With the world still very much in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s hard to imagine life returning to normal. And even once the outbreak is under control, experts agree “normal” will look different moving forward. This is particularly true for the travel world. The industry would be one of the most at risk if another pandemic were to strike and is why key changes will have to be made.
But what are those? I tapped architect Michael Hsu to find out. He and his team of Houston & Austin architects recently created a strategy for post COVID spaces- from homes and residential spaces to restaurants and retail. Here he shares his predictions for what hotels will look like in the future.
Private Spaces Will Become More Important
“Hotel buildings will likely be less dense, offering more spaces and separation between units. Cottages, compound style, and self-contained accommodations will be more readily available, offering guests larger, private spaces. Hoteliers will opt to reduce dependency on hotel towers and elevators. Stairways will be upgraded and designed in a way that is intended for daily guest use. Stairways will become part of the hotel experience with thoughtful lighting and design, rather than simply a fire exit. Local guests and those within driving distance of the product will become a more important target audience for hotels, focusing on staycation travelers rather than long-distance airplane travelers.”
Check-In And Check-Out Times Could Disappear
“Hotel arrival will be fluid and offer guests the option for a contactless check-in and departure experience. Lovely self-parking opportunities will allow guests to skip valet if desired. Voice-activated, touchless and keyless entries will be adopted. Door to door travel services will be offered more readily at the luxury level, safely escorting guests from wherever they are to their accommodations and back home.”
Guest Rooms Will Have Outdoor Space, Private Dining And Work Stations
Guest rooms will be designed with decks, balconies, and patios that offer private and small group outdoor spaces. Rooms will have operable windows to allow access to fresh air and ample daylighting and natural UV light. Kitchen type amenities will be more readily available. In-room, private dining with upgraded options and service varieties will be available as guests will take advantage of this offering more often to avoid crowded, public dining rooms and to accommodate extended stays and family gatherings. Guest room storage spaces will shift from enclosed drawers and bureaus to open-air shelves and a variety of hanging rods. Rooms will offer more space for remote working.
Custom Dining Will Be The Norm
“Customized dining experiences will be prominent and utilize hotel grounds. Resort wide dining reservations will ensure reduced crowding while eating. Special dining experiences will be highlighted, even within rooms, to allow for a fully tailored event with thoughtfully curated themes and accents like floral arrangements, films, playlists, and party favors. Attendant entrances and elevators will allow for more fluid service and removal of in-room dining trays and service items.”
Outdoor Amenities Will Be A Priority
“Outdoor amenities will be critical, with ample space for distancing. Cabanas may be converted into office and wellness spaces, available by reservation. Larger pools and pools with more sections for groups of different sizes will allow for more exclusive experiences. Private outdoor club level spaces will be available for higher-end room offerings.”