Principal designer at Denniston Architects Jean-Michel Gathy has specialised in luxury hospitality design for over 30 years and counts some of the world’s most impressive hotels as clients. Here he reveals his top five key trend predictions set to impact the industry in the coming 12 months.
1. TECHNOLOGY IS EVERYWHERE
“Hotels are becoming ultra-connected. Customers never travel without their smartphone or tablet. This is having a big impact on their choice of hotel, sales network and design. For example, we no longer design desks for guest rooms; people work from their bed or at the beach."
2. SPECIALIST HOTELS
“Luxury hotels will become increasingly targeted. Previously, hotels wanted to offer all sorts of activities as they needed to attract as many guests as possible. Today, that no longer applies. There are many new travellers from emerging markets, meaning there are enough guests for hotels to target specifically. So we’ll see establishments that specialise in diving, with all the latest equipment and the best instructors, or yoga, cooking classes, wine and so on. This also means that luxury hotels will be more expensive with a wider selection of offers.”
3. ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS HOTELS
“In luxury hotels, respect for the environment has become standard. The development of new technologies has brought new solutions for hotels, such as the processing of waste materials and water, more effective insulation, the use of local materials, geothermal energy, solar, wind power, etc. Clean and renewable energies are the future of hotels.”
4. RESTAURANT SOCIABILITY AND DIVERSITY
“Today, travellers want to meet people, talk with locals and interact with other guests. This has led us to review restaurant architecture, with furniture in different sizes and bigger tables where people can gather. The food offering is becoming increasingly diverse. Customers want to take their tastebuds on a journey too, so we are building hotels with several restaurants offering different specialities: Italian, French and Asian cuisines for example.”
5. MANAGEMENT FOR ABOVE AND BEYOND SERVICE
“Traveller reviews on websites have considerably changed customer service. Before choosing a hotel, people check the reviews. Managers need to be extremely vigilant and attend to all guest requests.
To do this, you need to introduce systems in order to automate little details. In fact, staff cannot make an exception for every customer; even if that’s the impression they give. The perception of the hotel is very important too. They need to be careful that it doesn’t appear better than reality, to avoid disappointing people.”