Boutique Hotel

  • Modern vs. Classic: Fusing the Old and New in Hospitality Design

    The golden age of hotels brought us ornate and lavish features including large moldings, vast amounts of granite (among other stones), and gilded hardware. These statements of style are almost but a memory, but still have an impact on design today.

    In contrast, during the traveling era of the 1950’s and 60’s, many families would spend weeks at a time on the road. Driving from county to county until they reached a hotel or motel on the side of the road. The group would catch some shut eye and hit the road at first light to their next stop.

    This period of lodging was based around minimalistic needs and price, rather than comforts and luxury.

    The first brought sophistication and exclusivity. The latter turned hotels into an industry for all to join in. Now, it’s changing again.

    The New Era

    In the era of the millennial traveler we seemingly have a merger of the two. Business travelers still do look for a place to rest their head in between work, and families are looking to find affordable hotels.

    For some traveling Millennials old is new and a unique experience with each stay is at the top of the checklist.

    With hotels bidding for guests’ attention, it can be difficult to attract guests during the industry’s identity crisis. The solution?

    Fuse the experiences together to form a new experience for a new patron.

    Finding the Core Desires

    Fortunately, the two examples had drastically different approaches to dealing with guests. Before you think this is a negative, think again. The polarized needs help you identify what current guests want in terms of design.

    Luxury

    It’s obvious that early hoteliers focused on providing a one of a kind experience for guests. This included everything their eyes came in contact with from floor to ceiling. While most new travelers don’t want to stay in a 100+ year old hotel, you can be sure they want to feel like everything is quality.

    From the lobby to their room, everything has to be modern, clean and smooth. Spa like bathrooms, functional and beautiful furniture, and great features. They’ll also want to feel the quality in the craftsmanship. Poor quality materials and hardware can give a cheap feel to an otherwise beautiful design. One way to make your design stand out to guests is with quality door hardware that creates clean lines and adds a touch of elegance and sophistication to your rooms and common areas.

    Simplicity

    On the other side of the coin, those same travelers don’t want to be bogged down with processes and other issues. Streamlining the check-in/check-out procedures, designing large open spaces meant for a laptop crowd, and always having a power supply close by will meet all of the practical needs of the passing through traveler.

    A place to grab a bite to eat near the lobby, a USB port right by the bed, and not having to ask the whereabouts of certain necessities will keep the road warriors happy.

    Connectivity

    In the golden age of hotels with the classic styles connectivity meant telegrams quickly delivered to important guests. Today it is a fast and secure Wi-Fi. Travelers today are used to be always being connected to the world around them through social media and electronic communications. A fast (and complimentary) Wi-Fi can mean the difference between a traveler choosing your hotel or not.

    If your hotel can bring luxury, excellent service, a unique experience and connectivity together you will be on the fast track to serving more guests and business growth. At SOSS we can help with the unique experience by giving you quality door hardware that appears in some of the world’s great hotels such as Marina Bay Sands in Singapore and Trump International Hotel and Tower in Vancouver.

    If you are interested in learning more about hospitality trends take a moment to download our free special report on the hospitality design trends.

  • Why Tech Trends in Hotels Matter for Architects & Designers


    modern tech friendly hotel lobbyEvery architect wants to design a space that is durable and functional (not to mention beautiful). These desires are especially true in the hospitality industry. Is elegant design enough? Tech friendly hotels are non-negotiable to today's tech savvy traveler.

    Creating clean lines (using hardware like our SOSS Invisible Hinges), great work space for the busy traveler, and rooms that are simply breathtaking are non-negotiable needs in today’s hotel marketplace. But do tech trends play a part during the design?

    Absolutely. Let’s look at a couple reasons we think so.

    The Elephant in the Room(s)

    If you have spoken with anyone in the hospitality industry for more than a few seconds you may have heard the word millennial. Like it or not they will shape the way hotels are built (are already are).

    These young travelers have a different definition of luxury than previous generations. While “getting away” used to be a priority; it has been replaced with staying as connected as possible.

    The need for constant access to high tech devices is real and not just the normal things either (e.g. smartphones and laptops). Things like free HBO and Showtime are losing their appeal to the young. Instead, millennials want access to their own Netflix and Hulu accounts. Connected TV’s and more USB ports (along with other tech features) must be more than an afterthought in your next design.

