Hospitality

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Are hospitality and workplace design morphing into one?

Whilst there are enumerable similarities between the commercial office and hotels, it is the public area of hotels that arguably have shown the greatest changes and biggest opportunities over the last 10 years.

Any hotelier with a gigabyte of sense will encourage the business customer to use their public space; to hold a meeting or simply get their heads into a laptop. Wherever you are in the country you are virtually guaranteed that business is taking place within metres of where you are checking in. However, free Wi-Fi is not enough as Michelle Percy, Managing Director of Crowne Plaza, Newcastle (Stephenson Hotel Ltd) made clear to us. ‘Our vision was to create top quality business space that not only delivers the needs of a business such as excellent IT connectivity, natural light, space, room for thought – but importantly does so with a sense of style that only comes from great design.’

The opportunity for the commercial interiors market has not gone unnoticed as a potential for selling design services or furnishings. With this in mind, this month we throw the Mix Spotlight on the UK Hotel sector.

As our readers tell us they like lists, we have compiled a convenient list of 50, in no particular order. We take a look at people, places and trends – those making the headlines, ones to watch, or those simply catching our eye. At the end of the mash-up we hope that, whatever part of the interior design world you
are in, you’ll discover something you didn’t know.


According to VisitBritain, the tourism industry in the UK accounts for over £127bn while its value to the UK economy grows by 3.8% per year.


laslett2The Laslett, Notting Hill. Opened in August this year and named after Rhaune Laslett, organiser of the original Notting Hill Festival. The ground floor, so we are told, is more neighbourhood hangout than hotel lobby – 50 bed, 27,000 sq ft.


In 2014 employment in the UK hospitality industry stood at 2.9 million jobs equivalent to 9% of total UK employment.


Airbnb

Who hasn’t tried this version of accommodation? Who knows the likely impact on the hotel industry? Who thinks it will eventually become a significant part of the hotel mix? Like everything new there have been mixed reactions: Airbnb was fined €30,000 by the Barcelona city council for breaching local tourism laws. The practice has been banned in Berlin. Amsterdam’s view is to allow short-term rentals in return for tax payments. In London, local authorities are opposed to overturning a law banning short-term rentals. Our view: great addition to the market, but will never be more than a small percentage of the accommodation market.


HavenHaveN by Allermuir

Who hasn’t tried this version of accommodation? Who knows the likely impact on the hotel industry? Who thinks it will eventually become a significant part of the hotel mix? Like everything new there have been mixed reactions: Airbnb was fined €30,000 by the Barcelona city council for breaching local tourism laws. The practice has been banned in Berlin. Amsterdam’s view is to allow short-term rentals in return for tax payments. In London, local authorities are opposed to overturning a law banning short-term rentals. Our view: great addition to the market, but will never be more than a small percentage of the accommodation market.


Whilst Wi-Fi is commonplace in the home and workplace and the use of public Wi-Fi hotspots is growing (Office of National Statistics survey showed 4.9 million people used them in 2010, up from 0.7 million people in 2007) generally on the ‘outside’ it is fragmented. Whilst this situation continues hotels will provide a further reason for the mobile workforce to visit them.


Ed-PurnellEd Purnell, Chairman of the Hotel Marketing Association

‘Within the independent sector, we are experiencing a real focus on interior design. Guest rooms and spaces are being designed with storytelling in mind, with the intention of attracting bookings or sharing with their like minded communities on social media. The large hotel chains are investing heavily in brand diversification to ensure they have a brand within their portfolio that can target different generations and reason for travel. Such brand diversification also gives the chains greater flexibility in discussion with hotel owner, investors and developers.’


Whitbread (Premier Inn) remains number one on room count and hotel numbers. For room count, IHG and Travelodge are second and third place respectively.


You won’t be surprised to hear that the budget hotel sector is at the centre of most of the hotel development this year (47% of the total new supply).