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How the hotel design industry might change as a result of COVID-19

After surviving these crazy times of the coronavirus, our lives will be changed forever. This whole experience is proof of how the world can come together to solve a crisis.

My hope is that we can keep the momentum going and use it as a launch pad for global environmental and social changes. In order to make these wider transformations, we as hotel designers need to change, too. Here are some of the ways our industry might adapt to this brave new world:      

  1. Travel less for meetings and site visits: the prediction is that airlines will offer lower quantities of flights and at higher prices, which means more and more meetings will take place online. Forced working from home has proven it is possible.
  2. Office spaces will become smaller in size and team members will “hot-desk” (share desks) as staff works from home on rotating basis. This reduces expense for design studios, and also lowers traffic on roads and public transport.
  3. Even more, designers will intentionally specific environmentally responsible FF&E materials as a way to continue healing our planet.  
  4. Trade shows and conferences – webinars taking place in conjunction with in-person conferences will grow in popularity, as they allow organizers to reach wider global audiences.
  5. Greater opportunities for ongoing education as online courses become more popular.
  6. Brain power and technical skills are the basis for luxury design. More thoughtful consumption confirms that blingy flashiness is out and imaginative designs made from ordinary, eco-friendly materials using highly skilled techniques will become the status symbols that no one else can have. People-power wins versus the depletion of rare natural resources.   
  7. Increased demand for mindful experiences and agritourism will lead to more hotels being designed with meditation spaces, yoga studios, and gardens where vegetables and herbs are grown onsite.
  8. A final, game-changing point is the transformation of our value systems. A lot of people are rethinking their situations and life choices now that they’ve suddenly dropped out of the stressful daily pressure to be “on” 24/7 and optimize their time, the way they work and how they take care of their bodies. They don’t want to go back to lives with no time for friends or focusing on their own souls and brains. We’re entering a period of greater reflection, increased mindfulness, more soul… and a less hectic pace.