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Previewing Prototypes

Many hotel companies have new construction prototypes. Here’s what to expect.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Glenn Haussman
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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.

Last week at the 50th BITAC® event the rise of the new construction prototype was a hot topic. And the sold-out Purchasing & Design East event attracted many lodging executive elite representing leading and forward thinking companies. They all came 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.

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 the sold out crowd to find out 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 - 50.6%
Moderate change - 39.3%
Less change - 6.3%
Nothing will change - 3.6%

How do you think the rise of digital natives will change hotel design?
They will prompt extreme change - 27.3%
Moderate change - 51.2%
Less change - 16.6%
Nothing will change - 3.6%
None - 0.8%

Do you see a strong development market for focused service hotels?
It is very strong - 20.8%
It is becoming more important - 45.6%
There are few opportunities - 19.3%
There are no opportunities - 3.9%
I do not know - 6.5%
RevPAR will decrease - 3.9%

Which area do you think is most ripe for focused service hotel development?
Urban centers - 32.2%
City outskirts - 39.7%
Tertiary markets - 22.7%
Rural markets - 5.5%

Is the select service hotel business suffering from a sense of sameness?
Absolutely - 18.1%
Possibly - 20.7%
Not sure - 29.4%
No way - 16.8%

What do you think of the future pace of hotel design innovation?
It will speed up rapidly - 58.3%
Changes come at a balanced pace - 39.5%
Brands have said enough, no more changes - 0.4%
Owners have said enough, no more changes - 1.1%
Brands and owners have had enough change - 0.7%

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%

Glenn Haussman    Glenn Haussman
Editor in Chief
Hotel Interactive®, Inc.

Bio: Glenn Haussman is Hotel Interactive®'s Editor-In-Chief, where he manages all editorial content for the hotel industry’s leading online information resource. In addition to publishing the daily magazine, he hosts a weekly on demand radio shows and develops educational content for the company’s BITAC® and HI Connect® Design ...
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