As someone who has been a frequent guest in hotels in the UK, Europe and the Middle East, Jacinda understands what today’s traveler is looking for when choosing somewhere to stay. Here she shares her thoughts on what sways her choice of accommodation in the cities she visits.
When I travel to a location I want to be immersed in the local experience, and I want the place in which I am resting my head to remind me in subtle and maybe overly obvious ways of where I am.
I am not alone in this thought process.
The global hotel branding has evolved to a ‘think globally, act locally’ philosophy, with hotels integrating local design features and products. The past decade has seen the emergence of new, niche hotel brands, the lifestyle hotel brands, for a new generation of travellers, incorporating stylised and individual design elements that bring the guest into the heart of the destination.
Now more than ever, consumers are paying attention to what differentiates one product, service or company from another. Same is not best. Nowadays people prefer products that are unusual. A hotel should have a personality, and cater to the new travellers craving for rare, authentic and meaningful experiences. The experience should be genuine and engaging, connecting the guest to the locality.
So yes, I want to be immersed into the experience, but I also want it to be a seamless experience.
Technology is one way to improve the guest experience. We are all much more tech-savvy, travellers are looking for any technology that makes their life easier. Online or iPad check-ins whilst reclining in a comfortable sofa enjoying a welcoming drink, are all adding to the experience. Smart hotels, with smart in-room technology with guests able to control via their smartphone or personalised tablets everything from room temperature to food service orders.
Mobile check-in and mobile keys are predicted and have the potential to streamline the whole process.
We spend so much of our time indoors and not connected to the natural world, research has shown that today’s humans spend 90 percent of their time indoors or in man-made structures.
I know that when I travel, not only do I want to have an authentic cultural experience, I also want to be connected to the natural world in some way, whether I’m in a high-rise urban environment, or in a remote natural environment.
We all have an innate need to have a relationship with nature, and a space that by creates a good habitat within the built environment assists in this need. A space flooded with natural daylight, or has the gentle breeze of natural ventilation, indoor plants, lush garden, immersive nature views, flowing or still contemplative water, or natural materials, each of these elements no matter how small can have a soothing effect to my soul.
I also love to see when a hotel goes the extra effort in eco-friendly, not just the towel reuse program, but offer guests other glimpses of sustainable thought such as filtered water, recycling programmes, farm to table philosophy sourcing fresh local produce and products.
As the hub of the hotel and the first impression of the guest, it is no wonder this space has witnessed the greatest transformation in hotel design over that last decade. The lobby has responded to the needs of the market, the millennials, the urban nomads and the savvy business travellers, to become an urban transit lounge.
What was a space that was primarily a place to check in or out, a spacious waiting area or thoroughfare, the lobby is now akin to a living -room space, it is warm and inviting, with multifunctional spaces to relax, organise, meet, greet, eat or work in with groups of lounge-type seating of different layouts providing both intimate and social zones.