    Work Gets Priority

    Travel (as we already mentioned) is becoming more connected, even to handle business. With the new generation of traveler comes a new way to work. The boundaries of business and pleasure have become blurred and more people can take care of “office” work inside the hotel that you will design.

    If that hotel makes it easy.

    Ever go in to a cookie cutter hotel and see one desk with a computer from 2001 sitting on it?

    That type of set up won’t fly. Think of a hotel that offers a smaller (but fully functional) co-working space. That’s what you should strive to create.

    Smile, You’re on Camera

    Have we mentioned that travelers want to stay connected while on the road? Because they do. Your lobbies, rooms, restaurants and every other square inch will be all over every social media platform you know about (and some you don’t). This unsolicited promotion puts things right back in your wheel house, design.

    However, you’ll need to keep the “selfie-factor” in the back of your mind while designing those spaces you would normally think go unnoticed. One Instagram post in front of an unsightly janitor closet will still show the name of that hotel to the world.

    We hope that you are looking at these technological influences for your next design, and we also urge you to consider SOSS Door Hardware to help create those clean lines and selfie proof spaces. For more information on our invisible hinges click here.

  • Designing an Independent Hotel that Attracts a "Name Brand" Crowd

    Independent Hotel DesignIndependent hotels are hip, quirky, and fun. Big brand name hotels are polished, organized, and trusted. Those points are necessarily argued, but is there a way for a one-stop shop to attract and win over those guests that prefer to stay at the big names in the travel industry?

    We think so, but it won’t be easy.

    Whole teams are put together for the entire process from real estate buying, marketing and design (of course). Smaller organizations are at a disadvantage from the start, but that’s ok. Here are a few crucial tips to draw a few eyeballs and hopefully some guests onto your property.

    Smile for the Camera

    A quick search on Airbnb or any other travel site and you will immediately see a difference. A boutique hotel that looks like a hot mess here and a small chain with a bad photographer there. You’ll also notice the mundane, yet professional photos of the hospitality giants.

    By purposefully designing a few key spots, you will always have the photogenic side of your new build. Not that every part of your hotel shouldn’t be beautiful, but putting in a few spaces that will look good on Expedia will help the owner raise eyebrows as well as rates.

    Don’t Skimp on the Details

    This one is obvious. You have probably been traveling to a new area and decided to go to dinner. You walk in somewhere new and see red and white dollar store table clothes and metal chairs from Costco.

    It’ll be a while before you try something different.

    The same effect can be true for your lodging design. Boutique hotels are often rebuilt roadside motels or other abandoned buildings. This repurposing is part of the charm, but don’t mistake that as an excuse to keep those old fixtures.

    Older looking furniture, lamps, and storage will need to be updated for things with a high-end feel and clean lines. Try a professional, yet warm design in the room with invisible hinges and updated fixtures.

    Wide Open Spaces

    Our last key to attracting those brand loyal travelers is to mimic the open design of the typical chain lobby. Most of the bigger luxury hotels will have a large open style to their main spaces. Guests easily find the front desk and don’t feel cramped. Small spaces can lead to confusion and a tense feeling.

    Again, many of the remodeled independents need to be opened up from the older “cozy” lobby designs. Doing so will help you draw attention and a few more patrons from the big guys.

    If you need to create a high-end look in your independent hotel, SOSS creates the best invisible hinges in the world. Be sure to check out our catalog and our dealer page to learn more.

     

  • 4 Ways To Improve Your Online Reputation in the Hotel Business

    Online Reputation will help you get more bookingsThere’s no way of getting around the fact that the internet has taken control of the hotel business. It’s neither fair nor accurate, but online reputation is largely what customers use to deem your hotel as a credible one. It’s important that you use online reputation to your advantage. The following tips can be used to improve the online reputation of your hotel.

     


    Hire a Digital Marketing Agency

    A digital marketing agency can be the turnkey solution your hotel needs to improve its online reputation. Most digital marketing agencies can provide you with a reputation management service that will do any and everything it takes to improve the online reputation of your hotel. They are experienced experts in these regards and can implement a variety of strategies to get your online reputation on the right track. They can also help your hotel’s online presence with tools such as website/mobile design and development, and search engine optimization.

