Eat.Drink.Sleep - November 2021

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From new constructions and major renovations to design tweaks and adaptations – hoteliers need to adjust their property designs to meet new demands from guests. Demands and expectations that may not have existed, or been important, to visitors a few years ago. In this article, Ewald Damen, partner at Virgile + Partners will explore how attitudes are changing as clientele might diverge between those just wanting to get back to normal and those who are more consciously looking for new reassurances – and how hotel design can address this.

first lockdown. She referred to it as life coming to a halt and a standstill, a time to reflect on how and why we live life the way we do.

several destinations, altogether making the choice of the hotel more important and potentially chosen with new criteria in mind.

To say life has taken a dramatic U-turn now nearly a year and half later would be an exaggeration. However, it seems a number of people have taken notice of some benefits that came with Covid, often related to the simple fact that not being able to leave one’s home, freed up more time to achieve a higher sense of consciousness. Working remotely, less of a commute and fewer physical meetings on the other side of town have improved our time management. Only after we stopped doing it, did we realise how much we took part in the “rat race”. When we stopped, we had more time to do things at a slower pace; more considered and thoughtful.

Covid measures such as cleanliness, considered people-contact and spatial awareness, will hopefully become normalities in the services provided, but less obvious considerations should be explored to reflect the new comfort a guest is expecting. As with the home office, a hotel might have to focus more on a better workspace in a room or revive the business centre as people are now expected to be available for work at times including when on holiday for a longer period. Business hotels might have to feel less corporate and more human friendly, reflecting more of the comfort found at home and deriving their inspiration more from the boutique hotel and with a more stylish design. State of the art technology to assist the guest in the ability to simplify their stay or let them work anywhere without problems [even from the pool] will be more in demand.

Now things are [slowly] opening again, the response to Covid is starting to show its possibilities and restrictions. Groups of people are keen to let life continue as if nothing ever happened. However, Covid does have a lasting impact caused by restricted supply chains and recovering Sustainability has been in the foreground What are hotels doing to meet these markets, at least for the moment. for hotels over the past years/decades, needs and will they take inspiration No industry has suffered more so than but efforts might need to be accelerated from more entrepreneurial, boutique the travel and hospitality industry, and more visible due to higher conscious hotel design and its more personalised which has been affected by government awareness. This should equally be approach to guests’ experiences? Will restrictions, high costs and fewer travel reflected in the overall design, with there be a greater emphasis on outdoor routes. It was not only recreational travel much more use of natural materials, spaces and wellness, or an increase that suffered, but business trips were natural ventilation and other aspects in technology and services to meet equally restricted, and one could argue that enhance the guest comfort with different guests’ attitudes? that with a much broader acceptance sustainability in mind. Outdoor space is Changes are inevitable throughout of Zoom calls, the question has become more valued and the quality of [organic life, but the influence of the pandemic ‘is a trip around the world for a meeting and local] food including an increased might have triggered a larger impact still justifiable?’ A higher environmental focus on health and wellness is becoming on our future lives than we could have awareness due to the “clean air” in the higher in demand, shifting away from the potentially expected. Not only did the weeks after lockdown has also played its covid unsafe all you can eat buffet. pandemic give us time to rethink, but part in a recognition that the previously some have also seen it as a time to ‘reset’ continuing growth in the travel industry Covid’s largest legend might be an acceleration of something that our daily lives. Trend analyst Li Edelkoort might show a significant slowdown. was already in motion, a change in gave an interview with Dezeen in the early Covid days stating the pandemic This, together with a sense of a better the frequency of travel and higher could offer us all a blank page for a new lifestyle, will pose a challenge for the expenditure, which will most certainly many hotels around the world. The guest have a great effect on the guest beginning. will change their expectation to reflect expectation, once again making me think I guess Edelkoort discovered time to the more flexible and time-conscious way of Li Edelkoort working in her beautiful herself as she when she was stuck in a of life they have become accustomed to. boutique hotel in South Africa during beautiful boutique hotel called Dorp With more complicated and expensive the first lockdown and seemingly taking in Cape Town which in itself, would travel, the length of a work trip might be more notice and appreciation of her have been a welcome place to spend a extended to a holiday, or combined to welcome stay.



As Covid restrictions ease and travel and holidays pick up once more, changes are afoot for the hotel industry.

November 2021

How attitudes towards hotel design have shifted post-pandemic