Imagining Hotel Design Post COVID-19
It is an undeniable fact that COVID19 has affected almost all sectors of the industry. The financial and economic implications will perhaps be felt for years to come. One sector which has possibly been the most affected has been that of travel and tourism. As most countries have been under a lockdown or at least closed visitors for over a year now plans and planes have all come to a halt. However, with travel bubbles popping up across the globe hospitality industry has been gearing up to open its doors.
The major players of the industry know that the way tourists travel is going to be completely different in the post pandemic world. They are slowly altering how they operate in order to better accommodate their requirements.
How will the behaviour of tourists change?
There are a lot of predictions on how the tourists will travel. A lot of professionals believe that instead of hopping between different places or countries in one single trip travellers might choose to stay longer at one place. They would also prefer to travel in small closed groups instead of choosing coach tours. They would put more consideration into choosing their hotels, looking perhaps for more boutique hotels than large resorts.
In fact, the clients will perhaps look at lot of factors when it comes to hotels like hygiene, location, food and beverage facilities etc. since they will be spending a large portion of their trip here. It is also the place which has the most chances of causing infection if proper precautions are not taken like wearing masks, using hotel amenities. The hotels will have to implement a lot of design changes to ensure that their clients are safe and even have a plan of action in case COVID is detected.
1. Multipurpose Guest Rooms:
One trend which is perhaps going to catch on is that of long stays. As multiple people across the globe are now working from home taking long working holidays may become the norm. Here small guest rooms with bare necessities and dull colors might not be enough to encourage people to book long stays. The room must transform to allow multiple activities like eating, exercise and even working. Better rooms will even reduce the flow of people going to communal areas for eating, exercise etc.
2. Better Design:
The hotels will have to adapt numerous design elements to ensure minimum contact and contamination. That would include implementing various technological advancements throughout the building. There should be lifts which go to certain floors only so not everyone comes in contact with everyone. The buttons should be accessible through a card so everyone doesn’t have to touch them. There should be motion sensor taps, lights, air-conditioned systems etc. which again ensure that people come in less contact with surfaces which could transmit the virus. Another thing that hotels can do is that they can have room keys on smart phones and encourage touch free and contact less check in procedures.
One of the key factors which designs need to consider is that the rooms and areas should be easy to clean and maintain. This means altering the layout as well as materials used. Floors should, instead of using rugs, use marble or wood making it easy to clean and control the spread of infection. Similarly, instead of cluttering the space with a lot of elements it would be better to design guest rooms, lobby, reception with less but elegant furniture. Doing this ensures that contamination through common surfaces will be reduced. It also becomes easy and more effective for the cleaning staff to regularly clean the area.
3. Enhance Biophilic Design:
However, too many precautions and technological advancements could become a double-edged sword. Meeting humans and enjoying the essence of any place is at the core of travel and by removing that can prove to not be very enjoyable for the travellers. Hotels can however look into adding various biophilic design elements into their hotels. It aims to increase the occupant’s connectivity to natural environment by using direct or indirect natural elements.
It could be by hanging plants overhead, using ample wood, giving clear views of the outside world etc. Vernacular architecture on the other hand could aim to add unique elements particular to a given place to give a local feel. Architectural BIM Services can be used to create designs and later virtual reality environments can be used for better presentations. They can help gauge the reaction of the clients and allow to take informed decisions.
4. Designated Isolation Areas:
One probability that hotels will have to consider is isolation of people testing positive. Even though RT-PCR is mandatory and all safety precautions are taken there remains a small chance that someone might test positive during their stay. In that case the hotel must identify a given area like a floor or a wing which is away from the regular tourists. The staff interacting with the people should also not come in contact with other staff or travellers. This ensures that the spread of COVID is controlled.
5. Better Control of Facilities:
Finally, the hotel will also have to look at better management. BIM Modeling Services can be used to create as-built models that can be regularly used for facility management. This means measuring the MEP systems, ensuring the air filtration systems are clean and updated, maintaining the humidity levels throughout the hotel etc. It also allows better space management by keeping track of how many maximum numbers of people are allowed in a given area, create a time plan of dinning, exercise rooms, wellness areas etc. Facility Management especially in large resorts could help control overcrowding of people as well as streamline operations