    Improve Guest Satisfaction

    Satisfied guests are most important. If your guests aren’t satisfied, you’ll never improve your online reputation. It might seem counterintuitive, but try not to think about the online aspect of your hotel. Focus solely on serving your guests. The little things make a difference. Focus on them and you’ll see positive reviews increase, and satisfaction and star ratings quickly go up.

    Bonus Tip: Remodels and updates will obviously improve your guest's experience. If you can’t afford a full remodel yet, start with small updates that will make a big impression. SOSS invisible hinges will improve the overall look and feel of your hotel without breaking the bank.

    Ask Guest How You Can Improve

    If you don’t ask guests how you can improve, they’ll let you know on the internet. Again, this isn’t fair, but it’s a reality. A complaint or negative review can kill your online reputation. Stay on top of things by asking your guests what you can do to improve. By doing this, you’re letting them know you care and are decreasing the chances of a negative review, as guests feel their concerns have been heard and addressed.

    Start an Email Marketing Campaign

    Email marketing campaigns can be a great way to improve your online reputation. They’re a way for you to reach out to the guests and tell them you want them to visit your hotel. They make guests feel special and welcome, which is always good for both online and overall reputation.

    Use one or any combination of the above-mentioned tips to improve the online reputation of your hotel. Remember, you can’t control the amount of leverage the internet has on your business, but you can control how well you manage your online presence. Use it to your advantage.

    Hospitality Design Guide

  • Designing Hot Hotel Spaces in Any Climate

    People need a place to stay at all times of the year, but that doesn’t mean your hotel will have the features that pull guests in to stay year-round.

    Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring each have their time in the spotlight. However, some lodgings aren’t put together to shine during off seasons of the year. Designing with all four seasons in mind will vary wildly based on your location and climate. If you are lucky enough to be building in a temperate zone, like San Diego, this post may not be for you.

    For everyone else, here are a few tips to get you started.

    Plenty of Things to Do (Inside)

    If there is a particularly long winter or rainy season in your neck of the woods, you’ll have to accommodate your guests with some entertainment. Try making the typical hotel spaces more appealing like:

    Increasing the size of restaurants to house more people when going out is troublesome.

    Making the pool large and indoors to keep people happily swimming.

    Adding an ample gym space to help those with cabin fever burn it off.

    Bonus: If you are in a vacation spot don’t use it as an excuse to skimp out. Put in a large game room to keep families happy during poor weather conditions.

    Plenty of Things to Do (Outside)

    Even if there is a terrible winter and an extremely rainy spring, there will still be times that the sun shines and guests want to be outside. Take full advantage by adding a few things to your property:

    A lengthy walking path. If you can’t afford the space, make it shorter with some well-groomed garden elements and seating.

    Extra space to change into pool clothes would be considerate and noticed.

    Have a helpful kiosk with information about the surrounding area to encourage guests to get out and enjoy the area.

    Make It Last

    Even if your hotel has an answer for every season out of the year, it will still wear down. The elements, guests beating on everything, and time makes it necessary for your design to be constructed with the best material possible.

    Choosing hearty plants that can survive a cold winter, picking carpet that can stand the force of a thousand children running down the hall, and building your structure with the best quality hardware are all examples of the hotel that will stand up to the seasons and time.

    SOSS makes some of the best door hardware in the industry. If you would like the clean lines that invisible hinges make on your next build or update, click here to find a dealer near you or right online.

    Hospitality Design Guide

  • Are Boutique Hotels Losing Their Luster?

    Around the 1980’s the term “boutique hotel” started floating around the hospitality world. Over the past several decades this sector of the industry has burst into the mainstream and has become somewhat of a common term.

    Now, even the largest chains are trying to create their own boutique feel (or entirely new brands) to take a piece of the billions being spent for a more intimate lodging experience. This type of hotel is so popular; it leads many to wonder if it has the staying power to continue rising while others claim that it will change the future of travel.

    So, who’s right? Are boutiques in danger of losing their appeal or will they keep on chugging into the future of travel?

    Let’s take a closer look (and see how it can help you).

    The Answer Is Yes (and Yes)

    To be honest, there are truths in both opinions. Definite dangers are knocking on the door of the boutique sector. However, those same dangers are the very thing that are changing the face of all lodgings (big and small).

