HOW SMART INTERIOR DESIGN WILL IMPROVE YOUR HOTEL OPERATIONS Comments Off on HOW SMART INTERIOR DESIGN WILL IMPROVE YOUR HOTEL OPERATIONS 1085

It is no secret that interior design is amidst the most central aspects of a hotel’s appeal. However, many hotel developers do not look enough beyond the aesthetic aspect of interior design, missing another facet that is just as important: functionality.

Smart, innovative interior design not only pleases the eye and makes for a great guest experience, it also improves your hotel operations efficiency, driving up the profitability in your bottom line.

In exemplary hotels, plenty of innovative design solutions can be found not only in the front of house but also in the back of house. You will encounter smart design in physical spaces and objects such as furniture, but also in staff’s equipment and in intangibles such as light fixtures. Hotel owners, developers and managers have the “power” to influence an infinite amount of details to improve hotel operations and, as a result, augment profitability. In the following lines, I will share with you three ways to embrace that power.

#1. Consider operational efficiency early on in your design process

Design functionality can be improved in many areas of a running operation. However, some crucial aspects of functional design must be considered early on during the planning phase.

Take the case of housekeeping: the less time a housekeeper requires to get a guest room spotless clean, the more efficient the whole department is going to be. Take a large hotel and the effect of scale multiplies. Thus, smart interior design should consider the ease of cleaning. Yet, especially in bathrooms, we still find wall finishes such as narrow stone slabs, that make it extremely hard and time consuming for housekeepers to clean. Also, hard water drying in the shower leaves a trace of white chalk on surfaces. The more porous the surface, the harder it is to clean. Smoother and rounder the surfaces would have made it easier for housekeeping to clean efficiently.

Another example with direct impact on the bottom line is textiles. Many hotels feature curtains, bed throws and cushions made of delicate fabrics that require dry cleaning and create soaring costs of washing. If you chose elegant yet washable fabrics, you can have them washed in house or externally at a fraction of the cost.

Once the room is built and furnished, there is little an efficient housekeeper can improve to save time. Once all the textiles are bought, it will be costly to have them all replaced. During the design and procurement phase however, developers have the opportunity to optimize everything from the choice of materials to the shape of built in and loose furnishings. Don’t miss that opportunity.

#2. Make staff satisfaction a primary goal in your design and procurement strategy

We all know: Happy employees will make your clients happy too. We also know: Working conditions in hospitality operations are strenuous by nature. That’s why it is important to invest into equipment that that makes your staff’s life easier. Even small design considerations can have a great impact and will show them that you care.

Take waiters for example: They walk miles every day, carrying a lot of weight throughout their shifts. By reducing the net weight of services trays, you immediately improve their working conditions significantly. Switch from a traditional silver tray to a slick carbon tray and literally take several kilos off their shoulders.

Another example: If you have a large outdoor space in a continental climate, make sure to plan in advance for storage space to store all the terrace cushions during the wet seasons. A terrace for 80 persons will easily require 10m3 of storage. If not planned for, the cushions will end up cramping already scarce back of the house areas.

A smart design of a restaurant and all of its equipment should first be designed for employees, and not only for guests. Naturally, this brings challenges with which most hotel developers are not familiar: How many service stations do you need vs. how many guest tables? Where do you position them to not be in the way but still be within efficient reach? How much cutlery should be stored?  Where do the dinner candles go during lunch time? Many design questions require the insight of an operational expert before operations are even running. Thus, hire an external expert to get important inputs already during your planning phase – or even to have your running operations analyzed.

#3. Improve your guests experience with design that goes beyond aesthetics

Undoubtedly, aesthetic interior design is imperative, but it is by no means everything that makes a great guest experience. There are many factors, that go beyond the eye. Take seating comfort for example: Not all beautiful chairs are equally comfortable. Before ordering a full set of chairs for your restaurant, test-sit the chair in combination with the table to ensure the right distance between the table top and the seating height. Also, choose a table top that is not only beautiful but also long lasting, ergonomic and with a good grip for the client.

Another example: Have you ever been in a restaurant and thought that something didn’t feel right but you couldn’t put a finger on it? Let me tell you: it’s the lighting. Good lighting is a science. Make sure to have a professional lighting designer, who works his magic – for both day and night scenes, if you have a restaurant that operates at lunch and at dinner time.

In summary:

Consider functionality from the beginning of your design process, think of your dear staff and try to provide a guest experience beyond aesthetics. The examples I shared with you are only a few and if you keep putting yourself into other stakeholders’ shoes, the amount of innovative solutions you can come up with are infinite. And if you don’t find the right product on the market, have it made. There are always people that are passionate about developing solutions for you – or finding them with you.

About the author

Claudia Greset-Reich is a hotel procurement expert and Managing Partner at Greset Reich Hospitality Consulting. Together with her husband and partner Yann Greset, they specialize in design and procurement solutions for hotels. Prior to founding Greset Reich Hospitality Consulting, Claudia and Yann have opened and worked on various projects of the Bürgenstock selection.

This article was first published in Hospitality Insights by EHL.

