The impact of the pandemic over the past two years has made the hospitality industry many challenges. As the priorities and habits of guests had changed, as well as the need for personalized experiences and enhanced hygiene increased, many hotels are trying to adapt by changing their space designs, interior decoration, and applying technological facilities.
Trends such as workation or the relocation of restaurants to open spaces have significantly changed hotel design during the pandemic. Many changes may be temporary, but there are trends that are predicted to continue in the future:
Changes in space design and materials
According to Monika Moser, Regional Managing Director of Wilson Associates, hotel design will need to adapt to the changes caused by Covid-19. Walls, roofs, windows – factors that affect temperature, natural light, and air circulation in the hotel can be given more attention to ensure airy space and support the ventilation system.
The using materials and furniture for common areas and rooms will also change, reducing the use of carpets for floors and replacing them with bricks and stones to facilitate cleaning. Some accessories in the room such as decorative pillows can also be reduced, providing a more minimalist and spacious space.
As guests minimize contact with others, common areas in hotels will be larger, more flexible, or arranged in a smaller number of tables to minimize social interaction, ensuring social distancing. An idea to help create a flexible space in the hotel lobby has been launched by Hilton with movable architectural screens in the lobby, allowing guests to flexibly create and change a private space when needed.
Increasing the eco-friendly and sustainable design
The pandemic has accelerated sustainable and health-focus tourism trends. This is also expected to promote sustainable design trends in hotels through the use of local products, sustainable and eco-friendly materials for hotel amenities and interiors.
Besides, the hotel’s environmental friendliness is also promoted through clean energy technologies. Hotels will have to invest more in solar technology, waste treatment, water management. In guest rooms, lower-energy appliances, automatic devices and sensors to save energy when there are no guests in the room, and natural light may be used more. Before the pandemic, there are few options for travelers to look for a sustainable hotel. As sustainable tourism is emerging, increasing the implementation of green practices in amenities or design helps hotels to score points with travelers who are interested in responsible and sustainable tourism.
Applying smart technology from the lobby to the room
Touchless technology will be one of the leading trends in hotel design in the future to reduce interaction and risk of infection as well as help guests feel more secure.
Lobby design may become more modern as hotels reduce staff and increase the use of technology in the lobby. The hotel lobby area can be designed with kiosks integrated with facial recognition technology for self-check-in and touchless payment.
In guest rooms, automation and connectivity technologies will also be increasingly applied to help guests access their rooms, control temperature and lighting system, and even request services by using their mobile phones.
Touchless technology has been invested by some major hotels before the pandemic to enhance the guest experience, but Covid-19 has accelerated this trend. Hilton, Marriott and IHG are the three leaders in touchless technologies at some of their hotels. Many features are integrated into the hotel’s applications such as Mobile Check-in, Digital Key promises to bring a seamless journey for guests.