Remodeled Bathroom (Image from laterooms.com)
It isn’t easy to be cool. And hospitality design is a cutting edge market. A national hotel brand knows design and technology are key factors in property improvement plans.
Properties that want to maintain their status with a national hotel brand undergo regular inspections to make sure their property meets the standards of the brand. During the recession a few years ago, there was some leniency in compliance, but since 2011 national brands are less likely to look the other way. There has been a conscious attrition of properties by the savvy big names who know that they have to compete in each market by scrutinizing and discerning customers.
Today’s customers are technically plugged-in. They are informed and that doesn’t give a hotel property much wiggle room when it comes to meeting expectations. National brand websites promote an experience that needs to be delivered whether in Anchorage or Miami.
Hotels that want to establish a relationship with a national hotel brand have a rigorous review. Existing hotels that haven’t updated their properties in the last 3-5 years are being challenged by the costs related to required updates.
The areas that challenge the existing property and could be higher priorities on a PIP (Property Improvement Plan) include:
- From registration to check in, in-room stay and checkout, the customer expects to control their experience through their online capabilities.
- In-room TV’s are monitors with streaming TV, and customer access to their business and personal sites needs to be immediate.
- Customers want the ability to make their home for a night meet their needs. Whether that means writing a business report, taking along a pet, eating in, exercising in or conducting a virtual business meeting.
- If properties haven’t updated since 2011, they are faced with changes in customer expectations in lighting, bedding, finishes and furnishings (in that order).
- Not that long ago the pool and fitness center was a “must have”, and while still preferred for general business and personal accommodations, it is out-ranked by giving the guest enough room in their room to be able to exercise. Resort hotels still need fitness centers, pools and spas.
- While today’s guest doesn’t need a real front desk, they do need at least the ability to find a small meal, a beverage, the equivalent of a local concierge or “helper”.
Hotel developers who are building today, find the requirements by a national hotel brand to be both more specific and strict, but also more consultative. Brands are very eager to have strategically placed and built properties and those requirements come with costs, so most hotel companies want to appear to be and in most cases, be helpful.
r.o.i. Design is seeing an emerging trend in national hotel brands that further separates those properties from the boutique hotels and the resort hotels. The boutique and resort hotels are able to provide unique style and services based on a developer or regional preference. Customers are discerning and are deciding if their stay requires a national brand, a boutique hotel or a resort experience.
Today, wall art and décor in interior design is significant; it has the interest of the guest and is taking a larger portion of the remodeling and new construction budget.
Corridor Photo from HotelArts. CA
This trend in part is based on the emerging custom wall paper and specialty graphics category that is merging wall finishes with wall art. Technology has made custom printing and custom manufacturing fueling creativity in hospitality interior design.
Wall art is seen in public areas but also in corridors, sleeping areas, and vanity areas. It can be also seen on advertising, marketing and TV’s within the guest suites.
What is considered viable wall art now?
Guests accept items hung on the wall or covering the wall to be viable “décor” when
- The subject matter reflects the local area in content or creator
- It is graphic design reflecting either property brand or current trends
- The “art” is recognizable as current style in trend based on their own experience of media and current events
- The technology or method of producing is current and of interest (i.e. custom wall paper or oversized graphics)
How does an owner create a wall art program?
- Most interior design firms now provide art selection and art design services.
- Local graphic designers and art galleries are prepared to offer custom programs.
Image from The Guardian Pe. CA
What is the ROI of a wall art program?
A wall art program can promote and connect with regional organizations in either content or reference. This connection exposes the property to a non-user audience, promoting future business.
A wall art program can be copyrighted and be considered an asset of the property, being used in marketing, advertising and social media. Reprints can become “products for sale” through the property’s channels.
When a hospitality property can further describe their brand through visuals, that can also be considered “art”, it creates emotional and lasting impressions with their customers.
Wall art in hospitality is one of many ways properties are trying to be personal, expressing their values and interests. Art makes personal connections, a valuable asset in building customer loyalty.
Updating an interior by changing wall art and décor is far less disruptive than changing an architectural finish. It allows owners to “update” without upsetting room rentals.
Lori and Jack Haveman called r.o.i. Design in the summer of 2012, they got our name from architect Don Smalligan. And it turns out 20 plus years ago our previous company, Designers Workshop, made their exterior sign!
Pre-Remodeling Store Interior
We met and found we worked well with their team and we were engaged to plan their store remodel. They were taking on more space and looked to create better offices, floral design areas, and additional retail floor space. We collaborated with them and came up with a plan that looked to address all their needs.
Through the process we had a unique “find”. Looking for a natural loft look, TonTin Lumber had some reclaimed Ash that was beautiful. They purchased from the city of Grand Rapids the trees that had been taken down because of the “Ash Borer”. The new room is lined with this Ash and the ceiling is clad with maple plywood.
And keeping with the theme “Girls just want to have fun”, a hot pink was incorporated in key areas. It compliments the Vera Bradley displays and makes all the green floral stuff, pop!
We introduced them to Pinnacle Construction, who bid the work around Labor Day. They said they could get the work done by the first week of November. We knew they could do it and encouraged Kennedy to hire them and start the process. Everyone else they talked to said they were crazy, no one could remodel a whole store in 10 weeks and stay open!
A few dozen design changes, and a few “whoops”, the remodel was 95% by their Holiday Open House November 15, 2012. Looks great!
New Cash Counter in use October 28