1. Improving Waterfront Resiliency
Resiliency is the big buzz word of the past 5 years, yet somehow it has not yet come into mainstream conversation in the Hospitality Industry! Hospitality is one of the few industries where a large proportion of its assets are sitting on waterfront properties and are poised to be significantly impacted by climate change, sea-level rise, and natural disasters. These risks have been realized more and more each year as storm events become stronger, more destructive, and more unpredictable. Coupled with this, insurance rates are rising to cover these risks. The hospitality industry needs to start protecting these waterfront assets and making them more resilient. While architectural modifications can be quite costly, there are landscape and site modifications which can be deployed to increase the properties resiliency and the waterfronts resiliency. Some of the lessons learned from the big urban resiliency projects will be played out at the site scale this year in an effort to protect these high value, revenue generating assets.
2. Local ‘Immersive’ Site Design
This has been the trend for a while now – so ‘what’s new’ here!? Resorts are about escaping from the rigors of day to day life and reinvesting in oneself, one’s partnership, or one’s family. It can be about stillness, reflection, activity, and fun. But you don’t travel far and wide to experience ‘vanilla’. The joy of travel is that you are literally transporting yourself to a new environment and culture. It’s likely someplace that you have researched endlessly but haven’t yet been able to touch, feel, and taste. Resort design in architecture has definitely moved towards representing the local culture and environment more successfully than the Site Design or Landscape. The site design often follows a more cookie cutter approach of a pool, spa, a bar, a restaurant with some indoor-outdoor seating, likely some good views and the prerequisite palm trees. While this doesn’t sound bad, landscape can be so much more!
The design of the site is the first impression and experience that your Customer has with your property and it is one of the most critical elements to your project. Let your customers experience something unique and different that reflects where you are and what is so special about this place. Developing a unique identity that is rooted in a local narrative, culture, and your brand will be the winning combination and set you apart.
3. Flexible Site Spaces
How can you make your resort dynamic and provide amenities that appeal to your customer base? How can you expand the desirability of your resort even in off peak seasons? One way is to carefully develop a site that has flexible spaces that can support various programs, both throughout the day, as well as seasonally. This is standard to do within the Architectural Facilities – think different room layouts and configurations for different types of events; however this principle should also extend to the site. In addition to the ‘must have’ amenities – pool, spa, bar, dining, etc – how can the site be configured to provide the best options for program and use? How can spaces be created where you might run a fitness class in the morning, but could then be an event space or music venue later in the day? There are so many flexible program options, but these spaces need to be carefully planned and designed to make sure that the experience feels ‘right’ whether the spaces are activated or not.
4. Instagram Worthy Experiences or the “WOW” moments
Everybody wants them, but how do you get them? How can you make your property lusted after in this day and age? Not just the general destination, but your property specifically? How do you differentiate? How do you stand out? How can you be recognized in an instant?
Before answering these questions, you first have to answer these
Do you want to be Instagram worthy? Is that your market? Who is your customer? Are you selling a broader luxury retreat experience, where it’s not just ‘one moment’ that
you want to be known for? Do you want to have a signature experience that your customer wants to be able to say ‘I did ________’! Or is it a unique site element or building feature that is so recognizable that it becomes synonymous with your brand?
There are so many different ways to show up, what is the right one for you? Once you answer these questions, then you can start to design your wow.
5. Increasing Sustainable Initiatives and Tackling Your Carbon Footprint
Sustainable initiatives are a MUST these days (and they have been for some time)! Whether your goal is to attract a specific customer base because of your initiatives, your company culture demands it, or you just want to keep up with the pack, the consumer is starting to demand more and more accountability on the sustainability front.
With the effects of global warming being felt all over, there is a hightened awareness around one’s carbon footprint and reducing carbon emissions!
There are many low hanging fruits that most all developers and brands have instituted already – optional linen washing, LED lighting, low flow toilets, no plastic cups, etc. These are no-brainers and easy to implement. A number of resorts, usually in remote locations, do a significant amount of restoration of the natural flora in their area, which is fantastic, however there are very few that have tackled a sustainable site design that blends functional space with truly sustainable design and implementation.
This will be the year that the industry pushes further.
Not all landscapes are created equal and some that are quite beautiful, are not actually sustainable, and they definitely aren’t carbon neutral – but they can be. With simple modifications to materials and planting selections, you can reduce the carbon footprint of the design and sequester more carbon in order to become a significatn carbon sink.
While the business case for making a sustainable landscape is complicated, as there are a number of elements that go into it and it’s not a clear cut one to one trade, like swapping out lights for instance, there is a business case for being a leader in the industry and creating places that people want to be. As customers get smarter, a holistic approach to a properties sustainable initiative will come into question.
One way to improve your properties sustainability without a major interior reno is to do a site renovation – often significantly lower cost impact, but with great visual impact and potential significant savings in maintenance and operating costs.
6. Urban Resorts
These days we want it all…we want the quiet and relaxation of a secluded resort in the heart of it all! While the Urban Resort has been around for a while, many still rely on an old model of having all of the resort amenities – fitness, spa, multiple restaurants, etc – all under one roof. With the increasing costs of real estate in these hot urban markets, more space isn’t always an option. Enter the more ‘local’ urban resort…one that is more of a traditional luxury hotel with fantastic food, often located on a waterfront or large urban park, with partnerships and services provided by the best of the best local establishments. This not only supports the local businesses, but it also anchors the experience for the guest in the local culture and day to day life!