The conference, as always, was fantastic, our key takeaways were:
- There’s still a way to go to recover to 2019 levels, but generally, there’s been a positive uptick in hotel occupancy, which has doubled if you compare last year to 2020.
- Many hoteliers are looking to be more flexible in the way they utilize public space. For example, Dream Hotel Group has transformed its lobbies into a gallery, which has led to an increase in foot traffic and improved drink sales.
- Isabel Pintado, Senior Vice President of Design & Innovation at Four Seasons was advocating for design consultants to come onto a project as early as possible, creating a strong design narrative from the offset, as opposed to input later, which inevitably leads to delays.
- And, as you would expect, the seismic shift in work was a theme much discussed at the conference. Wellness was discussed in conjunction with the demand from guests that a hotel should be supporting them in maintaining their regimes. Shafi Syed echoed this theme when talking about the high proportion of guests staying in Equinox Hotels who make use of the gym. Where work was mentioned it was about how we facilitate and improve a guest’s ability to work in a hotel – Gary Dollens of Hyatt lamented the inadequate desk in his room that made working difficult.
“My observation is that whilst there we are free to explore modes and patterns of work that can radically alter our own lives for the better we are somehow letting these opportunities slip through the wellness filter unchecked. How are we supporting our guest’s in establishing a healthy relationship to their work when they stay?”