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Mauritius B2B Hospitality magazine, a quarterly publication and blog for the industry professionals. Want to reach the hospitality decision makers in Mauritius/Rodrigues? Contact us +230 57 94 64 37 or [email protected]

THE FUTURE OF THE HOSPITALITY SECTOR POST COVID-19 Comments Off on THE FUTURE OF THE HOSPITALITY SECTOR POST COVID-19 380

As the hospitality industry resumes operations, it has been the moment to adapt, redesign and implement new ways and ideas to help the sector accelerate recovery and reinvent the hospitality of tomorrow.

What are the most prominent trends in hospitality today and what will the new customers’ demands be? How are hotels adapting their business operations to receive travellers and go back to business but still remaining sustainable? What are the best ways to gain guests’ confidence back? What is the role of technology in the process? These and more topics will be discussed in this webinar on the future of the hospitality sector post COVID-19, focusing in the Middle East region.

Source – https://www.unwto.org/event/the-future-of-the-hospitality-sector-post-covid-19

THE MALDIVES, MAURITIUS, SRI LANKA, WHO IS DOING WHAT TO RESTORE TRAVEL CONFIDENCE ACROSS THE INDIAN OCEAN Comments Off on THE MALDIVES, MAURITIUS, SRI LANKA, WHO IS DOING WHAT TO RESTORE TRAVEL CONFIDENCE ACROSS THE INDIAN OCEAN 666

After the recent round of short interviews with hospitality leaders in the Maldives, Mauritius, and Sri Lanka, these were the key messages that will win customers back. 

MALDIVES – No social distancing, but a rather physical distancing in the Maldives.

One month ago the Maldives reopened the country borders to international travelers and since then, welcomed nearly 4500 tourists mainly from the UK, USA, UAE, Germany, Swiss, and Russia. With strict health and safety standard procedures implemented across the country, starting from the airport to the resort islands, the ‘new travelers’ have already voiced their appreciation for the level of care and hygiene on various social media and forums. But if being welcomed by the resort representatives wrapped in PPE and armed with face shield, gloves, and masks might not feel like the most relaxing start of a much-needed holiday, Afeef Hussain, Regional Director at LUX* Resorts in the Maldives, reassures that guests do love the feeling of safety 

“Being able to arrive at the resort and start enjoying their vacation right away not having to worry about anything, is what our guests want”

Together with high levels of hygiene, another key element to restoring travel confidence is the value of the experience. Afeef Hussain shares that the ‘new travelers’ are not going to spend the same amount of money they used to. Therefore, the value of the vacation is under great scrutiny and determines whether your customer might decide to return to your hotel or to travel somewhere else. 

“There is no such thing of ‘new normal’, but rather a ‘new mindset’”

To ensure that each action taken to uphold the hygiene standards at the resorts is mutually beneficial, Afeef says that whatever is done for the guests, is also done for the team members. This ensures their wellbeing and wellness and translates the Company’s core message of ‘care’ into action.

SRI LANKA – Borders are closed, but our resorts are not.

Sri Lanka has recently delayed the opening of the country borders, but hotels and resorts across the island are back in business with the local market. The execution of health and safety standards at each property has been instrumental to restore a domestic travel confidence, says Arjuna Perera – Sales Manager at Theme Resorts & SPA based in Colombo. To start with, Arjuna Perera and his team produced a video message to show all the procedures and reassure their customer base. 

‘We immediately created a survey, to help understand what are our customers’ priorities at this critical time’ 

But, as we know, the local market demand alone does not cover it. A voucher system propelled by Arjuna’s sales team successfully generated over 1000 room nights. This shows that flexibility is another key factor to encourage travel demand. Flights can be canceled or delayed, quarantine systems are changing by the day. ‘All we need is a bit of flexibility’ says Arjuna ‘and the results are showing us that people are keen to travel, they just want to feel safe’. 

But how do we ensure social distancing in Sri Lanka? For Theme Resorts & Spa, more than distancing, we talk about isolation, but in a good way. The nature experience of some of their properties is guaranteed to the point that to reach some of their glamping sites, you will have to be picked up by the hotel concierge somewhere in the jungle.

MAURITIUS – A contactless experience and smart use of technology.

As Mauritius prepares to reopen borders next month, the health & safety checklist of the destination seems to grow longer.

The use of technology, however, plays a key role in the destination, currently undergoing a digital transformation with a brand new website, a travel platform in the making and a range of digital solutions for tourists. Airline and travel industry expert Youvraj Seeam, based in Mauritius, shares that to pick up on travel confidence, we first have to observe the consumers’ changing behaviors and thereafter understand the new demands.

“For this to be truly successful, we need collaboration with all the stakeholders across the industry”

Youvraj shares that tools like the Travel Recovery Insights Portal of ARC & Boston Consulting, the McKinsey Travel Pulse, or the Traveller Trends Tracker by Adara must be on top of today’s agenda for the modern marketer. This would enable industry leaders to have more visibility and start making progress along the way.

Based on his experience in the airline industry, the key message needs to revolve around hygiene standards and procedures from the moment the traveler checks-in, boards the plane and reaches the destination. Once arrived, says Youvraj, a contactless experience needs to be in place to ensure a safe transit until the guest ultimately reaches the hotel.

 About the author:

Dolores Semeraro is a multilingual professional speaker and trainer, fluent in the Chinese language. She provides strategic direction and training courses to companies and tourism institutions helping them to speak today’s digital language of their audience. Her vision is to create a sustainable digital connection between travel industry stakeholders and their desired customers.