August 10, 2015 | Publications

Why Hoteliers are Twisting Traditional Design

Hotel guests are traveling lighter and smarter. What are they looking for in hotel brands? How are architects and designers adjusting their designs to meet the needs of today’s busy, efficient and connected travelers?

Let’s first explore the preferences of modern-day hotel guests.


Travelers today crave ease, flexibility, and convenience from their hotel choices. At the heart of this is easy and free access to technology. According to a survey by American Express and Skift, free Wi-Fi tops the list of travelers’ most sought after hotel amenity, and, among nearly every age bracket. Guests today demand 24/7 accessibility for both business and pleasure – and this translates into every aspect of the hotel experience from keyless entry to guest rooms designed for technological comfort.


We’re seeing an increase of guest demand for unique and customized hotels with a sense of personality. Travelers today want a true ‘experience.’ Locally sourced design elements and food options have never been more important to accommodate their desire for cultural immersion. Guests also want an improved sense of interaction, leading us to upgrades and renovations of community spaces like bars and lounges and transformations of the traditional lobby into interactive common areas. Travelers want to be connected to their surroundings and each other, even if that means virtually.

Perhaps the most influential guest demand on hotel design is ease. Making it easy for travelers shapes their entire experience from virtual check-in options to personalized service and smartly designed guest rooms, common areas, meeting spaces, you name it. As guests’ needs and desires change over time, it is important to understand what makes their stay as seamless as possible from beginning to end. Think check-in pods instead of oversized reception desks, smaller and more efficient guest room layouts, exposed valet closets, and more that I’ll touch on below.

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