With increasing foreign & domestic travelers in India, the hospitality sector is fast becoming an attractive investment option for developers specializing in other real estate sectors. It is highly critical to understand the parameters that lead to success before entering a new real estate asset typology.
The term ‘hospitality’ is a broad bracket that encompasses a wide variety of buildings ranging from resorts, homestays, hostels, hotels, restaurants and more. From the experience gained during our 25-year architecture practice, we have identified key parameters that help hospitality projects succeed. Here’s a look at them.
1) Locate your ideal Location
Except for a few iconic hotels, most hospitality projects attract travelers who have decided to visit a specific place/destination. Here macro- and micro-location considerations become critical drivers for success. Macro-location implies the thriving town/city, which comes with a plethora of opportunities, constraints, climatic and socio-cultural context. And on the other hand, Micro-location points to specific project sites within a larger town or city, where elements such as access to the site, distance from public transport node, neighboring plots, etc. play an important role.
During your site selection, your first important step is to ensure that the location reflects both considerations to meet your project’s success goals.
Nandi Hills, a resort and residential community in Bangalore, is a destination hospitality project that has taken advantage of both Macro- & Micro-considerations of location.
2) Focus on the Focal Points
Typically, every town & city has important focal points that attract visitors. These focal points tend to be as follows:
- Geographic such as beaches, hill stations, canyons, forests, and such unique natural elements
- Religious such as places of worship and religious significance
- Historic such as forts, palaces, ruins, the location of significant battles/wars, peace memorials and places where significant historical event have occurred
- Cultural such distinguished eateries, vineyards, spice estates, fashion capitals, art, history & science museums, and many such lifestyle attractions
- Economical such as shopping destinations, commercial centers, financial districts and more.
- Business such as trade centers, expos, exhibitions, and other relevant opportunities for commercial activities
- Personal experience focal points such as proximity to colleges/universities, public health centers, and other people-centric public spaces
Proximity to such focal points when selecting a site is important. The site location should ideally have a direct or visual connection to these focal points. Let’s take an example. In Indian temple towns, a hotel ought to be located within walking distance from the main temple, or should be facing the temple, or providing views towards the temple, and/or display a distinct architectural style/reference that continues the temple experience.
Sheraton Grand, located in Chennai, maximizes the view from all rooms towards the natural beauty of the nearby beach (a strong focal point).
3) Understand your user groups
Understand your user groups and you will be able to delight your guests and improve their experience in your project. Typical guests (in both domestic and international travelers) include families, couples, youngsters, Gen X, millennials, business travelers, students, seniors, etc.
Based on research by tourism experts, it has been established that each user group has a defined set of requirements. For the project to be successful or to appeal to a certain set of specific guests, it is critical to clearly identify target user groups, their relevant needs, their travel aspirations as well as expectations.
Polycab Hospitality, a private accommodation offering star-rated service, is an example of how this project responds to a very specific set of corporate client requirements. Polycab Hospitality Photo and Link
4) Empathize with your User’s Expectations
Once the broader needs of user groups are incorporated into hospitality design and service, individual guest requirements should also be addressed promptly and with empathy. Most good hoteliers understand the pulse of each guest, know that every guest comes with specific taste & needs, and aim to address these requirements in a satisfactory manner.
For example, a family with 3 children would need an extra bed for a third child. Good hospitality design would incorporate sufficient flexibility to accommodate multiple guests and across age groups. Any new hotelier should gain the required skillset & experience to anticipate and address individual guest needs.
In addition, understanding the guest’s taste or preferences is important for the owner, operator, and architect. One recent trend in Indian hospitality is leaning towards open space design. A smart architect would understand this public preference in style & taste and design accordingly. A smart hotelier understands these trends and comes to the architect with the relevant project brief.
5) Make your USPs Unique
A good hospitality project needs unique factors that help differentiates it from other projects, especially considering the increasing number of hotels in proximity to focal points within the same city. USPs typically include larger spaces, welcoming rooms, luxury finishes, unique dining/spa experiences, world-class amenities & facilities, landscaped outdoor spaces, and spectacular guest experiences.
Mayfair Resorts, located in Raipur, has incorporated many such USPs and is a demonstrated leader in guest experiences.
6) Optimize your capital & Operating costs & Stick to timelines
Economically successful hospitality project needs to have a robust financial model and management system. It is also important to test the financial model against vacancy & room rate risks in the event the tourism economy fluctuates. While capital costs can be managed through a realistic budget, timely completion and quality standards, operations costs should also be diligently budgeted and monitored. This would save the hotel owner invaluable time and money. An experienced architect and hotel operators will provide design & financial inputs to help the owner establish realistic capital costs & operating costs and in determining the return on investments and break-even dates.
7) Good design Helps build your Reputation
Good design enhances the value of the hospitality project and helps differentiate the project from other run-of-the-mill projects. Good design helps clearly articulates space to meet functional and guest experience requirements. Good design also increases operational efficiencies and reduces maintainability expenditures. It is important to allocate sufficient time, resources and budgeting to take advantage of proper architectural services as well as good quality construction materials.
Cafe at AR Resort in Chennai is a prime example of how to design sense has helped elevate ambiance and guest experience.
Beyond strategies, it requires a lot of passion to be a hotelier and to serve the customers well. In a recent interview, Mr. Reddy, Managing Director of AR Foundations, explains that it has been his passion to enter the hospitality and he had been waiting for the right opportunity. “…I thought let me put the numbers aside and follow my passion and get into it (hospitality)…”, said Mr. Reddy.
Curious about how we could help your company design success for your hospitality projects? Call us for an initial discussion at 040-2374-3324 or email us at WeDesign@fhdgroup.in