In October 2016, Olivier Delhomme, principal of Belgium-based fire retardant fabric brand FR-One, visited New Zealand. During his visit Olivier spoke at an event run by The Designers Institute of NZ that presents topics of interest for spatial designers.
THE MILLENIAL IMPACT
The hotel industry has always thrived with new ideas and concepts from landmark architectural prowess to lifestyle focussed vertical cities. It is now being reshaped by social change and we are witnessing the emergence of a new generation of customers who will redefine the industry.
According to travel industry experts, next year will see millennials (born between 1980 and 2000) become the primary consumer market and the largest spending demographic in tourism travel.
It is millennials who are driving concepts that are profoundly affecting the redistribution of space within the hotel industry and are redefining the “raison d’être” of Hoteliers.
Hotels are Olivier’s customers and as a guest, he is theirs. Travelling the world for more than 220 days’ a year, Olivier is exposed to the multitude of design dimensions that are possible today. An industry professional, Olivier has amassed a comprehensive knowledge of the furnishing fabrics and furniture industries, both in Europe and internationally.
Olivier offered his insights into the impact that millennials are having on the future of hotel design and shared his vision for hotel trends in 2017. It was a fascinating and visually-rich presentation that had all attendees captivated and provided a great discussion afterwards.
Listen to Olivier’s talk below (although you’ll have to excuse the amateur footage and background noises!) and click here to view a pdf of Olivier’s slides for reference.
In summary, Olivier shared the following insights:
1. Millennials have a desire to travel, discover and experience as opposed to owning property and assets. We are seeing a different focus for the modern millennial traveller – they are experience rich, and asset poor and this freedom allows them more time to travel.
2. According to UNWTO the 2020 Tourism Vision sees the global population getting wealthier and increasing travel. The importance on catering for the tourist is getting higher.
3. We are seeing an increase in travellers from East Asia.
4. Travellers have different objectives and are looking for new ways of travelling.
5. Hotels are looking to create captive and engaged audiences that will return and/or recommend.
6. In some cases we are starting to see ‘mini hubs’ proposed where everything is in one place so that guests have easy access. For example hotels with multiple restaurants, across varying price points, to capture both formal and casual diners. Hoteliers are in effect building a golden cage to capture the traveller and their money.
7. Interaction with the customer begins before they even enter the hotel.
8. Public spaces are given more focus and prominence, becoming much more usable and engaging with the guest and less traditional and formal. These spaces are packed with colour and detail to stimulate both paid hotel guests as locals who will visit as a destination space to dine and drink.
9. The desk in the lobby is almost disappearing as it blends into the social and public spaces.
10. Hoteliers are looking at designing social spaces around a modern relationship with work – where the line between working/not working is blurred. Guests want to connect and engage while still having the ability to have access to business.
11. Visual interest and online interaction is becoming more and more prevalent. Millennials are looking for ‘social-media worthy’ moments to capture and share.
12. Hoteliers are looking at collaborations with artists and creatives to create impacting design and to make their hotel a ‘visual experience’ with greater opportunities for the guest to promote the hotel via social media.
17. Technology in rooms is becoming more prominent, for example we will start to see digital screen’s replacing traditional televisions allowing guests to access their own streaming services.
18. We are starting to see traditional items such as desks, tables and chairs removed as they become redundant. Hotel guests are more likely to eat and work from their beds rather than other furniture. Instead, alternative ideas are proposed, like exercise equipment.
19. Wardrobes also become redundant as hoteliers recognise that travellers are only temporary and therefore not unpacking.
20. Minimalist and more functional spaces are required.
21. Luxury and premium suites still require a level of opulence. You will see a 50/50 ratio of bedroom to bathroom space giving the guest a feeling of being in a spa.
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