Have Your Say … What is the Future of the Hotel?


At Design Insider we have spent this month looking to the future, this includes this our Have Your Say … conversation piece where we asked: WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF THE HOTEL?  

We have been overwhelmed by the response so far, which you can enjoy below, and we welcome you to join the discussion by leaving your opinion in a comment at the end of the article. 

Which statements do you agree with?  What would you challenge?  How will the future of the hotel be impacting your business during 2018?  Let us know!!

Lee Birchall, Managing Director DV8 Designs  ‘Guests are now on the lookout for hotels that differentiate themselves from the standard and that feel more individual, and independents with a quirky theme are certainly on the rise. However, we’re finding that it’s equally as important to the customer experience for a property to retain certain principles such as resilience and an environmentally friendly offering, meaning designers need to stay ahead of the game when it comes to construction techniques.’


Lee Penson, CEO Penson Group  Havy-your-say-quote-1-web‘The future of hospitality for me is what it’s not. All of the time my team and I stay in hotels all over the world and have pretty much a standard experience everywhere in the world. So, at the moment, designers are designing another hotel, and then another hotel, and another hotel, and they’re all designing lovely, amazing projects and places to stay, but the Jo & Joe brand that we have co-created with Accor is not a hotel! It’s not a hotel bed and it’s giving people a different experience entirely. So it’s turning the whole thing upside down and the changes are making life more fun, better, and we are throwing in a few surprises along the way.  That, to me, is where the future of hospitality is going. It’s time to have a little bit of a re-think about the same old, same old hotel.’

Gina Thomson, Revivalist  ‘The future of hotels is something much more than just a place to lay your head at night. With only a small amount of time actually being spent in the room, users expect more. The common areas of a hotel must be well designed to maximise the time someone would spend there. A hotel lobby must be transitional; with an eclectic mix of multi-purpose furniture, artwork and styling and ideally hold features that are Instagram worthy. That could be some vintage pieces reimagined or some bespoke wall art to tie the scheme together. The common areas must be well thought out encouraging working, co-working and socialising creating a hive of activity throughout the day and easily alter into somewhere to go out and become its own destination late into the night. ‘

G.A Design  ‘The hotel industry is very interesting now as in many ways the guests are dictating the new trends. The type of guest using luxury hotels is also changing; they care less about a certain look or style and instead want authenticity and a design that resonates. We’re already seeing a lot more hotels where the guest’s experience is central to the design of the space and this looks set to continue with new technology enabling us to create fully immersive designs.’

Harry Harris, Managing Director at SUSD Havy-your-say-quote-2-web  ‘The hospitality industry has a strong provenance in researching customer trends to provide an offer that captures future requirements and it is the designers who have consistently driven experiential improvements in these environments. A greater number of hotels are becoming social hubs, work spaces and homes away from home. New tech companies and millennials embracing the “gig” economy are greatly influencing the design of these spaces; agile working has become a staple and whole ecosystems are being constructed for start-ups and workers where accommodation converges with co-working areas and dynamic social spaces. It is no surprise that this change in working patterns has coincided with the resurgence of the private members’ club, nor that hotels have developed this model, taking it forward to something that reflects the demands of emerging industries and freelance communities. The evolution of this hybrid entity will continue, with designers leading the way in refining spaces and offerings.’

Maria Vafiadis, Founder of MKV Design  ‘We are increasingly, if far too slowly, becoming more aware of the damage we are doing to our planet. Air travel is one of the worse pollutants but people’s thirst to travel and discover or meet up with globally scattered family and friends takes priority. Hotels of the future will have to rise to this challenge in meaningful ways, becoming ambassadors for travel experiences that put at least as much back into environments and communities as they take.’

David Morris, Creative Director Studio Proof Havy-your-say-quote-3-web  ‘The ways in which people travel are changing and hotels need to adapt to keep up. Over the past few years, there has been an increase in the number of single professionals travelling alone for leisure purposes. Whilst some enjoy staying in hotels with their familiar comforts and services, other solo travellers prefer a more sociable and inexpensive option that is closer in line with hostels. The growing disparity in salaries between high and low earning professionals means that many hotels are outside of the financial remit of holiday-makers. However, we believe there is currently a gap in the market for Generator-style venues aimed at a more mature guest that offer great style, connectivity with the local scene, and a more outgoing approach at affordable prices. Hilton may argue that the ‘Canopy’ brand will provide this but, at £220 per night, it still isn’t accessible to many. With the millennial generation having families less and later, travelling more and prioritising authenticity over traditional luxury, we see this as a gap that needs to be filled.’


Glen Wilson, Hotels & Hospitality Channel Manager GROHE UK   ‘Hotels are under pressure to keep up with the ever-changing hospitality marketplace. They’re facing fierce competition from Airbnb, and a number of similar competitors. In order to continue to thrive, hotels need to innovate and ride the storm of the growing ‘staycation’ trend.

In many ways, the hotel industry needs to reinvent itself, reassess where they can position themselves amongst other hospitality competition, and by what means they can appeal and cater for the needs of not only visiting guests, but the local people and communities that they operate in.

Looking ahead, hotels will have to do more than just draw in visitors but become a destination for locals also. This could be manifested in a number of ways. For example, they could become a welcoming space for people to meet, work, connect and mingle. Pretty quickly, the lobby would be re-purposed from a sparse, unused space to a hotbed for innovation.

This would bring attractions for locals, but also give travelers a true sense of the local area they were visiting. It’s hard for most large hotels to move quickly. However, by partnering smartly, with brands and people that carry influence and credibility, they can not only move on a faster timeline, but can drum up excitement and attention. Hotels have to send out the message to guests and locals alike that their hotel is both progressive and innovative and then it becomes a destination and an experience, rather than just a place to stay.’

We look forward to reading your opinion in the comments section below, alternatively you are welcome to tweet us @DesignInsider1


About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
View all posts by Alys Bryan →


  • chris radcliffe. MA FCSD. head of interior design at: maber Architects

    Receiving and not receiving. One-to-one or via a web, auto check-in-outa here.
    Believing or not believing. The suspension of belief, creators of magic and dreams.
    History heritage the soul of a place. Or anonymous nameless faceless face.
    Business, holiday, taking a break. Check out the competition on .com & App.
    Clean towels, clean sheets, clean conscience. The environment of the laundry.
    Vacation, Sta-cation, vacant hotels, hospitality in a state. BnB Air-born threat.
    Hospitality is about being more than just hospitable.

    The future of the hotel industry is in the hands of the students at the IHTTI School of Hotel Management. Neuchatel Switzerland. A course endorsed by The Chartered Society of Designers.