"The hotel room of the future must understand the guest - not the other way round"
Shift in values demands new solutions
Globalisation is almost nowhere as present as in the hotel industry. Guests from Asia, Russia and the USA are landing in almost every major city, urban areas are becoming more concentrated and living space is getting more expensive, which is also driving hotel prices up. At the same time, a shift is taking place in the values of young guests. For millennials - and especially for the digital nomads among them - the availability and speed of the internet connection is one of the most important criteria when choosing a hotel. As long as the connectivity is good and there's even a workspace available, they are ready to make concessions when it comes to room size.
The new trend: lean luxury
This shift is being discussed at TECE's second international design & networking meeting. Also on board is Michael Struck, who is a significant step ahead of many competitors with his Ruby hotel chain. As founder and CEO, he has implemented the trend towards "lean luxury" - luxury that people can afford - in his hotels. The rooms are very compact at 16-18 square metres, but profitable because space is scarce and lucrative in the packed inner cities. The concept: an affordable design which focuses on the modern trinity of the well-travelled - freshen up, get connected, sleep.
Sensitivity in bathrooms
Despite all the connectivity, however, hygiene and wellbeing factors are crucial for the guest and the overall impression they receive during their stay. "People don’t complain if they don’t like a rug but they do when there’s no hot water after running the tap for two minutes." summarises Antoine Bourrissoux. And as Director of Design & Technical Services for the European market leader Accor, he knows exactly what he's talking about. Based on his experience with hotel labs, where design, food & drinks are tested on customers ahead of time, he knows that emotion is usually the decisive factor in sales.
Wellbeing factor: the bathroom
- This is where the guest gets ready for the day
- Here they are unprotected and naked
- The bathroom is the space where the guest finds rest after a stressful day and prepares for the night's rest.
Mistakes in bathroom planning are unforgivable
Hotel marketing consultant Hanna Kleber brings the importance of the bathroom down to a single point: "When all is said and done, a hotel room product consists of a bed and, above all, the bathroom". Due to the permanently installed furnishings, planning mistakes are unforgivable here and have a negative effect on the guest's overall impression in the worst cases.
the hotel bathroom of the future
Shower toilets have long since formed part of the hotel room's inventory in Asia and Switzerland. Antoine Bourrissoux knows that it hasn't been possible to implement this on a wide scale in Germany so far due to the high costs. When the time comes, nothing should be unnecessarily complicated, especially not the toilet. All of the participants in the discussion agree that Siri, Alexa and friends will soon make their way into the hotel room. Intuitive operability is top priority, however. "The hotel room of the future must understand the guest - not the other way round". This is how Michael Struck summarises the result of the discussion.