Added: 29 April 2021
The new formats focus on the environment and digitisation, but without forgetting new types of rooms and larger common areas.
Comfort, multi-functionality and a green approach. These are the keywords of tomorrow’s hotellerie, as perceived by Nicola De Pellegrini, architect and designer with a focus on the hotel sector. “In the past few years, the question for the sector has always been how to acquire younger consumers and how to ride the new trends,” he said in an interview with Il Sole Ore Sole 24 Ore. He stressed that the new generations are much more attentive to the values of sustainability than baby boomers: “Younger people are less attracted to details such as luxury fittings, while they are more demanding about the functionality of spaces.” The inevitable consequence is that the hotel of the future will have to be planned around new formats.
Starting with the rooms, which must not only be designed for overnight stays but must be multi-functional, meaning capable of allowing smart working during the day. In the foreground, there is also the idea of comfort for the traveller, a concept that especially in large hotel chains will take the place of luxury and beauty. Therefore, the rooms will be larger, less noisy, with good light and air quality; and perhaps, also equipped with fitness equipment, preferable to gyms in common areas. But there’s more because it will have to become easier to request services and meals in the room, perhaps with touchless controls.
The hygiene aspect will be a separate issue so that even the furniture will probably feature antibacterial materials. “People who enter the room must have the feeling that it is clean and sanitised,” said De Pellegrini. “Thus, traditional carpets will no longer fit and will be replaced either by bactericidal and sustainable carpets or by other materials that are easier to sanitise”. Not to mention that marketing and communication will also have to be rethought: a traveller entering a hotel room should always have the feeling of being in a clean and pleasant place, without feeling that he is in a “sanitised clinic”.
Big changes are also expected in the common areas, as the wishes of old and new travellers alike will focus on larger and brighter spaces, possibly connected to the outdoor areas so that they can also stay outdoors. And speaking of digital, the check-in and check-out areas will be reduced, if not completely disappear thanks to the boom in apps and online management services, including room service.
Last but not least, in the hotel industry of tomorrow, green spaces will play a key role: more plants both indoors and outdoors. “Plants purify the air and send a positive message,” says De Pellegrini, adding: “The hotels of the future will also feature a charging station for electric cars, which will perhaps replace petrol or diesel cars in a few years’ time.