To thine own self be true


All the world’s a stage, and your property should perform for your guests

The internet has created a world where everything changes quickly, making it hard for hoteliers to identify, and stay ahead of, design trends. But what if hotels were told there are ways to get ahead and even foresee beyond what’s trending right now?

First, understand design is more than picking finishes, materials, or space planning. At its core, it’s a social science, which means profoundly understanding consumer behavior. It’s less about the form and function of a space and more about the consumer’s psychology, mind, and attitude. As a designer, this is where it starts. If owners know their guests, they always will remain on trend for their market, regardless of the constantly changing fads. Understanding how guests interact with a space and what matters to them provides a clear roadmap for owners to know how to invest in their property. Remember, the masses could drive a trend, or it’s simply what an owner observes as a solution to a need. However this is interpreted, determine if it’s the right trend for the target market.

Here are three areas to consider when exploring design trends.

the guest1. THE GUEST
Whether a hotelier is independent or related to a brand, knowing the guest is essential. If an owner wants to invest in the newest design trend, they must look beyond today to determine what their target market truly wants or needs. There needs to be a clear understanding of the consumer and what matters to them. It could be as simple as visiting a travel blog or social media to read real-life experiences to understand likes and dislikes. From there, an owner can decide how these experiences translate into a trend or, better yet, an investment. But don’t set limits on one industry or only design. Keep in mind trends don’t always stay within an industry. What are the technology trends? Restaurant trends? What’s the latest in health and wellness? These all feed the expectations of travelers. Knowing how this data translates for an audience should drive the right decisions for a property. Trends change constantly, and owners need to understand the needs of their guests and make the investment there.

conscious material2. THE “RIGHT” SPACE INVESTMENTS
If the idea is to invest in a specific design trend, do it on a smaller, flexible scale to avoid spending on a fast-moving fad. As much as we like to say we can get ahead of a trend, they move quickly, so investing in smaller areas such as retail or lounge areas, tech centers, or fitness rooms that enhance the guest’s experience lowers renovation costs and allows the flexibility to adjust with the trends. Also, consider by the time the design trend is implemented, it may already be on the way out. Investing in trends on a small scale helps avoid devoting significant investments to a quick fad.

Material and design elements are constantly changing. Investing in neutral, durable finishes that stand the test of time is essential when discussing material trends. Selecting timeless materials for core elements like flooring, wood tones, and solid surfaces allows the focus of investment to be on trendier features and finishes that quickly change the design aesthetic of an environment. Understanding consumer demand, technological advancements, and shifting consumer preferences will drive the latest materials trends. Still, ask how long those materials will last – are they durable or sturdy enough to withstand wear and tear? Consciously choosing classic materials to invest in for the best ROI and pairing them with trending patterns, materials, colors, or décor offers the flexibility to incorporate shorter-lived trends while gaining durability and return on the core investment.

Today, because of the instantly changing social landscape, nothing is trend-proof. Hoteliers have the power to get to know their consumers and should leverage that knowledge to determine the best investment for their hotel.

The bottom line is to know the guest. The trend to pursue, the direction to take, and the return on investment will follow.

kendra gibson

Kendra Gibson, NCIDQ, is the design manager of the brand studio at Elkay Interior Systems (EIS), and she specializes in branded environments and partners with global brands within the hospitality industry to develop interior concepts and experiences that reflect their unique stories. She can be reached at .




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