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The New Hospitality Experience

What does hospitality mean in the hotel, retail and residential sectors, how can designers get it right – and how do they risk getting it wrong?

10/12/2019 2 min read
Whether in hotels, workplace receptions, or experiential retail and build-to-rent apartments, hospitality is now the key word. But what this means is changing: suffocating service is being replaced by quiet attentiveness, and knowing customers by name is being challenged by those who value their anonymity.
What does hospitality mean in the hotel, retail and residential sectors, how can designers get it right – and how do they risk getting it wrong?

There are some clear disruptors within the hospitality world at the moment – in particular, data driven hospitality. Questioning the need for technology to deliver a higher level of service and create a smoother pre-arrival experience for different travellers, our panel was divided on the importance of human service in a world of apps and data.

‘Ultimately, we’re trying to deliver a product and service that satisfies the customer’s requirements,’ said Tom McWilliams, Development Director at Property Alliance Group. ‘How that impacts on the built environment will be a real pivotal point – we need to create buildings and spaces that are flexible and sustainable for changing technology and needs of customers.’

This technology, and how it interacts with different generations, is a key indicator for amenities required in current and future hospitality experiences. Customers want something new, not the usual stale business lounge. ‘People want to come back and be able to tell a story to their friends – 40% of people now choose their holidays on where they can take the best photos,’ explained Katy McCann, Managing Director at Travel by Lillingston.

‘When you’re designing and putting so much investment into public area space, you really need to look at the revenue opportunity there, or risk losing it to the restaurant or coworking space around the corner,’ added Emma Dalston, UK Group General Manager for Dalata Hotel Group.

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