The Wheelhouse Hotel in Chicago pays homage to Wrigley Field through baseball-themed art and artifacts. The bed concepts were created and developed by MORGAN Li. (Photo: The Wheelhouse Hotel)

 

We have just flipped the calendar to a New Year, but savvy travelers are already marking the dates for their 2019 travel – and savvy hoteliers and hospitality firms are anticipating what they’ll be expecting from their lodging.

 

  1. Technology at guests’ finger tips: From online booking, cloud-based room controls to robot room-service, technology continues to grow and impact within the hospitality space. Guests are becoming more fluent in using apps to unlock their hotel rooms in lieu of keys. At the Renaissance Midtown Hotel in New York, guests have access to an interactive wall called The Discovery Portal. It’s a virtual concierge where guests are allowed to choose from categories of entertainment, dining and much more by stepping onto a circular hologram projected on the floor. Expect to see more of these tech-driven consumer, logistic and engagement features gain momentum in 2019.

 

  1. Doin’ it for the Gram: No longer is a hotel lobby just a hotel lobby. If they’re doing it right, it can be the perfect backdrop for an impromptu Insta’ photo shoot. Hotels creating visually exciting and unique aspects to their common spaces and rooms, along with having ‘nudge-worthy’ signage to prompt and promote sharing on social media means guests are also able to become advocates and amplifiers for hotels within their own audiences.

 

  1. Hotels go hyperlocal. Even the most brand-loyal hotel guest doesn’t want a cookie-cutter experience. Hotel chains are increasingly incorporating customizable elements that highlight the local culture, art, food, natural landscape and more.

 

  1. Wellness hospitality continues to grow. We’re in the early stage of wellness-driven hospitality, and the potential is boundless. Travelers want to keep up their fitness and nutrition habits on the road, and hotels are helping them do it with in-room gym equipment, air purifiers, fresh juice bars and more. Look for programs similar to Hilton Five Feet to Fitness and Stay Well Rooms to make gains in 2019.

 

  1. Courting the “bleisure” traveler. The line between traveling for business and leisure continues to blur. This means guest rooms and common spaces need to be designed with both work and pleasure in mind. But huge desks and stodgy business centers aren’t the answer. Taking a page from modern office design, lounge seating, whether in-room or in the lobby, should be flexible and multifunctional, and, of course, have access to outlets and Wi-Fi.

 

  1. Designing rooms to serve as “home base.” Whether they’re in town for work or vacation, travelers who choose hotels over AirBNB or other VRBO options are looking for the perks of having everything taken care of when they stop in to recharge, rest or get ready for the next adventure. Hotels are focusing on elevating the bed and bathroom experience with signature fixtures, linens, toiletries and tech plug-ins since many travelers will only use their room for those essentials.

 

Last year hotel occupancy rates hit new highs, but the hospitality industry must continue to deliver tailored experiences to keep guests satisfied and returning. MORGAN Li can create bespoke and buzzworthy furnishings to set your destination apart.