In a world where your doorbell screens visitors, your ‘relax’ playlist serenades you as you arrive home from work, and your living room walls are adorned with hand-selected art, we have all come to expect a level of customized comfort in our spaces. Now that travel is back in full swing, guests aren’t going to settle for a cookie-cutter hotel room when they’ve become accustomed to a space as unique as they are.
Fortunately, hospitality is an industry of constant evolution. We’re exploring how hotels are keeping up with this expectation for personalization.
Today more than ever, home really is where the heart is. With modern-day luxuries delivered to our doors and consumerism at an all-time high, there’s no wonder that we’re a houseproud population. Whether it be furniture, technology, or art, people no longer have to settle for “good enough” found on the shelf when they can handpick something just-right with the touch of a button at an online retailer. Why should a hotel room be any different?
Architects and designers are working alongside owners and developers to bridge the gap between exciting and immersive new experiences and the residential comforts guests crave. But personalization goes beyond knowing a guest’s name when they arrive for check in; it’s about crafting an experience that responds to each guest’s individual whims.
Imagine this: you wander back to your hotel room after a day of exploring a new city. When you reach your room, you’re greeted with a touchless smart lock guestroom door that unlocks as you approach. After kicking off your shoes and connecting your favorite playlist to the room’s Bluetooth speakers , you signal the electronic door signage to light up red as a ‘do not disturb’ signal to housekeeping that you’re in for the night. The future of hospitality is this… and it’s here now!
Inside the guestroom, operable window treatments that open and close with the push of a bedside button, immersive smart TVs, smart glass for adjustable privacy, lighting sensors that mimic your circadian rhythms, voice/mobile controls, and integrated sound machines are all purposefully incorporated to create a truly personalized experience. Some spaces even offer customizable art, where guests can choose the art on display in their room by way of an interactive screen – meaning visitors can go as far as bringing their favorite paintings on vacation with them.
It’s not just about gadgets; little touches make a big difference in creating a narrative that resonates with guests. it’s the intentionality behind design decisions that guests digest as a ‘personal touch’. For example, we recently worked on a family resort project where mobile check-in wasn’t an option, so we personalized the reception experience by creating a special amenity nearby to entertain children within sight lines while parents/guardians were at the reception pods. Adaptability and personalization go hand-in-hand.
While individual guest personalization is crucial, hotels must also create a unique brand identity to make a lasting impression. The personalization of the brand should be felt at every turn. And yes, I mean ‘felt’ and not ‘seen’. One notable approach involves sensory personalization, leveraging music and scents to elevate the guest experience. I had a recent experience where upon check-in I was asked to hand-select scents from the hotel’s perfumery to be diffused in my guestroom.
The world is moving at a rapid pace with endless choices for where to stay, which results in a guest’s rising expectations for an experience that resonates with their own personal brand. The hospitality industry has always risen to the challenge of anticipating guest expectation and filling the void. This will be no different, using customizable design and technology to leave a lasting impression.