Welcoming the connected guest

Our mission is to anticipate the needs of a changing society and transform them into unique hotel concepts. We can only develop environments that function in the long term if we have understood the demands people will make on the use of rooms and buildings in the future. The following article provides the basic principles for a successful hotel concept for a connected guest.

Megatrend Connectivity: The future is just around the corner

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HYPER-REALITY by Keiichi Matsuda

This video shows a provocative future scenario: a reality augmented with data. Unfiltered, additional information penetrates into our field of vision and expands our experience into the immeasurable and incomprehensible. Scenarios like this may be a prognosis that lies in the far distant future, and we hope that our self-determined perception will remain, in the future too. At the same time, this video will open your eyes in its exaggerated but distinct style. Our world exists in a period of inexorable change and we are slowly beginning to understand the profound impact this has on our daily lives. If you look and form an opinion on the future of our society, you will understand how to successfully align your business.

The change has just begun

connected guest

The flow of information was passed on orally or via print media for the first 90% of the past century. It started with newspapers, followed by the first media channels. The invention of the Internet marks a disruptive change in our history. Since then, information has been available worldwide permanently, to an unlimited extent and not just during broadcasting times of media companies. Another milestone is the invention of the smartphone. From that point on, the motto was “everything everywhere.”

This change can also be felt in the hotel industry: guests can find out about hotel deals and their reviews any time, anywhere. The first smartphone was launched on January 9, 2007 and has significantly changed our world over the last decade. If we imagine the speed with which inventions will progress in the coming years, the hyper-reality scenario will not be that far off. We are certain that changes are coming which by far exceed our imagination today. What is important is that we stay tuned.

Hospitality Architecture –It’s all about Experience for the connected guest

The two preceding sections show the great influence of digital technologies on our lives and make the “everything, everywhere” clear. In the hotel industry too, it is important to be aware of the consequences of our changing society, and to know the associated expectations of guests who are networked and used to indulging in many experiences. Our job is to create spaces that meet these demands. We rely on the following basic principles.

1. Better design = better experience

People feel comfortable in aesthetic spaces – this will never change. Tastefully selected colors, shapes, and materials are balm for the soul. Office environments with design appeal demonstrably increase the productivity of the people working there. Aesthetics binds, emotionalizes, and makes happy. Good design is a guarantee for success.

2. Everyone does everything everywhere at any time (especially the connected guest)

The principle “everything, everywhere” can no longer be neglected in the modern world. People write their thesis at the beach, conduct video calls with the family currently on another continent while they are shopping, and work from their favorite café. We recognize that nobody can avoid aligning their business model and the possibilities of using space with this principle.

3. Single-use spaces are becoming obsolete

The principle »everything, everywhere« finds its spatial translation in »multi-use spaces«. In modern work environments, you have concentrated work and professional information exchange taking place in the same room, socializing and ideas being scribbled on the wall, all at the same time. A parallel can be found in the lobby areas of hotels. These can be transformed throughout the day from a meeting point to a meeting room, relaxation place, and finally a show cooking area.

connected guest
© iStock.com/jacoblund

4. Communication zones are mandatory

The problem of alienation and digitally altered perception, resulting in the loss of real experiences and social interactions, is often discussed in relation to the connected society. However, we must not forget that man is a social being who will always yearn for real relationships. As architects, we have the great responsibility to create exactly these spaces, together with our customers. Spaces that help overcome hurdles and promote human-to-human exchange.

5. Waiting time is not a wasted time

We are grateful that waiting times at the bus stop or in the waiting room of a doctor’s office can be meaningfully used. Boredom no longer exists unless we consciously seek it. Design requirements on the »in-between spaces« are correspondingly high. We do not want to see people in uncomfortable waiting rooms or bare lobbies without atmosphere.

6. Technology matters, but not in the way you think

The growing importance of technology in all areas of life is a fact. In conversation, we find that many people imagine the technological future in the form of visible displays, cables, and electronics. We believe that technology will integrate invisibly and intuitively into everyday life: a world in which technology responds to people, not the other way around. One example is intensive care units of hospitals, which are designed with technical help to be innovative and human-friendly at the same time: ventilators are hidden behind natural wooden surfaces. Landscapes and the changing times of day are simulated with LEDs on walls and ceilings. If nature, with its strong healing power, is unreachable, it can be brought into the room in this way and create a much more positive atmosphere than just a plain hospital room.

Our success motto for welcoming the connected guest in one sentence:

Recognize the structural change and keep up with its speed, use new developments as an opportunity, know people’s needs and never forget, for the connected guest it’s all about experience.

More on this topic in the article: “Hotels of tomorrow – smart is not enough”

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