    The (Potential) Bad

    In a recent conference dedicated to boutique hotels, many agreed that this type of hotel is defined by being unique and intimate. The threat that is knocking on the door of these hip places to stay is big business. Larger chains hope to acquire brands (or start their own) that are geared toward boutique guests.

    Many feel that if your “one of a kind” room is the same in every major city, it takes away the allure of these types of lodgings.

    The (Potential) Good

    Some may be calling the end of the boutique era, but others see a silver lining to big business taking a few notes from what’s popular.

    With so many travelers wanting a more intimate and design friendly experience, chains are beginning to put more effort into each of their new designs (and the older ones). Stagnant, cookie cutter rooms and standard guest areas may be a thing of the past.

    And the industry seemingly owes it to the boutique revolution. Architect, hospitality experts, and designers tend to agree that enthusiasm for the movement isn’t going anywhere soon and even seem to agree that it is good for guests all around.

    One thing is certain, great design is crucial to winning over the young savvy guests of today. SOSS has been making invisible hinges for hotels around the world for nearly 100 years. Your next boutique hotel or large chain update can benefit from our solid designs. To get genuine SOSS Invisible Hinges for your next project see one of our dealers or sales reps.

    Hospitality Design Guide

  • 5 Ways to Make Your Hotel Stand Out

    Make Your Hotel Standout with SOSS!Having the advantage over your competition is something that has been sought after since the dawn of time. Whether it’s war or business, your livelihood depends on being able to best others who are after the same prize.

    While your prize is obviously more guests, your enemy may not be who you think. In reality, the one holding you up is most likely your hotel. You’re not going to sabotage another lodging, or meet them on an open field of battle.

    You have to go to war with yourself and your own location to figure out how you can stand out on a listing and in the eyes of all who choose to stay at your hotel.

    How? That’s a good question and we hope to help. Here are our 5 suggestions.

    1. Communication

    We’re not talking about making sure your staff says, “have a nice stay”. You need to communicate verbally and visually with your guests to show them you care. Here are a few ways to do it:

    - Weather forecasts during wake up and other calls

    - Call before they arrive to let them know you are ready for them

    - Welcome returning guests to let them know you appreciate repeat business

    - Create more signs to leave little notes letting guests know bedding was changed and other    areas were cleaned.

    1. Professionalism

    Since we’re on the topic of communication and signage, everything you do should say the same thing. Colors, patterns, dress code, among other things should all have common branding. One handwritten or poorly spelled sign can turn off every guest that sees it.

    Making sure your brand looks the same to everyone staying will keep you from looking like a poorly run franchise.

    1. Reviews

    Picking up the phone and asking guests how their stay went can be the best marketing money can buy. With reviews on travel sites becoming more and more important, you could offer a discounted stay in return for an honest review.

    Bonus: If you right the wrongs for unsatisfied customers without being confronted, your best reviews may come from those who didn’t like your hotel at first.

    1. Be Social

    If you’re not utilizing social media, you’re missing out (big time). You are in the hospitality industry, perhaps even in a vacation hot spot. Large chains are utilizing digital marketing to fill their empty rooms. The neatest part about using this platform is its cost effectiveness.

    Your ad spend doesn’t have to be very much to see a great return. In fact, you can publish content that gets passed around for free exposure.

    1. Update Your Style

    The popularity of boutique hotels is growing. And the travel industry is being taken over by a younger and more design savvy crowd. All this means that you may need to add a few updates to your rooms. Clean lines and tech friendly spaces are among the most sought after features of a millennial crowd.

    SOSS hardware is used in some of the finest hotels and buildings all over the world. Clean lines are incredibly easy to achieve with our invisible hinges and will last a lifetime. We’d love to show you our designs and help you find a dealer today.

    Hospitality Design Guide

  • Details That Are Not Noticed in Luxury Hotels

    12958291_sThere is no exact definition for luxury hotels other than that people expect them to be expensive. Hotel star ratings from AAA or industry publications are at best arbitrary. Many four and five star hotels bill themselves as luxury hotels even though there are no set standards.

    But one thing is certain. High-end luxury hotels have certain details that the other class of hotels can’t emulate, either because they cost too much or they don’t fit the type of clientele they’re going after. Here are some incredible details that are never noticed in luxury hotels.

