Reflecting market demand

You decided that your accommodation design should be aligned with the expectations of your target markets, in terms of function and style. Bear in mind that providing solutions that match any unique situation requires some careful thinking.

Here are some tips to increase your accommodation appeal according to the fastest growing interior design trends that shape up today’s hospitality scene:

 Rethinking guestroom configurations: Office amenities inside rooms for business travelers, interesting looking TV panels and an extra sofa next to the king-sized bed are just some of the key “ingredients” for a trendy room. Color explosions and eclectic decor mixes appeal to guests wanting to experience unique accommodation

 Bringing nature inside: Wood panels, stone decorative elements and lush greenery are just some of the elements employed to release this tension

 Boutique accommodations: There is an unprecedented trend to personalize spaces. Pop-up and modular hospitality operations or themed guestrooms have a strong impact.

 A home away from home: Coziness is a major factor to consider. Wood additions, inspired decorating items, carpets, curtains, a fireplace, a TV set and the possibility to play your guest’s favorite music add up to a memorable stay.

 SPA-like bathroom: If you focus on the luxury segment you should consider investing extra money in the bathrooms. Those tourists like to be pampered and they don’t see bathrooms as auxiliary rooms. By adding features like giant and extra soft towels, big bathtubs and beauty items you can be more competitive.

 Technology orientation: Offer the possibility of adjusting lighting, air conditioning and even window blinds through smartphones; place PC tablets at check-in for printing boarding passes; provide free Wi-Fi everywhere; plug your guests in!

  • Read an interview with the hotel design consultant on the importance of design in today’s hospitality scene from the (in English)
  • Read more about the financial impact of hotel renovations here* (in English) 

*Source: Hotel Interior Design: The Business of Great Hotel Interior Design

  Reflecting local place authenticity

Your accommodation design is great to tell a bit of its location. Emulating the local style and employing vernacular exterior and interior design can help you stand out and stir unexpected traveler flows even towards the most far-away destinations. Here are some ideas on how to showcase your local area competitive advantages through design-led practices:

  Get inspiration from local architecture, building techniques and materials. Follow the local architectural trends and benefit from their wisdom both environmental and financial-wise. Look at the side material for some ideas for your country.

 Introduce local architectural/ design practices to go greener. Traditional building design strategies demonstrate a range of passive solar design strategies and techniques to bring environmental comfort to occupants

  Focus on local art to decorate your accommodation. Adding local art in design scheme will improve guests’ perception of the place and create a genuine experience. From small sculptures and photography to large-scale installations, integrating an art project into the image of your accommodation could be an easy way to success

  Source the products you use from the local market. Use as many locally made products as you can to decorate your rooms and apartments, to serve homemade breakfast and any other meal, to offer as souvenirs, etc. Buying local not only benefits your business as a growing number of guests are sustainable tourism enthusiasts and/ or are expecting to experience the authentic local lifestyle, but also the people living in the destination.

   Environmental friendly design

Going green brings outstanding benefits for your business, the environment and the destination you operate in. It goes directly to your bottom line and helps you reduce energy consumption, lessen your operation and maintenance costs, improve the quality of life of your guests and staff, attract more and more eco-tourists and environmental sensitive travelers, enhance your business’s social responsibility and of course, minimize its overall negative environmental impact! Take the following fundamental energy-efficient steps to…

1. …save energy:

  • Turn to solar energy as a renewable, clean and cost saving alternative to fossil fuels
  • Create a hotel front with more durable and energy-efficient materials
  • When worn out replace your appliances with energy saving appliances (A+++)
  • Reduce solar radiation and conditioning costs by shading windows
  • Install key-activated smart technologies to automatically control heat and lights in rooms
  • For indoor lighting replace incandescent lamps with high-efficiency lamps such as halogen incandescent, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and light-emitting diodes (LEDs)
  • For outdoor lighting, use high-intensity discharge lamps and photosensors

2. …reduce water usage:

  • Install low-flow shower heads and sink aerators
  • Switch to low-flow toilets or install toilet-tank fill diverters
  • Use low water consumption washing machines

3. …reduce waste and disposable materials/ products:

  • Provide recycling bins everywhere
  • Place shampoo and soap dispensers in guestrooms to eliminate small plastic bottles
  • Avoid using plastic items. Use recycled paper and purchase fair trade sourced products

If you are planning to build a completely new accommodation facility, please consider the following:

  • Solar orientation is the most important design element
  • Design smaller and simpler forms
  • Design around standard product sizes to reduce material waste

  • Get information on EU Eco-label. More than 450 hotels and over 70 camps are certified by April 2017 (in English)
  • Check out Ecobnb scheme: a web platform that allows travelers to find and book green accommodation with a list of requirements to enter the scheme at (in English)

   Addressing accessibility for guests with disabilities

Access is about the absence of barriers to the use of facilities. It refers to how easy it is for everybody to approach, enter and use buildings, outdoor areas and other facilities, independently, without the need for special arrangements.

Although there is a large number of regulations and standards at both country and EU level, good access is not being achieved to a satisfactory degree in most cases. If you have not already recognized the economic and social benefits of improving your accommodation accessibility, here are some generic design essentials to start thinking about when planning a renovation/ refurbishment:

1. To start with, remove the unnecessary barriers. Instead of concentrating on an individual’s impairment, focus on the barriers to access created by:

• poor physical layout
• physical barriers, such as narrow doors and stairs
• the lack of basic equipment, such as induction loops

For example, level and spacious entrances, free passageways without obstacles, spacious bedrooms and a wardrobe with adjustable / low clothes rail, a level access shower with support handrails and a fold-down seat (instead of a bathtub), support handrails everywhere, etc. are good, safe and convenient for every guest. Lower buffet counters and tables with a central support leg are more comfortable for all.

2. Ensure accessibility in terms of access, interior, and equipment: guests with disabilities or impairments should be able to easily and safely reach and enter the building, check-in, move around the indoor and outdoor areas, go to bed, attend to their personal hygiene, bathe, eat, use the available facilities for business, entertainment etc., meet and communicate with other people and evacuate the building in an emergency. Keep in mind that a slight change in floor level or the exact size or placement of a sign may not seem significant for most people, yet they are for people with disabilities

3. Decide on who you are designing for, to proceed accordingly: older people; people with long-term health problems, e.g. circulatory diseases; people with visual/ hearing/ mobility impairments; wheelchair users, etc. No need to offer accessible facilities to address all sorts of impairments if not feasible; however, whatever impairment you aim to serve must be 100% served in a reliable way that conforms 100% with the respective regulations.

4. Accessible accommodations can and shall be aesthetically appealing: it’s a matter of design!

5. Get certified! Some EU countries have developed national schemes providing an independent assessment of accessibility and enable facilities to use a recognized label to indicate the accurate level of accessibility achieved.

For detailed information read 'Improving information on accessible tourism for disabled people’ (in English)