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The way ahead

16 July 2004
The way ahead

Carina Billetun
Chief executive, Spaus

"The spa industry boom shows no sign of stagnation across all levels of hotels and types of leisure developments. We are seeing more spa villages competing with golf resorts, as they have a more universal appeal for all generations and interests. In addition, as the population ages, we are likely to see hotel environments include more medically orientated spa centres. Another trend is that parents are now checking into spa hotels with their children. The way to successfully design for the various target groups will be to create a more multifunctional and flexible environment where use of areas can be changed. One thing we can be sure about is that guests today are becoming much more spa-wise and, as expectations rise, it will no longer do to fake the spa experience with pretty, but superficial, design."

Patrick Reardon Executive chairman, Reardon Smith Architects

"The recent clamour over design in hotels has served to make the hotel environment an interesting place to be. It has also generated a hotelkeeping culture that, in many instances, has lost sight of fundamental principles. First and foremost, guests want - and, I would suggest, have always wanted - value for money, cleanliness, security and a personal recognition of their presence. Many ‘design-led' hotels have become hostile places where the environment simply does not leave guests feeling comfortable or inclined to repeat their visit. The future, I believe, belongs to hoteliers and their designers who understand they must focus on return on investment by maximising their property asset and increasing revenue generation by providing what guests actually want."

Gregoir Chikaher Director, Arup & Partners

"Sustainability is emerging as an important driver for innovation and competitiveness, and in the future it will contribute to the long-term financial success of the hospitality industry. Although the hospitality industry is in search of ways to integrate sustainability, energy costs are only about 2.5% of total operating costs, which is not significant enough for hotel developers and operators to embrace development for innovative sustainable solutions. In the future, higher energy costs and legislation, however, will force hoteliers to incorporate the concept of sustainability as part of their business plans."

Jamie Lamb Finance director, Kew Green Hotels

"As people's home lifestyles continue to modernise and improve, more is expected outside the home environment in bars, restaurants, shops and hotels. With the popularity of TV home makeover programmes, advances in broadband technology and the advent of products such as Sky Plus, the bar continues to be raised for the hotel product. Customers have an excellent understanding of technology now, meaning the provision of Wi-Fi, broadband and video on demand in the bedroom will become the norm rather than the exception."

Robert Cook managing director, Malmaison

"Over the past five years or so the industry has been carried away by design. To listen to some people speak, you might imagine that the future of hotels is all about design. Well, it's not. Good design in hotels is now a given, and this design has to keep moving on, but this will not be, or at least should not be, design for design's sake. The future of hotels is about returning to the roots - service. Well-designed hotels now need to rediscover the human touch."

Simon Woodroffe Founder of Yo! Sushi, Yotel! and Yo! Everythingelse

"I believe that the concepts that will thrive in the 21st century are those that offer a superb, stimulating and innovative product at a price you would actually be willing to pay more for, but don't have to. The next decades will see greater change and greater opportunities than history has ever known and commensurate opportunities for imaginative entrepreneurs feeding a public more open to new things than ever in history."

Frank J Croston Joint managing director, Hamilton Hotel Partners

"The key future consumer trends are already evident, but the focus on these issues will increase significantly. More security concerns, more need to be able to work and relax in the same space, better connectivity, better environmental controls - particularly heating, cooling and lighting - and, critically, a better sleep experience. This is the design brief for the next decade, from two- to five-star. Good design will differentiate the winners from the losers, particularly for chain hotels and global brands. The challenge is the enormous cost of keeping pace with increasingly design-savvy customers and delivering their needs cost-effectively."

David Stein Founder of the Stein Group

"Guests feel good design even when they can't see it, and, to borrow a phrase of Coco Chanel's: ‘Luxury must be comfortable or else it is not luxury.' In my view, this means giving guests a sense of ‘coming home'. The design is part of this, but service is equally as important. In my view, increasingly confident hotel guests don't want a cookie-cutter approach to this service, and therefore the hotel manager's task must become that of unlocking individual attitude in his staff. So long as hotels have the right employees in the first place, the message to them is simple: treat guests as you would want to be treated. In the future, hoteliers will do well to orchestrate the service environment as much as they design the physical environment."

To book your place at the European Hotel Design Conference call 01322 611394 or visit www.hoteldesignevent.com

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