    1. Doors

    Most people don’t pay attention to their room doors or cabinet doors when they’re at a hotel. Yet doors represent some of the finest details of what sets luxury hotels from others. Everything from the material to finish to hinges complement the hotel’s style and decor.

    Luxury hotels that have deep history aim for more traditional look. Contemporary luxury hotels tend to go for more minimalist design. Hidden door hinges or invisible hinges can achieve a clean look that doesn’t detract from the design.

    2. Services

    Hotel business is known as hospitality business for a reason. Guests expect friendliness and courtesy. But what tips the scale from just okay to exceptional is how some of the services are performed.

    Luxury hotels understand that people instinctively respond to their name favorably. One’s own name has been known as the most pleasant word that can be uttered. That’s why luxury hotel personnel address everyone by his/her name. They do this in such a discreet and subtle way that you might not even notice it, but the pleasant feeling lingers.

    3. Cleanliness

    You would think a clean hotel room is a given, but you’d be surprised. You’ll often come across shocking truths on how housekeeping is really done in even the most posh hotels. If you can blissfully spare yourself from the gross details, good for you.

    Luxury hotels that get consistently high reviews on aggregate websites (e.g. TripAdvisor) and enjoy a ton of repeat visitors have the cleanliness factor locked down, even if you stay only one night.

    4. Technology

    Key-less entries, automatic check-ins and outs, a mobile app that tells you when your room is ready – these are the technological triumphs that make luxury hotels better than others.

    They can afford to build a proprietary app that handles the mundane details, so they can focus on the part that really matters – having a competent concierge that can meet any demands.

    Although many functions of hotel business are becoming more and more automated, people will always crave personal attention and human interaction from luxury hotels. Amenities that can foresee and meet guests’ needs and impeccable services are all details that make luxury hotels successful.

    Hospitality Design Guide

  • The Higher Demand of Boutique Hotel Architecture

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    During the 1980s, a different breed of hotels emerged in New York, London, and San Francisco. Known as boutique hotels, they aimed to set themselves apart from overly ubiquitous big hotel chains. Rather than simply providing lodging and slapping on some amenities, boutique hotels were unique in their style and furnishings. They traditionally targeted people in 20s to 50s, who had more disposable income.

    Now that boutique hotels have become more commonplace with big chains in the game (e.g. Intercontinental Hotel Group with Hotel Indigo), the standards have gone up even more. People expect the personal attention of a small hotel combined with the amenities of a luxury brand.

    Even the very definition of boutique hotels is getting blurred. The “purists” would say that a hotel couldn’t be considered boutique if it exceeds 100 to 150 rooms. That’s due to the belief that it’s harder for a bigger hotel to provide personal experience.

    On the contrary, some would say a hotel size doesn’t play as big of a factor; it’s all about the approach and attitude. As long as hotels answer this one crucial question, they can be considered boutique. Do they entertain and delight? Whether through music, architecture, lighting, unique or specialized themes or art, as long as hotels provide one-of-a-kind atmosphere, they meet the criteria for boutique.

    Even if people disagree on the true definition, one thing is certain about boutique hotels. People want the personal experience. Every room is slightly different and not a cookie-cutter design. Only the essential amenities are provided because too many choices can actually paralyze people when making decisions. But these amenities don’t feel like the “bare minimum.”

    Detail to attention is meticulous. Take door hinges for example. Not too many people think about door hinges, but at many boutique hotels that boast contemporary interior, you’ll notice the hinges are missing.

    These “invisible hinges” are hidden when the doors and cabinets are closed, adding to the smooth and clean lines. Unless the hotels are going for the vintage or classical look, traditional hinges are bulky, take up a lot of room, and detract from the decor. Concealed door hinges solve that problem.

    Boutique hotels also meet higher standards by essentially being mind readers. They go beyond the expensive sheets and memory foam beds. Prior to check in, they’ll ask their guests what their sleeping preferences are and provide accordingly. This ensures every guest has a customized experience.

    In a nutshell, boutique hotels focus on providing quality experience at a personal level, regardless of the size. They pay attention to smallest details, like using hidden hinges on their doors and cabinets. They generally take care to make sure their interior is different and reflects the characteristics of the hotels.

    Hospitality Design Guide

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