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Trends and challenges for the future of the hospitality industry

The very concept of hospitality interior design has been undergoing a quiet sea change in recent years. What industry professionals have long seen as the future of hotel concept and design is now becoming a reality in the minds of the end-consumers of hospitality spaces. Our upholstery fabrics, carefully curated for hotel spaces, not only contribute to the evolving design trends but also embody a tangible, transparent commitment to eco-friendliness.

Keeping pace with hospitality trends isn’t just a nice thing to do. In today’s rapidly changing world, it’s imperative.

So let’s dive in.

Three key ways that hospitality spaces are adapting to meet the changing priorities of their guests

  1. Sustainability: Sustainability in interior design is the number one trend for the future. Why it is on the rise? How to incorporate it into future hospitality projects? In fact, sustainability is a major trend in the hospitality industry. A 2017 survey by Green Lodging News found 68% of hotels had green initiatives in place.
  2. Experience is king: The building of a connection between the consumer and the space itself, by storytelling through human-centric design.
  3. Hotel lobbies are transforming: The ongoing transformation of public spaces within hospitality settings. Lobbies and reception areas just ain’t what they used to be.

Promoting wellness through sustainability

“81% of travellers place importance on properties implementing eco-friendly practices,” Jenny Rushmore, director of responsible travel for TripAdvisor, tells Forbes, “and 88% of U.S. hoteliers indicate that they currently have some green practices in place.”

This move towards sustainable interior design echoes another trend that’s on the rise: self-care and wellbeing, both physically and mentally. How are we seeing this playing out? Let’s start with the basics.

  1. Deeper attention to colour: Colour schemes are very important here: think organic hues and careful neutrals with pops of colour here and there. Colour designers have been advocating for calming palettes and the creation of a natural feel for years.
  2. Natural lighting: Lighting is also a popular topic that is also gaining ground and will be for the near future. We’re not just talking fancy atmospheric lighting: we mean plain old daylight. Recent research has found that natural lighting has many mood-boosting benefits, such as reduction of depression and lowering blood pressure. Because of all of these benefits, even offices and workplaces are restructuring to allow as much natural light in as possible, with the hospitality industry following suit.
  3. Biophilic design: Creating an 'urban jungle' feel ties into millennials’ obsession with houseplants and with the health benefits of bringing the outside indoors. Along with much-needed greenery, natural materials used in interior décor and architecture create restorative environments that go a long way in helping hotel guests end their stay feeling refreshed.

Resilient architecture practices help hotel designers respond to a planet in flux

Light and materials aren’t the only signs that ecological factors will weigh heavily on future hospitality trends. Like every other sector, the hospitality industry is well aware that we’re headed right for a climate crisis, and it’s working hard to mend its ways before it’s too late.

There is a huge push towards a more responsible purchasing strategy within the hospitality industry.

This means opting for more earth-friendly materials on a manufacturing level in order to manage finances in the long term. Not only will this help the bottom line of hotels in general, but an eco-friendly approach to architecture will also help to make them more resilient to the environmental changes that are continuing to happen. This means we’ll be seeing a lot more of dedicated eco-hotels and modular building techniques (as well as modular furniture!).

Related read: Eco-friendly architecture: the importance of sustainable design

From eco-friendly design to experiential hotel interiors

Building a narrative through interior design is a retail-specific trend we’ve seen in recent years. We’ve found that it’s now showing up in hospitality spaces as well.

The basic tenant of this way of thinking is to design for the guests you want. This is because interior design and architecture both set certain expectations in the minds of your guests before they even strike up a conversation at the check-in desk.

Human-centred design is kind of an anti-trend though, in that it’s less about current fads and schools of interior design, and more about meeting human needs in specific spaces.

A hidden benefit of human-centred design for hotel interiors

Another advantage of tailoring your space for its users, rather than the other way around, is that it then naturally boosts your guests’ experience of your hotel or B&B.

It’s a knock-on effect. When people have a good experience of a company, service or space, they’re more engaged. Engagement in today’s tech-heavy landscape translates to more customers, more social shares, amplification of word of mouth marketing.

This kind of interactivity builds a community that is less about the hospitality brand and more concentrated on human need and perception. A natural offshoot of this is how more and more hotels are weaving technology into everyday interactions. Technology is creating the environment, rather than the other way around.

Related read: Innovation, digital technology, and our need for a more sustainable textiles industry

The very concept of the hotel lobby is evolving, too

Public spaces in the hospitality industry are changing; we see this in lobbies, reception areas and even in the bar spaces. One of the factors at play here is the personalisation of interior design.

Even if guest rooms and amenities are the same in all hotels in a chain, the public spaces are the places were the unique personality of individual hotels could shine.

The lines are blurring in the lobbies and reception areas of the future. Retail, reception desk areas, bar spaces and lounge areas are all merging together.

This contributes to a pleasant experience for guests, who feel more at home, and is handy for hotel teams who can double-job between the bar and retail spaces, for example, if necessary.

Related read: Hotel lobbies are transforming, and so is their wall design

Successfully striving for this kind of bespoke interior requires an understanding of the psychology of both kinds of users of these public hospitality spaces: hotel teams and the guests.

There is no point in investing in a beautiful eco-friendly 'green' hotel that is also awkward to keep clean or navigate through. This is where we come back to the focus on human-centric design. We’re seeing this blurring of form and function outside the hospitality industry too, in the creation and re-imagining of co-living/co-working spaces.

The hospitality industry is changing: that's the bottom line

From eco-hotels built from sustainable materials to experiential interior design to the effect of technological advances on interior design, there’s a lot to unpack here. At FibreGuard, our focus on eco-credentials encompasses the design and construction of sustainable eco-hotels, the integration of experiential interior design, and the adoption of technological advancements in order to support and drive the transformation of the design industry towards a more sustainable future.

Why not talk it through with us! We’re always available on our Facebook page. Come on over and let us know what you think.

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