Wasn’t so long ago that all hotels pretty much looked alike.
Just another pretty face, or not so pretty.
There were some differences in the design of a luxury lobby and bar, versus, say the lobby and bar of a moderate-priced hotel chain. No one would confuse a Four Seasons with a Best Western.
But basically, the design standard and principles of hotel brands were fixed by Corporate with little flexibility and certainly no impulse to take many design chances.
Apparently the powerful presence of the traveling millennials aka/Generation Y are changing all this.
This cohort, typically born between the early 1980’s and 2000s, came by the name from a book by William Strauss and Neil Howe called Millennials Rising: The Next Generation.
HotelMarketing says hotel executives are being forced to focus on the next generation of travelers who are looking for something unique, something that makes them feel what they are seeing and where they are staying is special.
No more “cookie cutter” look; Something that inspires sending images, talking about, sharing, getting excited over.
When do most of us get excited about a hotel?
In an interview by Samantha Worgull in HotelNewsNow , Amy Hulbert, managing director of design at Best Western International, said that new design changes are often regional, and while “we want it (design changes) to make sense to the guest, we are interested in pushing the envelope.”
She sites the Best Western Music Capital Inn in Branson, Missouri, and Best Western Intercourse Village Inn, in Pennsylvania’s Amish country as two hotels that have taken risks with design, including a repurposed drum set as a fixture in the Branson property, and a full post and beam barn design in the Pennsylvania inn.
She hopes Millennials, who are very visual and keen social media mavens will be excited.
But satisfying a new generation of young travelers and satisfying corporate offices that protect the brand are delicate balancing acts.
Still, according to Tennessee-based Vision Hospitality Group, a company tasked with maintaining brand integrity but also innovation, most brands are happy to accept new design features, within flexible limits.
Best Western, in fact, reportedly cut ties with about 1, 000 hotels in North America that didn’t meet standards of contemporizing the look and feel of the property.