COVID-19: Accelerated Wellness Trends in Hospitality Design
By Manny Dominguez Principal, Cooper Carry | August 02, 2020
While the novel coronavirus pandemic paused travel worldwide, the crisis has not paused our wanderlust or business needs. More than half of companies (54%) expect corporate travel to begin in the near future, according to the Global Business Travel Association. As guests begin to consider travel plans – whether for business or leisure – they will come with new expectations.
Hotel guests will seek out evolved environments that emphasize health and wellbeing - places where they have a perceived sense of safety so they can relax and connect with others, face to face. After sheltering-in-place, many will approach the opportunity to travel again with a fresh sense of intentionality, mindfulness and cautious optimism. As hospitality designers, we are focused on creating beautiful spaces where people feel inherently comfortable under these new circumstances.
Design solutions should extend beyond tape on the floors, temporary signage and increased sanitation measures. There is an opportunity to rethink common area layouts, incorporate contactless technology, create stronger connections with the outdoors, reimagine the dining experience and space furniture so that it feels purposeful, even at a distance. Simple design tricks like adding mirrors to walls and plants to empty spaces can create a pleasant sense of energy in a less populated, socially distant space. Although change comes with challenges, the hospitality industry - which thrives on the pulse of evolution, innovation and service for others - is poised to tackle this head on.
Through smart, design-oriented solutions and strategic modifications to hospitality environments, there is an opportunity to deliver a hotel experience that resonates with today's newly health-conscious guests and usher in the next era of hospitality, where a strong commitment to wellness serves as a new gold standard for our industry.
Hands Free, Carefree
Just as airlines are encouraging passengers to bypass lengthy check-in lines by checking in through mobile apps, hotels have been experimenting with virtual check-ins and using smartphones as room keys. This is sure to become the new normal, as hoteliers and guests look for ways to reduce contact where possible - or at least provide the option for it.