Designing for an evolving hospitality market

BRR’s roots lie within providing consistent, integral, and recognized brand design. The spaces we aim to create provide our grocery, retail and hospitality clients with a uniform image which represents their values and services to their customers. To continue serving our clients, we have developed “innovation” teams to pioneer and design effective solutions currently faced by leaders of each respective industry. Recently, we completed a design competition focused on “lite lodging.”

No Vacancy

The growing modular hospitality movement has provided distinct opportunities to gain efficiency in production, standardization, movement, and labor. This movement has provided the ability to address the issue of occupancy variations through flexible, mobile, or expandable hospitality units. These “lite lodging” solutions offer owners and clients the ability to house additional customers at events such as concerts, music festivals, professional sporting venues, or graduations where demand heavily outweighs supply of available housing stock. The solutions our teams developed offer insight into how the traditional real-estate lodging model can be re-developed to accommodate an increasingly mobile and flexible target market.

Hotels are designed to meet specific target metrics such as Average Daily Rate (ADR), Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR), and Occupancy. These target metrics maximize occupancy rates, resulting in the greatest possible return on investment. However, there are particular events that bring a surplus amount of people into a single city where the demand surpasses the supply. The loss of potential revenue for these hotels further produces a loss of potential revenue for surrounding businesses such as bars, restaurants and retail shops.

Some would say “just build a larger hotel.” That approach would mean assuming additional construction costs plus the cost of ongoing maintenance and security, thus resulting in likely a lower rate of overall occupancy and return on investment. “Lite lodging” solutions offer a way for hotels to temporarily increase supply without creating a permanent structure.

For Your Consideration

We challenged our innovation teams with the goal of creating units that provide safety, privacy, and are easily constructed. The method of accomplishing this, however, provides further considerations: How does an individual unit function on a smaller scale? How do the units provide the same level of service as the main hotel? How does it transport across cities? What is required for a cluster of units to be deployed? Early in the design process, it became apparent that this was not just a design problem, but an engineering problem as well. The designs were faced with the triple constraint where each of the factors are interdependent and cannot be altered without affecting the others. While each design depended on a method of efficiency (mobility, construction, and rehabilitation), it was the combination of these efficiencies which lead to their successes.

Innovation in MOBILITY

The most common method for transportation is road freight, specifically via the semi-trailer truck. Since transportation costs can be expensive, each of our team designs use mobility to maximize profit, turnover, and installation. Whether the solution is turn-key ready or flat packed, these kinds of units maximize the number of units per trip and the available distance covered.

Leveraging the mobility of units, it was critical to maximize the efficiency of transportation. The deployment of these units, whether flat-packed onto transportation methods or integrated, means the hotel is no longer chained to a physical building. Units can be deployed directly at venues and events thus capitalizing on the additional demand for unit stock while allowing for rearrangement of stock. This minimizes the amount of underutilized overhead and allows occupancy to flux alongside demand.

Innovation in CONSTRUCTION

Minimizing on-site construction allows for quick turnaround times between each deployment site. Several units focused on innovative construction methods, ranging from “no assembly required” to hotel expansion.

With their controlled construction, easy installment, and reduced fabrication cost, prefabricated units are another option for the modular hospitality market.  Our design solutions for “lite lodging” offer owners the ability to take modular prefabrication a step further: offering units which are ready for occupancy upon delivery. The units come with fully integrated with mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, thus providing ease of utility connection. The reduction of labor during the construction phase (made possible through prefabrication) maximizes the return on investment for ownership and operators while building upon a consistent brand look, feel, and image.Innovation in REHABILITATION

Expansion of existing facilities, and the re-use of existing hotels, provided another method of leveraging flexible unit stock. Our design solutions are built upon the sustainable approach of recycling buildings, while either adding onto or renovating the standard hotel into an industry-progressive concept.

Hotels are often designed with two main functions: lodging and assembly. These design solutions reinvented how we see, use and design these spaces. The ability to expand and contract existing lodging facilities produces the most realizable solution to the existing hospitality model. Solutions leveraging this approach converted unused ballrooms into profit-generating lodging space and attached additional units onto structures in an exhilarating and Instagram-able lodging experience. Unique pairings of hospitality facilities with retail, entertainment, and dining have been successfully accomplished within markets to date. However, pairing these facilities with other uses, such as commercial office space, offers a unique, albeit temporary, live-work experience.The Big Picture

Fluctuating occupancy rates pose a challenge for the hospitality industry all year long. It is difficult for hospitality owners to predict the potential demands of the surrounding market, especially over the course of multiple years.

Hotels that have the ability to adapt to change to capitalize on the growing market may determine their long-term sustainability. Temporarily increasing the number of guestrooms as a way to adapt to the changing market is a step in a positive direction. The efficiency in which the units are deployed depends on the feasibility to decrease the cost of transportation, construction, and burden upon existing hotel guests.

All three of the ideas which came forward have a common thread – flexibility. The ability to have a quick turnaround on a reduced construction cost without disrupting the existing hotel is a concept design professionals, guests, and management can agree upon. This innovative thinking can vary in scale, ranging from guestrooms to large ballrooms. No matter the scale, designing multi-functional spaces allows hotels to adapt to the economic climate without compromising their level of service.