As the lodging industry continues its current growth spurt, hospitality design is evolving at a greater pace, too, challenging operators and designers with a range of complex issues. Leading the pack: the need to balance technology and personal service; reconciling design innovations with brand consistency; determining reserve levels for replacement; and the continued outsourcing in food and beverage facilities. These design-related issues were front and center at a recent roundtable meeting of industry and academic minds at the Cornell Hotel School.

Looking ahead, participants identified the following trends in lodging design and construction:

  • Co-branding will continue, whether with personalities and brands from the fashion industry or retail brands that have synergies with the hotel.

  • Rooms may get narrower again, because of advances in technology such as flat-screen TVs. Conversely, guests want the beds to be bigger and bathrooms to be spacious.

  • The shift away from the bathtub continues, making much more flexible bathroom layouts possible.

  • Energy costs are increasing rapidly, making technologies such as a single point of energy control in the room more attractive for North American projects.

  • Pressure is coming for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for new construction. The market base is concerned about environmental issues, and owners and operators will need to respond.

  • Designing in 3D is getting more practical given the latest software, but this approach increases concerns about accuracy in construction drawings.

  • Rebuilding in the wake of recent hurricanes will probably push labor, drywall and lumber costs up 10-15 percent across the board.

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