The future of hotel room design

By Dean Evans, Technology Writer

The future of hotel room design will embrace technology - Brandstand

When you think about the ‘hotel of the future’, you might think interactive mirrors, robot room service and voice-controlled lighting. But design changes might be less dramatic. In a hospitality world reshaped by Covid-19, hotels are already starting to improve the guest experience in small but significant ways.

The future of hotels after Covid

Hotels were quick to adapt during the pandemic, introducing extra safety measures to reassure future guests. Radisson Hotels, for example, introduced a ‘20-step cleaning and safety protocol’ [1]. The steps range from maintaining physical distancing measures and improving overall air circulation to using cash-free payments and disinfecting the TV remote.

While hotels won’t (and can’t) compromise on cleanliness, labor shortages and a decline in business travel have forced some chains to streamline their operations. Hilton now encourages guests to use its Hilton Honors app to check in and check out, and as a digital room key. And in many Hilton hotels, housekeeping services are no longer complimentary. Instead, guests are invited to “tailor their housekeeping services to their comfort level." [2] 

The future of hotel room design

During the pandemic, some hotels experimented with different ways to use their unused spaces. The Lidköping Stadshotellet in Sweden used its 67 guest rooms as individual ‘pop-up restaurants’ for socially-distanced dining. While hotel chains like Hyatt marketed its empty rooms as ‘day use offices’ to attract remote workers. These examples point towards a future where hotel rooms can be multifunctional, hosting a range of hospitality services.

Architecture Today [3] seems to agree. It believes that future hotel rooms “will require greater spatial flexibility so that they can accommodate both extended and shortened periods of stay, as well as work and exercise facilities.”

This will mean rethinking room layouts and decluttering.  We might see upholstery and carpeting disappear, replaced by smooth surfaces that are easier to clean. Or a new emphasis on biophilic design for wellness - connecting guests to nature by incorporating more plants, as well as using natural materials like stone and wood.

The future of hotel room technology 

Against this backdrop of change, hotel room technology will continue to evolve. Concierge apps are already replacing room service calls, while a trend for touchless interfaces is seeing hotels think about infrared motion sensor faucets in bathrooms, guest room tablets, voice-controlled thermostats, plus improved Wi-Fi, power and charging options. The buzzword is ‘self-service’, empowering guests with the right technology to control their guest experience.

Hotels have often strived to make their guest rooms a ‘home away from home’ and this approach is guiding fresh upgrades to in-room entertainment. Forget cable TV. Hotels are now providing TVs with easy access to Netflix, Bluetooth speakers for podcast/music playback, plus extra power outlets for guests to keep their phones and other devices charged. Integrated power solutions can also include USB charging ports and wireless charging functionality.

For more about the future of hotel room design, including some of the latest trends for 2022 and beyond, view or download our infographic below.

Click here to view/download The Future of Hotel Room Design (PDF).

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