Operationally Efficient Hotel Design: 5 Factors to Guide You
There are many hotels in this world that pride themselves on their beautiful architecture. The Dolder Grand in Switzerland, The Langham Chicago, Hotel ME London and Hongta Hotel in Shanghai, China are examples of stellar design that simply takes your breath away. But there is yet another reason that makes all of these establishments unique: they have managed to do something previously thought impossible: balance form with function and combined operational efficiency with eye-catching design, without compromising class or style. no way. .
But what exactly is operational efficiency?
Operational efficiency comes in many forms and is not limited to intelligent design that streamlines the movement of staff and services. It also has a lot to do with internal energy efficiency, waste management, the use of smart equipment and efficient designs, a design that avoids conflict between the movements of guests and services, and the use of the correct materials that provide returns. massive returns on your hard-earned investment.
Let’s take a look at some aspects of designing an operationally efficient hotel.
The future is now
If you simply prioritize short-term gains in terms of cheap, more expendable materials, you’re in for a tough time. You may have a significantly lower investment, but this will eventually be a maintenance nightmare. This approach neglects the long-term health of the building and will cost much more than it would have initially.
Hard surface elements are very favorable. For example, consider using wood-grain vinyl flooring instead of carpet. Not only is it more efficient, durable, and easier to maintain, it also has a more elegant feel. Carpets tend to get dirty faster, require more cleaning, are expensive for equipment, and take up more labor.
Another great way to save space is to prefer showers over bathtubs in your bathroom space; this results in less vacuuming and less space to clean.
On top of that, hard surface elements can always be refreshed with the help of textiles, which add color and vibrancy depending on your design choices. This type of renovation is also easier on the pocketbook.
It’s also wise to minimize cash assets (furniture made of hard materials). When you decide to change soft items, this option makes it more economical and reduces downtime.
Lighting and HVAC upgrades
Traditional light fixtures can give you an ornate look, but they require more maintenance as they typically have glass covers that are prone to collecting debris, dirt, and bugs. Also, energy consumption is higher and waste disposal is a nightmare due to the hazardous materials found in these lights.
LEDs today have incredibly versatile designs and cost savings when it comes to construction and operations. They also average just 20 percent of the electricity costs associated with traditional lighting. While we understand that incandescent lighting effects are difficult to achieve with LEDs, some areas such as signage, guest rooms, lobbies, and conference spaces can be optimized to use energy efficient lighting solutions.
Occupancy sensors are also great as they save you a lot of money by turning off your ventilation and lights when no one is around. Since lighting is required 24/7 due to security and other measures, it is necessary to minimize costs when needed. Night light alternatives are great, especially for backup.
HVAC needs constant monitoring and must remove hard points to deliver air and water at desired temperatures. Switching to a centrally managed, IoT-based system that is responsive and dynamic can be expensive to start with, but will deliver tremendous savings. IoT also allows you to monitor units for maintenance and upkeep, which if neglected can lead to a host of other costs.
Other recommendations in this area include:
- Equip vending machine lights with sensors
- Backroom lighting retrofit with energy efficient alternatives
- Reduce marquee lighting
Use hotel spaces dynamically so you don’t have to build additional structures or dismantle existing ones.
For example, communal tables can double as bars at night and serve breakfast during the day. Hilton’s ‘Tru’ in Virginia has used all of its spaces for multi-functionality. They have a huge lobby called ‘The Hive’, which they divide into four zones:
- The work area with desk space and cubes to focus on.
- The lounge area, for community activity
- A playground, for indoor games.
- An eating area that is circular so doubles as a reception with space for light meals and snacks.
Keeping such considerations in mind, aesthetic yet functional design can be easily implemented.
The technological advantage
Taking guest preferences into account can be difficult. What’s even harder is keeping up with all the changing preferences and thinking about technology upgrades.
While the rooms themselves have a lifespan of years, the technology can become obsolete in a short period of time, sometimes months, if not years. This is a problem that many are trying to solve, and the only tangible solution is to enjoy an agile architecture that can easily adapt to these changes.
Also, the use of analytics and big data will help you better understand your consumer base, which, in turn, will not surprise you when it comes to implementing a design or new accessories.
The new travelers are mostly millennials. Companies like AirBnB are seeing a stellar increase in their business due to how personalized their listings are and the type of hyper-local experiences they have been hosting.
Branded hotels face a challenge in this regard, and modernizing the design to reflect this is strongly recommended. When using materials, for example, choose locally sourced materials that encourage local links with artisans and other suppliers. Having a strong network helps amplify your atmosphere to reflect that local element.
Don’t limit your hotel experience to the space you have. However, other links to experiences that are regional will help you further customize. From each brand property you have, a different experience should emerge to eliminate the monolithic feel.
The ‘geographical’ design element is also essential. Your design should exhibit variation. In cold climates, better insulating walls can result in huge savings in the form of energy consumption required to heat the property. The same goes for disaster-prone areas that need adaptable structures.
This also comes into play when differentiation is staged. Design elements should act as differentiators, echoing a versatile brand identity. Design for different segments of your guests, and act accordingly, otherwise it can seem absurd. For businessmen and companies, the room environment needs to be more streamlined and focused on minimal occupancy. For families, the accommodations should be more suitable for children. For travelers seeking a truly unique experience, investigate the latest functional quirks in design.
Note that the segments also mix with each other, so staying on top of your game will be essential.
When it comes down to it, operational efficiency is not hard to achieve. You must act with foresight and take into account the big picture. It is not enough to only meet your short-term goals and take actions that are not profitable in the long term. Sustainable existence must become a priority for hotels and they must include it in their game plan from day one. Once operational efficiency is driving all of your decisions, you’re unlikely to stray from the path.