Features.

The role of architecture and design in hospitality

Architecture and interior design go hand-in-hand when creating a positive first impression for your guests, and in most cases will have a direct impact on your bookings and bottom line. Click. explores the benefits of balancing the two

by Nicola Donovan, Click. Travel Writer, Booking.com

Topic: Guest experience Managing operations

Click. Takeaway

  • The visual appearance of a hotel is the first thing the guest will see and this ‘arrival’ experience will deeply influence their overall impression of a property
  • Before considering a major makeover, it’s important to consider what your properties’ unique selling point and story is
  • Architecture and design can play a role in enhancing guest satisfaction, generating positive reviews and increasing occupancy
  • No matter how great your architecture and design is, service expectations still need to be met to ensure guest satisfaction

The look and feel of your property can tell guests a lot about the experience they can expect during their stay. And with guests increasingly choosing their accommodation based on images alone, architecture and design play a major role in capturing a consumer’s full attention.

“The external visual appearance of the hotel is the first thing the guest will see and this ‘arrival’ experience will deeply influence their overall impression of the hotel and the resulting satisfaction with the stay,” says Martin Jochman, Founder and Principal Director of JADE +QA. “It is therefore very important to create a special, innovative and visually exciting combination of not only architecture, but also interior design and the surrounding landscape environment to give the guest such feeling of uniqueness.”

Crafting your story

While architecture and design enable properties to curate a memorable stay, it’s also a powerful tool for communicating a brand’s message. “Telling a story is an essential in the hospitality industry,” says Jochman. “It becomes part of the unique character of the place and a primary reason for choosing, visiting and staying at the hotel.”

Guest room at Les Ateliers de Montmartre

Guest Room at Les Ateliers de Montmartre Guesthouse

It’s important to embed this story throughout every touch-point the guest has on their journey, so ensuring your architect and interior designer are aligned is crucial. “Architects are generally appointed by the owners, where the interior designers are normally directed by the operators, so in some ways there are different priorities,” says James Dilley, Head of Interior Design and Hospitality and a Director at Jestico + Whiles.

“The owners are trying to get architecture which uplifts the value of their estate and attracts the right operators, but the operators will deal with the interior designers who, in their opinion, are maximising occupancy and room rates. So there’s a slight difference in priorities between the two and therefore there’s often a slightly different direction between the architects and the interior designers.”

Before considering a major makeover, however, first consider what your properties’ unique selling point is. “Choose an aesthetic that is particular to your property, that reflects your story and highlights the beauty of your home or hotel,” says Mariam Sebti, Owner of Les Ateliers De Montmartre Guest House. “Definitely design is the most efficient way to do that, at least as a way to get the guest to book with you. Let’s say, design is the way that you can convince a guest to choose you over someone else.”

Rethinking ROI

The process of renovating or refurbishing your property can be a costly venture at first, but in the long run it’s a worthwhile investment that has the potential to bring ample returns – such as enhanced guest satisfaction, positive reviews and loyal customers. The key to capitalising on these benefits, however, is a thorough planning process from the get-go.

“Good architecture has to be considered and created from the very start of the project and carried through to the completion,” says Jochman. “Attention to good planning, high quality but not necessarily expensive materials, and construction quality – both externally and internally – are essential to create a product that the guests will appreciate.”

Alluring aesthetics aside, service expectations still need to be met to ensure a positive stay

For property owners with a smaller budget, there are still opportunities to create a unique environment without spending a fortune. Les Ateliers De Montmartre Guest House did this by mixing investment pieces of furniture with vintage picks. “We went a lot to the antique market, where we were able to get furniture that’s been passed down through generations, has an authentic feel and its own story to tell,” says Sebti. “We wanted to make guests feel like they were at home, which is why we went and hand-picked everything. The idea was to really make it feel like a home that was furnished piece by piece.”

Alluring aesthetics aside, service expectations still need to be met to ensure a positive stay. “Experience is created through two things, one is environment and the other is service,” says Dilley. [As architects and designers] we can create the environment, but we must also enable the highest levels of service. We have to work to support service and create the stage for the hotel crew, the barman or the receptionists who interact with the guest. As much as I’m interested in design, an environment will only become a successful experience if the cast makes it come to life – both components have to come together.”


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Hero image: Room View from Les Ateliers de Montmartre Guesthouse

Nicola Donovan is a travel writer for Click.

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