The Perfect Hotel February 2018

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The most recent Office for National Statistics Travel Trends report states that there was a record number of visits to the UK in 2016 – 37.6 million to be precise, 4% more than in 2015. Between them, our overseas guests spent £22.5 billion while on their holidays. And a big chunk of this cash is being spent in hotels and restaurants: The Statistics Portal reveals that the hotel industry generates an approximate turnover of £18.4 billion. A case in point that nothing short of excellent will do. 

In the last issue we explored how and why perceptions of perfection vary depending on the guest profile. For the first Impression of 2018, we’re concentrating on two out of the seven personalities: THE BUSINESSPERSON and the PARENT. For jet-setting professionals, it’s all about a quick and efficient experience, including seamless virtual and technological infrastructures, plus the creature comforts – a decent bed, shower and blackout blinds will make their jolt into different time zones that little bit smoother. And for those on the go, with kids in toe, a safe, comfortable, fun place, complete with robust, practical furniture, is just what the family needs on their getaway – ensuring mum and dad can break away from all the play.

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‘For those away on business, quick and efficient but personalised check-in is one of the key considerations when designing a hotel. Guests must feel that the service is customised to their particular needs, preferences and wishes, and the space must create a sense of location as well as a feeling of excitement. They need clear and simple information about how things work, ie. shower controls, TV and any other technology, and good connectivity for Wi-Fi. It’s also important to consider international sockets for charging and to create a comfortable workspace with controllable lighting.’ – Charles Leon, President, the British Institute of Interior Design

‘Comfort is key in the design of business hotels. Business guests often have gruelling travel and meeting schedules, giving them very little time to relax and recuperate. On top of that they are far from home and often travelling alone. Aim to provide business guests with a good night’s rest in a really comfortable bed – along with a great shower, as they often don’t have the time for a long bath, welcoming public areas with good F&B provision and space to work, exercise and relax.’ – Una Barac, Founder and Executive Director, Artelior

‘Business travellers require a good quality bed and a varied choice of pillow type for a comfortable night’s sleep, good blackout windows are also beneficial for those who may be overcoming jetlag. For those that need to work from their hotel room, a sufficient desk space with a comfortable chair and good lighting is important, as well as well-placed and easy to reach sockets, preferably with USB outlets. For when a business traveller wants to take a break from their laptop, a well-stocked minibar and hot drink facilities are a must, as well as a good size TV to enjoy. In the bathroom, a well-lit mirror with a de-mister is invaluable when they are running late for that important 9am meeting. – Richard Morton, Director of Interior Design, Alexander James International

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‘A lot of hotels still get it wrong when it comes to the family market. A roll-out or Z-bed option for kids is just too downmarket for anything but the budget sector. If this is a serious target demographic for the operator, then clever design – and resorts do this especially well – means a well-managed footprint at x1.5 normal size, with a good quality daybed converting into a bed at night or, ideally, a smaller connected room that still permits adult autonomy.’ – Martin Goddard, Director & Co-founder, Goddard Littlefair

‘Kids, especially younger ones, will use a room quite differently from adults and need more robust materials, versatile storage and a colour scheme that’s less muted than the currently-prevalent sophisticated shades. Families will often have the greatest number of users of technology and so free WiFi and a good number of power ports are important to minimise stress, as well as comfy chairs and flat surfaces for play and tablet use.’ – Chris Gwyther, Managing Director, Phoenix Wharf

‘The one thing parents with young children want is somewhere safe and comfortable for them to crash in. Families with young children are often working around nap times to plan their days away and so will tend to have a lot of evenings in. The perfect hotel room will have a small area where parents can escape to whilst the little ones sleep. Have well-resourced kitchenettes and bedding – the last thing parents want is to have to call services every five minutes!’ – Natasha Gupta, Founder, Blue Feather Design Studio

‘A key factor is the entertainment and leisure activity either in the hotel or in the local area, where families can spend time together and kids have something to do, like a good games area with cafe. There should be sufficient space for opening luggage, as well as connecting rooms, in-room entertainment and easy connectivity to WiFi, preferably free. Parents and families must feel that someone cares about who they are and about their needs.’ – Charles Leon, President, the British Institute of Interior Design