Interior Planning for Modern Hotel Users

Billy Lam
Vice President, Design Director
Cheng Chung Design (HK) Ltd., Shenzhen

How to plan for modern hotel guests? To answer this question, we will have to understand how hotels have been planned and operated in the past. Then, we must define the characteristics and expectations of modern hotel guests. By comparing between the two, it will lead us to a hypothesis of how hotel planning could be improved to suit. The hotel industry has existed for a long time. Historically, the first hotel operation could be traced back as early as the 8th century, when a “hotel” was just a basic concept of providing accommodation, water and food. In the 19th century, hotel operation was revolutionized, along with new building technologies, such as steel structure and vertical transportation. Then, the idea of a full-service hotel started to form, along with check-in service, private guest rooms, food and beverage service, meeting and recreational facilities, etc. The majority of these hotels were mainly planned to suit the needs of business travelers, and the idea of a “full-service hotel” hasn’t changed much since.

In modern days, hotel guests travel more often for leisure. As a result, more unique, trendy, “lifestyle” brands have appeared on the market, while the traditional hotel market was mainly dominated by “meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions” (MICE) hotels. Lodging operators and designers are starting to think creatively to create unique hotel experiences for these newly categorized target customers. For instance, they have adopted new techniques, such as “open concept,” multi-functional spaces, integrative technology, and more. This presentation concludes with a case study of a recent project to showcase these new planning techniques.