According to Clinton Bull, director of hospitality at international architecture practice SSH, the millennial traveller market segment is gaining more and more influence on hospitality design in the region.
“This generation of traveller has turned the industry on its head,” he said. “The industry in general is taking note of this as brands are adapting to the new generation in terms of the type of lifestyle choices, social habits, spending preferences and authentic experiential travel required.”
Bull noted that architects need to be mindful of sustainability, from sustainably resourced building materials to landscaping space for hotels and growing their own produce on-site.
“This must be married with the high demand for technology, which is fundamental to survive in the 21st century,” he said. “Lightning-fast Wi-FI, the Internet of Things, automation of tasks, multi-device connectivity and multifunctional meeting spaces are some of the items expected to be available as a minimum today.”
Bull, who also highlighted the impact of social media and people’s compulsion to share moments with followers, added that such details must culminate in a smooth and enjoyable guest experience, which should be tied to the local culture of the hotel's country.
“Architects must therefore build flexibility of design into hotel projects to account for changing market requirements,” he said, “while providing the ultimate guest experience, juggling design, technology, and construction budget, among other factors, to deliver a signature hospitality property that guests will want to return to or recommend to their social media following.”
Bull further noted that the impact of new-generation travellers can also be seen in the shift to provide multipurpose, co-shared spaces with the ability to “swap out, expand or transform spaces in some way to enable their use in multiple ways.”
“Guest rooms are traditionally pure resting spaces,” he said. “New trends have shown guest preferences to being able to exercise in their room to work off jetlag, for example. The biggest instigator is travelling across multiple time zones and arriving at your destination wide awake as your new time zone is 12 hours ahead.
“This kind of multipurpose design incorporated into hotel properties makes such spaces more efficient, more cost-effective, more engaging and, ultimately, offers hotel guests more options for entertainment and enjoyment as you can now stay in the lobby and enjoy the mixologist offerings, rather than having to go outside of the hotel to experience the local offerings.”