditional hotel designs. Such privacy can reassure guests about the risks of exposure to airborne germs. At the same time, they offer guests the peace and quiet needed to check their mobile devices. Helping guests stay connected helps their sense of security.
With a pandemic loss, health has understandably taken on new importance for hotel guests. In response, owners and operators are focusing on ways to reassure their guests that their facilities are safe. At the same time, designers work on ways to increase their facilities’ safety.
Remodels that features a touchless experience, such as bathrooms with no-touch faucets and showers designed without doors, have gained new attention. These changes require relatively minimal investment while creating lasting solutions for the current situation and any we may face in the future.
Hotels are also exploring enhancements to in-room technology. Mobile apps that allow guests to create a key card to open the room door, order room service, and control the room environment lessen the need to touch multiple surfaces. This also reduces the risk of spreading germs among guests. Payments, check-in and check-out, and in-room service needs can all be accomplished using such technology.
Technology is also being used behind the scenes. Cleaning systems are now on offer that uses far-ultraviolet light, which kills 99.9% of pathogens. Cleaning guest rooms, food trays, and housekeeping carts with such powerful technology can reassure guests that their stays will be safe. Look for similar solutions to take hold of the industry in the coming years.
Greenery for Scenery
Designers warn that technological solutions can often make places feel cold, impersonal, even inhuman. One way to avoid this is to incorporate biophilic design elements that bring the outdoors indoors.
Large-scale tree and plant installations, artistic flower arrangements, windows that allow for natural light, and an interior design that uses eco-friendly woods and natural textures all help counter the coldness of the electronic elements.
Survive and Thrive
Adapting to the changing needs of travelers will always be key to success in the hospitality industry. When an event as ground-shaking as the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 strikes, that key becomes even more important. For the hospitality industry, that means focusing on renovations that blend technology with nature to reassure guests about health and safety. And still offering the privacy and relaxation they desire.