Ask The Hospitality Expert – Steven McGee, Managing Director, UK Construction South, ISG

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What do design teams need to think about when it comes to ensuring their rationales respond to the changing needs of guests? 

The rise in community spaces shows no sign of abating. Co-working, co-living and co-learning is increasing in importance for the hospitality industry and is becoming an integral part of society. Networking is now just a secondary benefit of the sharing economy; the real driver is to build a community. 

At ISG, we’re noticing that our hospitality customers want their spaces to work harder and become more versatile to accommodate a collaborative environment. One of our current customers is taking co-working and co-living to the next level. The project comprises a hotel and apartments in an up-and-coming area of London. What’s different about this space is that the guests of the hotel, as well as the apartment residents and the wider community, will all be able to use the communal spaces. 

Creating a sense of community is becoming more and more significant to the hospitality industry, with open-plan areas and comfy spaces for relaxation, work and collaboration getting more common. We are seeing hotel projects in the pipeline that include community spaces, open to residents in the local area and creating social hubs. Customers are sourcing spaces in developing locales, where there is more space and better value for money. The interior design themes are typically modern, edgy and stripped back. The trend for exposed services works well, with the often-industrial nature of the space’s surroundings. 

It’s not just hotels that are embracing co-working. Coffee shops are used by workers on the go for convenience, but they don’t always have the appropriate facilities, so now the food and beverage industry is seeing co-working cafés spring up. 

Design teams need to take heed of the type of environment that hotels want to emulate and be aware of trends in the market. Right now, less is more. Breakout spaces are being made to work harder, and becoming the norm for communal hospitality areas. Ceilings are being shunned in favour of the exposed services look. It’s important to keep on top of these trends to deliver to customer and guest expectations. 

Hospitality is reacting to the changes in how we work, live, learn and socialise. With the rise of community, hotel design needs to be open, transparent and inclusive. When delivering a project, we keep the end user in mind. And with the changing nature of hospitality and how people are using and interacting with the spaces, that has never been more important.