By Hospitality Head of Design, dwp| design worldwide partnership
How can we create memorable experiences that also creates profit for hotel owners?
In the Instagram era, it doesn’t matter whether your hotel is five-star or frugal – guests expect it to look good. But beauty without business performance is just artistic showboating, says dwp’s Hospitality Lead, Kirk Ellis.
“Like any top tier design firm, dwp can create stunning spaces and extraordinary guest experiences. But beautiful design is the basic price of admission in most hotels. Our mission is to deliver much more than beauty,” Kirk says.
The role of today’s designer is to demonstrate how a design can deliver a higher return on investment. And this means functionality, operations and revenue generation opportunities must be front and centre.
“The first step in the design process is to understand the client’s business,” Kirk explains. “This uncovers opportunities for spaces that are not only attractive, but functional, original, durable and profitable too.”
Form, function and flow on a Playt
Beauty and the bottom line work hand-in-hand at Playt, the all-day dining restaurant at Hong Kong’s Park Lane Pullman. Inspired by street-style restaurants found in great global cities, the design incorporates industrial finishes of concrete and raw bricks, and playful works from celebrated street artist Victoriano. These industrial finishes are durable and easy to maintain.
But this success story is about more than aesthetics. All the food stations feature open kitchens, so guests can watch the chefs at work. And the separate carving stations, each with different seating arrangements, allows guests to seek out their perfect meal just as they would from a street vendor. Meanwhile, a central kitchen saves on costs and enhances functionality.
“What could have been a homogenous space is transformed into an opportunity for culinary exploration. And what could have been a large and lacklustre dining hall, is instead a series of intimate spaces that flow,” Kirk says, adding that the design clearly works, “because Playt is packed out each weekend with both visitors and locals”
A buzzing venue that boosts revenues
Bangkok’s Ibis Styles, located on bustling Khoa San Road, also demonstrates how smart design and savvy business decisions can align. The Thai themed all-day dining restaurant is connected to a second outlet that opens directly onto a street that never sleeps. Guests can choose from the Oven-style in-house bakery, café or tapas bar, and soak up the urban atmosphere. But even more importantly, the venue attracts people wandering down the strip – many of whom may never step into the lobby of the hotel.
“This simple design solution has created a buzzing food experience, while boosting the owners’ revenues,” Kirk explains.
The opportunities to marry inspired design with business imperatives are endless.
“Does the hotel need a spa – a feature which rarely makes money – or would a rooftop bar or conference facility bring in more revenue? Does a small hotel room necessarily mean a smaller room rate, or can we create a sense of space through clever design? These are the sorts of questions we ask during the design process,” Kirk adds.
“The investment in a hotel is large and the payback period is long. The stakes are high and the competition fierce. That’s why the best hotel designs don’t just create memorable experiences. They also make money.
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From small, voracious, entrepreneurial beginnings, since 1994, dwp has flourished into an award-winning, one-stop integrated design service, with global reach. Even in the most challenging of locations, over 450 multi-cultural professionals work together to deliver architecture, interior design, planning and project coordination, across borders, to the highest international standards. We are 450 design professionals who are defining a new world built on the insights of people who love the spaces we design. We deliver architecture, interior design and planning across borders, to the highest standards, in close collaboration with our clients.