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Prototype Insight

Many hotel companies have new construction prototypes. Here’s what they’re doing.

Thursday, October 30, 2014
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We’re on the precipice of a new era of hotel construction and this impending boom will be very different than the last one we experienced 10 years ago. This time though we’re not talking numbers – we’ll save that for another day. Rather we’re taking a look at what’s actually being built. And this new generation of hotels are very different than the last.

Many of the major hotel companies are rolling all new construction prototypes and ushering in brand new designs combing operational and functional lessons learned with a new visual aesthetic.

These properties are thoroughly modern and take concepts that have emerged during the last few years, such as the social lobby and a heightened emphasis on outdoor space, and bringing those ideals front and center.

It’s a great move, especially in the focused service midscale segment where owners are looking to make properties more profitable in two ways; getting consumers to spend more money while lowering operational costs.

Attendees at this week’s BITAC® Purchasing & Design West 2014, being held at the Mirage Las Vegas, the rise of the new construction prototype was a hot topic.

BITAC® is of course the industry leading one-on-one meetings and relationship building event and this week Hotel Interactive® held its 53rd BITAC® meeting. And this year’s Purchasing & Design West event is a veritable who’s who of top industry buyers and suppliers who’ve come together to problem solve, network, sign deals and exchange ideas that move forward the quality of experiences for hotel guests, while adding profits to the bottom line. There’s even time to cut loose, be social and network in a luxurious and relaxed environment such as on Monday when attendees of this sold out event got extremely rare evening access to Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden. They got to see to see baby white tigers, white lions and an amazing dolphin shows. Some attendees even got to participate in a dolphin training session. This was only the second tie in the history of Mirage a group got to do this unbelievable experience.

Interestingly, many of these new prototypes have similar features. However, we don’t think companies are copying each other. Rather, with so many design and functionality experts out there working with hotel owners it seems to be a massive case of parallel thinking. Why? These ideas make sense. Here’s just a few of the features we’re seeing popping up everywhere.

Lobby as multifunctional gathering space depending on day parts
  • The front desk is officially extinct, pods rule the day
  • Hidden breakfast nooks
  • More textures and colors
  • More emphasis on how people actually use the room
  • Outdoors comes into focus
Operational efficiencies are being taken into account more often too as many of the new construction prototypes are being developed with owners as part of the process so there is a heightened focus on making as many square feet as possible revenue producing while making hotels work more powerfully to deliver bottom line profits.

See the attached slide show to take a peek at some of the new construction prototypes that have been announced during the past 18 months.

Additionally, we utilized our real time polling system with our influential audience to uncover what these industry experts think of this next generation of hotels. Here’s what they had to say.

How will branded hotels influence the design in the future?
They will prompt extreme change - 36.09%
Moderate change - 57.89%
Less change - 6.02%
Nothing will change - 0%

How do you think the rise of digital natives will change hotel design?
They will prompt extreme change - 45.32%
Moderate change - 49.64%
Less change - 2.88%
Nothing will change - 2.16%

Do you see a strong development market for focused service hotels?
It is very strong - 25.76%
It is becoming more important - 56.06%
There are few opportunities - 12.12%
There are no opportunities - 2.27%
I do not know - 3.79%

Which area do you think is most ripe for focused service hotel development?
Urban centers - 60.98%
City outskirts - 23.58%
Tertiary markets - 8.13%
Rural markets - 7.32%

Is the select service hotel business suffering from a sense of sameness?
Absolutely - 50.78%
Possibly - 36.72%
Not sure - 3.12%
No way - 9.38%

What do you think of the future pace of hotel design innovation?
It will speed up rapidly - 28.57%
Changes come at a balanced pace - 64.29%
Brands have said enough, no more changes - 2.38%
Owners have said enough, no more changes - 1.59%
Brands and owners have had enough change - 3.17%
Which of these design features is most overrated?
The lobby - 18.4%
Front desk pods - 25.9%
Hidden breakfast rooms - 37.6%
Outdoor patios - 12.8%
Creating “suites” out of single bay rooms - 5.3%

Which of these design features are most underrated?
The lobby - 15.9%
Front desk pods - 54.1%
Hidden breakfast rooms - 8.2%
Outdoor patios - 10.1%
Creating “suites” out of single bay rooms - 11.6%

How are you adapting hotel designs to appeal to new and future travelers?
We are rethinking the entire stay experience completely - 20.1%
We will make many changes - 22.3%
We are looking at only changing some key elements - 56.0%
We think our hotels are perfect the way they are - 1.5%
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