What has changed in the way hotels are thought of in recent years?
It has changed a lot over the last decade. Previously, particularly for budget and mid-scale hotels, operators focused on comfort, functionality and hygiene, in a fairly industrial way. Today, customers have new expectations. They want a real experience, to be surprised, and to be more in touch with the local environment.
To attract them, we need to look at their needs and respond accordingly.
What does this paradigm shift mean?
It is transforming the organisation of space and functions. In order to transform hotels into living spaces, it has been necessary to review the positioning of the reception area, which acts as a “transactional reception” for guests. Traditionally, it was the point of entry to hotels. Now, once through the door, you discover a lobby, a bar, a restaurant and even a retail space. In short, a place that is not just for guests.
To reinforce this porous relationship between the city and the hotel, transparency is essential. In some cities in the south of France, facades are even designed so that when the weather is fine, they can be completely open to the outside world.Damien Perrot
Global Chief Design, Technical Services & Innovation Officer, Premium, Midscale & Economy brands at Accor
Decompartmentalisation is also a must. There is no longer any question of being forced to go to the business corner to work; you must also be able to work in the restaurant or bar, to enjoy a more convivial atmosphere. These changes mean more complexity in programming and design.
What changes does this mean for your programmes?
To take these changes into account, it’s essential to have a good understanding of the needs and the ecosystem. At Accor, design is a department in its own right, but one that works closely with development, marketing and operations, as well as sustainable development, which is at the heart of our design strategy, with objectives such as carbon neutrality by 2050, the preservation of biodiversity, and the impact on the customer experience and employee missions. We ensure that our design strategy and the concepts we create have a positive impact on the environment and society. This is all the more important given that, in the long term, other changes will have to be considered as large cities become denser.
Under these conditions, design becomes a real creative asset that can add value for hotels, owners, investors and, of course, the planet.