Eventopedia VIP event, hosted by the Andaz Liverpool Street, was an opportunity for THDP and Afroditi Krassa to each present a guest talk on The Future of Meetings within the context of hotel design.
Interesting Spaces for ROI
One of the chief jobs of a designer is to make spaces interesting, but those interesting spaces need to have a Return On Investment (ROI) for the client (the hotel). Manuela advises that people don’t relate to complex and technical spaces and this was centre of mind during 6 large Ballroom and event space projects the team recently worked upon. The approach to these projects was
“The process can be complex, but with the right team and the right approach, it’s easy”, says Manuela
How does Technology have an impact?
Guests must be central to the whole process of design, and it must be an integrated holistic process, encompassing ‘humility’, where the designer steps back and takes consideration of where everyone else is.
Manuela says, “Change is an opportunity for a successful design strategy”.
Hotels are organic shapes and need to impact the city in which they reside. Hotels needs to provide culture to the city, allowing people to use hotels in a different way – afternoon tea, office party, art opening, networking, private dining, co-working, gala dinner, romantic weekend, convention, business trip – with an emphasis on changing the ‘intimidating’ feeling of a hotel through good design process. This intimate bond between the hotel, the city, and the guests is referred to as the ‘organic cloud of connectivity’.
Technology is changing the way people live, the way in which we travel, work and meet. This has a profound impact upon design;
- People do not just work in the office ‘9 – 5’ anymore
- Companies are looking to downsize on office space
- Startups are looking for cheap spaces to work in
- Hotels are adapting to these changes of life-style
- Creating a local mobile economy
According to HRS Corporate, ‘70% of managers want a co-working space in hotels’ and ‘70% prefers to work in the lobby’.
- The empty lobby is gone and irrelevant
- Hotels now strive for lobbies for working in and socializing
- Seating at different levels and in different positions
- People work better in a relaxed informal atmosphere
- Socialising with other people improves communication
As a start-up, we have a co-working office space in the city as part of the London Tech start up community, but we also spend a lot of time in our clients’ lobbies and there is a notable change in terms of hotel design and lobby space utilisation & function. Probably the most obvious London example is The London EDITION, where the lobby & bar function as a nice relaxed work space during the day, slowly transforming into a cool and a hip bar as the crowd swells towards the back end of day. So, it probably comes as no surprise that the designer of the hotel was the Godfather of Design Hotels, Ian Schrager.
Manuela describes the Andaz approach, whereby meeting rooms form part of the guest experience, rather than being tucked away. Meeting rooms at Andaz have a sophisticated, elegant, and residential feel.
At the Andaz Wailea Maui Spa in Hawaii, the hotel design strategy focuses upon a culturally immersive experience, which involves the spa team meeting their local farmers to learn about local ingredients and how they can be incorporated into the spa experience, “Fresh-picked herbs pulverized with mortar and pestle, release vibrant scents”.
The Andaz 5th Avenue New York design strategy focuses upon personalised food & beverage, providing guests with cookery master classes, a show kitchen and deli counter, and bespoke chef menus for events.
The Andaz Tokyo design strategy focuses upon connecting with nature.
“Biophilic design is the process of connecting guests with nature, and bringing the hotel to life. This effectively enhances the guest’s health and well being and in so doing reduces their stress, enhancing their creativity and productivity.”
Manuela was asked what event planners could do in terms of their venue choice decisions?
“Make conscious effort to think about the space utilisation, what their guests want, and make informed choices towards room design”.