The recent onslaught of new hotel brands, many of them targeted toward millennials, begs the question: Are hotels truly being designed with just one generation in mind?
Yes and no, sources said. Many hotels are being designed in ways that are inspired by millennials but also universally appeal to multiple generations and types of travelers.
“From a generational and design side … we’re not so much focusing on Gen X, Gen Y, baby boomers, millennials,” said Harry Wheeler, principal at design firm Group One Partners. “People don’t always act within their age group. We have some baby boomers who are very tech-savvy—and they tweet, and they’re online, and they act like millennials—and some millennials that are raised in a different way so they are acting like a Gen Xer.
“We don’t look at it from an age standpoint but rather from a design standpoint, and ‘how do we reach everybody?’”
Wheeler said it’s about making the hotel design approachable and accessible from an intuitive standpoint.
“It should still be comfortable and hit all touch points,” he said. “It should be cool and interactive.”
An example of that “cool and interactive” design can be seen in what the group did at Boston’s Envoy Hotel, which is part of Marriott International’s Autograph Collection. The hotel lobby houses what appears to be a standard pool table, but upon further inspection is revealed to be a full-size iPad that guests can play pool or other interactive games on. Guests can also use it to check email or accomplish any other tasks that they could on a regular-sized iPad.
“It’s something that was millennial-focused, but all people still approach it because it looks like a pool table,” Wheeler said.