There are many hotels in this world that pride themselves on their beautiful architecture. The Dolder Grand in Switzerland, The Langham Chicago, the ME London Hotel, and the Hongta Hotel in Shanghai, China are all examples of stellar design that simply takes your breath away. But there’s another reason that makes all of these establishments unique: They’ve managed to do something previously thought impossible: balance form with function, and marry operational efficiency with eye-catching design, without compromising class or style in any way. way. .
But what exactly is operational efficiency?
Operational efficiency comes in many forms and is not limited to smart design that streamlines the movement of personnel and service. It also has a lot to do with internal energy efficiency, waste management, the use of smart equipment and efficient designs, the design that avoids the shock of the movements of guests and services, and the use of the right materials that provide returns. massive amounts of your hard-earned investment.
Let’s take a look at some aspects of the design of an operationally efficient hotel.
The future is now
If you simply prioritize short-term gains in terms of cheap, more expendable materials, you’ll have a hard 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 you will spend much more than you would initially.
Hard surface elements are very favorable. For example, consider using woodgrain vinyl flooring versus 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, generate high equipment costs and are more labor intensive.
Another great way to save space is to favor showers over bathtubs in the bathroom space; This results in no vacuuming and there is a smaller space to clean.
Additionally, hard surface elements can always be renewed with the help of textiles, which add color and vibrancy based on your design choices. This type of renovation is easier on the pocket, too.
It is also wise to minimize box items (furniture made of hard materials). When you decide to change soft products, this option makes you cheaper and reduces downtime.
Lighting and HVAC upgrades
Traditional light fixtures can give you an ornate look, but require more maintenance, as they typically have glass covers that are prone to accumulation of debris, dirt, and insects. Also, energy consumption is higher and waste disposal is a nightmare due to the hazardous materials found in these lights.
Today, LEDs have incredibly versatile designs and are cost saving when it comes to construction and operations. They also average only 20 percent of the electricity costs associated with traditional lighting. While we understand that the effects of incandescent lighting are difficult to achieve with LEDs, some areas such as signage, rooms, lobbies, and conference spaces can be optimized to use energy efficient lighting solutions.
Occupancy sensors are great too, saving you a lot of money by turning off the 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 where necessary. Night light alternatives are great, especially for backups.
HVAC needs constant monitoring and hard points need to be removed to supply air and water at desired temperatures. Switching to a centralized, IoT-based management system that is responsive and dynamic can be costly to start with, but will result in huge savings. IoT also allows you to monitor drives 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 modernization with low watt alternatives
- Reduce canopy lighting
Utilize hotel spaces dynamically so you don’t have to build additional structures or dismantle existing ones.
For example, common tables can function as bars at night and can serve breakfast during the day. ‘Tru’ by Hilton in Virginia has used all of its spaces for multifunctionality. They have a large lobby called ‘The Hive’, which are divided into four zones:
- The workspace with desk space and cubes to focus on
- The living room, for community activity.
- A play area, for indoor games
- An eating area that is circular, so it also functions as a reception with space for light meals and snacks.
With these considerations in mind, the aesthetic, yet functional design can be easily implemented.
The technological advantage
Taking guest preferences into account can be tricky. What’s even more difficult is keeping up with all the changes in preferences and concentrating on technology updates.
While the rooms themselves have a lifespan of years, the technology can become outdated 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.
Plus, the use of analytics and big data will help you better understand your consumer base, which in turn won’t give you a hard hit when it comes to implementing a design or new accessories.
New travelers are mostly millennials. Companies like AirBnB are witnessing a stellar increase in their business due to how personalized their listings are and the type of hyper-local experiences they have been targeting.
Branded hotels face a challenge in this regard, and adapting the design to reflect this is strongly recommended. When using materials, for example, choose locally sourced materials that foster local ties with artisans and other vendors. 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 regional experiences will help you personalize even more. From each brand property you have, a different experience must emerge to remove the monolithic feel.
The “geographic” design element is also essential. Your design should exhibit variations. 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 adaptive structures.
This also manifests itself when differentiation is put into practice. Design elements should act as differentiators, echoing a versatile brand identity. Design for different segments of your guests and act on them, otherwise it may seem absurd. For businessmen and companies, the room environment should be more agile and focused on minimal occupancy. For families, accommodation should be more suitable for children. For travelers looking for a truly unique experience, investigate the latest functional quirks in design.
Keep in mind that the segments also mix with each other, so being on top of your game will be essential.
When it comes down to it, operational efficiency isn’t hard to achieve. You must act with foresight and consider the big picture. It is not enough to just 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 take it into account in their game plan from day one. Once operational efficiency is driving all of your decisions, it is unlikely that you will deviate.