When you choose a hotel for either business or personal travel, you expect more than simply a positive check-in experience and fast Wi-Fi. In today’s extremely competitive environment, hotels are focusing on the total guest experience to set their hotel apart and drive increased revenue with engaging decor, unique amenities, cutting-edge technologies and personalized services to bring guests back again and again. Now, other sectors are also taking cues from the hospitality industry, with a laser focus on the human experience.
Human-focused, creative hotel design is changing the way we think of the guest experience. Once a place just for check-in, today’s hotel lobby might be a coworking space, a coffee bar, an exhibit space, a social center — or all of the above. Yesteryear’s bland business centers are being replaced with home-like libraries or casual living rooms, as at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel. Once an afterthought, the new hotel fitness center is drawing from the state-of-the-art equipment and programming found in your local health club.
In the context of today’s competition for employees and customers, hospitality is a natural source of inspiration for the office, retail and healthcare sectors. After all, hotels are all about catering to guest preferences with unique experiences that inspire people to return.
Shopping as a Guest Experience, and Vice Versa
Leading retailers have always created distinct and memorable store experiences. However, as detailed in JLL’s Retail Amenities guide, some are taking their brands a step further with new consumer touchpoints.
At lululemon’s New York City flagship store, for instance, shoppers can mingle in communal spaces, including an in-store kitchen and a fitness studio. Hip brands, like The Row in New York City, blur the line between store and comfortable living through the unique curation of furniture and decorations.
Even the movies are getting more hospitable. AMC Theaters is offering reserved seating, plush recliners and an innovative dining service in select theaters. Patrons can put their feet up, order and enjoy unique food and beverages — and even use a seat warmer.
Meanwhile, retailers like West Elm, Shinola, Restoration Hardware and Equinox are launching their own hotel brands to give devoted consumers the opportunity to live the brand lifestyle. Equinox, the upscale fitness center chain, is launching its own luxury fitness-oriented hotels in New York City and Los Angeles.
Some hotels, in turn, are becoming retailers. Chicago’s Ace Hotel, for instance, encourages guests to purchase room items, like a custom Pendleton blanket or a wings-and-horns hoodie. El Cosmico in Marfa, Texas, sells clothing, books and even its own fragrance to augment its guestrooms for “adventurers and wanderers.”
An Office that’s as Comfortable as a Home — or a Luxury Hotel
Across many industries, the war for talent is inspiring C-suite leaders to view the workplace as a tool for attracting and retaining talent, and for boosting productivity. In preparing for the future of work, these companies are putting the human experience front and center.
Office ambience is becoming more home-like — or hotel-like — with office designs incorporating comfortable furniture and appealing colors and textures. Just as a hotel offers guestroom options, human-focused offices are providing workspace options for different kinds of work.
Hyatt’s Chicago headquarters, for example, emulates the Hyatt hospitality experience. Along with team suites and meeting spaces, every floor has a collaborative open space for working, eating, drinking alcohol or coffee, or casual meetings—and the main reception area even has a fireplace. At JLL’s “Workplace of the Future” Chicago headquarters, employees can choose to work in the onsite café, complete with baristas and comfortable chairs and tables.
In Redmond, Washington, Microsoft is redesigning its massive campus to include flexible floor plans, with light-filled atriums, social hubs, collaborative workspaces — and splashes of color. And, it will offer places to recharge, such as sports fields, outdoor patios, walking trails and a fitness center.
The Hospitable Hospital
Hospitals, too, have taken a page from the hospitality playbook. While many hospitals have incorporated residential touches such as appealing art and furnishings over the past decade, some are increasing their focus on the whole patient. Numerous studies have shown that going to the hospital is inherently stressful, so creating a more hospitable environment aims to reduce the stress and improve patient outcomes.
For instance, some healthcare providers are providing on-demand entertainment and more food choices. On the design front, some are incorporating terraces, rooftop gardens and picture windows for relaxing outdoor views, while bringing nature indoors with wood paneling, decorative stone elements, water features and “living walls” of greenery. Bathrooms are becoming more luxurious, too, with hotel-like fixtures, finishes and materials designed for the clinical setting.
As the hospitality, healthcare, retail and office sectors converge, the central theme is that people matter the most. Whether you’re trying to attract and retain employees, shoppers or overnight guests, thoughtful hospitality-influenced design and related services will help you get to the heart of the experience.
David Black is Managing Director, Hotel Project and Development Services, for JLL.