Designing Hotels in an Airbnb World

by | Apr 30, 2020

Airbnb has been around since 2008 and has changed the hospitality industry as we know it.  Some studies even suggest that many travelers who use Airbnb do not go back to staying at hotels!  Clearly, there is something there that hoteliers can imitate and adjust their offering to give their guests that “home away from home” experience.

The biggest draw of an Airbnb is that it feels like home…because it is a home!  How can hotels make their space feel like home (but better)?

Creating a “Home-y” Atmosphere

hotels versus airbnb

Make your area warm and inviting.  This is built into any of our designs in the way that colour and lighting are used.  We have talked before about how lobbies with soft lighting are more welcoming than those that are harsh, and that principle rings true throughout a hotel.  Natural elements, like greenery and wood elements, add to the coziness of any space.  Add in a few pops of colour and you have got a joyful, but comfortable, space to be in.

Think about the fabrics you are using.  Hotels are limited in some areas since fabrics need to be of a commercial grade and be fire-rated. However, that does not mean that your guests need to sit on a stiff, uncomfortable couch.  Something like a commercial-grade chenille has the properties that are required by fire regulations but is soft and comfortable.

You want a space that is unique and memorable.  Many hotels are moving away from “every room is the same” and creating unique spaces.   This is seen in having different layouts and using different furniture combinations throughout your hotel.

One thing Airbnb does well is reflect the experience of being in the community.  How can hotels offer a “local” experience for their guests?  From a design experience, we can draw inspiration from the local community, such as its natural features and unique personality.   Integrating local art is another great way to make the design “local”, as well as support a local artist!

Where we can learn from Airbnb is not just how they decorate, but how they communicate to their guests.  Any Airbnb listing will talk about the things that they have upgraded.  Hoteliers can too!  Leverage your redesign into an opportunity to let your guests know that you have elevated your hotel and what it means for your guest.

Stay Luxurious

hotels versus airbnb

Does that mean that hotels should become just like an Airbnb?  Of course not.  Hotels have their own features that make them unique.

For example, hotels can invoke a sense of luxury.  No matter how many times I stay in a hotel, it still feels like a special treat.

One place where we can retain a hotel’s luxurious ambience is in the bathroom.  Spa-like features, clean lines and plush towels adds to the relaxing atmosphere, but also makes your guest feel like they are there to be pampered.

At Lesley Wong Interiors, our Guest First Design strategy means we are keeping in touch with what your guests want from their stay.  We believe that a hotel that should feel like a guest is coming home…but better!  Reach out today and we can talk about how to add these ideas to your next hotel redesign.

LESLEY WONG, Principal Designer

Lesley is committed to continuously keeping up with ever-changing trends and technology. But as every decorator knows, there’s no greater opportunity for learning than on-the-job experience. Lesley has worked in hospitality, commercial and residential projects and enjoys crafting customized and beautiful environments for her clients.

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