Small accommodations can lead to big hospitality successes. We focus on a book about the architecture of small hotels. It also discusses hospitality and tourism and applies directly to the innkeeping industry. The title of the book Big Little Hotel: Small Hotels Designed by Architects.
This book features various small hotels across the United States, all of which are distinguished by the thoughtful and creative use of light and materials by their architects. Apart from being aesthetically intriguing, the designs resonate deeply with their local context, history, or landscape, and often a blend of all three.
The architectural and operational practices of these small accommodations are in perfect harmony with their surroundings. This is true whether it be a vibrant city, quaint town, or untouched natural setting.
While some are newly constructed establishments, others breathe new life into previously existing structures through renovation or adaptive reuse. Thus, this fosters a continuing dialogue with the locale’s history. The book highlights how larger trends and innovations within the hospitality sector influence hotel design and operation. Thus, opening endless creative possibilities for future travel experiences.
Landscapes and Lodgings
From the uncharted wilderness to bustling urban landscapes, the American story is deeply entwined with the concept of movement and exploration. Thus, the progression of our nation’s roadways has played a crucial role in transforming how we travel. Moreover, it continues to influence the establishment and evolution of accommodations along the way.
The book weaves together the milestones in the development of the lodging industry. First, it highlights the shifts in architectural principles. Second, it discusses the emergence of hotel chains. Third, it details the role of digital communication in fostering the host-guest relationship. This chronicle of hospitality in America offers a unique glimpse into how transportation advancements, societal needs, and technological innovation shape our way of life.
Roads to Respite
With the improvement of roadways, travel became more accessible, leading to notable advancements in accommodations. Along the way, travelers encountered various stops that offered them a chance to indulge in a wider array of local cuisines. Moreover, to seek guidance from hospitable hosts about significant local landmarks. Occasionally to find respite during prolonged stays caused by inclement weather.
Increasing Demand For Lodging
As the number of people journeying from one place to another increased, so did the demand for lodging. Consequently, the availability of guest rooms expanded to cater to this growing need. Accommodations transformed into physical settings that facilitated various activities. This includes popular entertainment events and intimate family celebrations. These small accommodations even serve as venues for artist gatherings or literary readings.
More Leisure Travel
As people became familiar with overnight stays in accommodations, transportation and communication systems continued to progress. Leisure travel gained prominence. Increasing numbers of Americans embarked on journeys for their well-being. They continued to seek respite from the busyness of their work lives. In addition, they desired a deeper connection with nature.
With the advent of new roads, optimism prevailed, and people enthusiastically embraced the freedom and mobility offered by automobiles. This newfound ability to travel empowered individuals to explore new horizons. Thus, it opened up a world of possibilities and freedom of movement.
Rise of Hotel Chains
The number of hotels increased, both in terms of guest rooms and properties. Gradually accommodations shifted away from being predominantly owned and operated by independent individuals.
The growth of hotel chains, characterized by a collection of three or more hotels under the ownership of a single individual or company, originated in the early 19th century. In 1919, Conrad Hilton made his foray into the hotel industry by acquiring The Mobley, his first hotel in Cisco, Texas. Today, the Hilton Hotel Corporation is the third-largest hotel chain globally, with an extensive portfolio of over 6,400 hotels.
In 1957, John Willard Marriott, Jr. expanded his business beyond an A & W Root Beer franchise with the addition of his inaugural hotel, the Twin Bridges Motor Hotel, situated in Arlington, Virginia. Marriott has since evolved into the world’s largest hotel chain, boasting an impressive network of over 7,900 hotels and 1.4 million rooms.
Hospitality Property Design Principles:
• Enhance the relationship between the interior and the exterior of the property (e.g., porches).
• Provide a place where guests can relax and feel at home, while also feeling connected to a specific place.
• Demonstrate the contrast between public and private spaces, inside and outside, enclosed versus exposed.
• Offer ample natural light and windows, fresh air, as well as quiet and private spaces.
• Use materials natural to the local area.
• Preserve the historical elements of existing properties.
• Integrate sustainability measures, such as rainwater collection, to reduce the carbon footprint.
• Collaborate with local artisans, fabricators, and artists to support the local community and enhance the sense of place.
• Connect guests to the local area, highlighting its unique attributes and incorporating local art and artifacts.
• Create a comfortable and inviting atmosphere through the use of textured materials and fabrics.
• Prioritize design and the overall guest experience.
Hospitality and tourism have now become some of the largest and most rapidly expanding industries worldwide. While tourism has deep historical roots in human experience, it is continually shaped by current trends and advancements in technology.
In today’s digital age, the relationship between hosts and guests is fostered through ongoing digital communication. This includes various channels, such as texts, social media interactions, post-stay surveys, and reviews. These digital connections play a significant role in enhancing the guest experience.
The term “boutique hotel” commonly refers to a small-scale establishment with fewer than 100 rooms. These hotels strive to integrate seamlessly into the local context. To showcase a passion for design. Demonstrate an unwavering commitment to hospitality and service. Cultivate meaningful connections between guests and the surrounding community.
Innkeeping revolves around the development of personal connections and the dedication to infusing each operated property with a unique sense of character and charm. Thus, it is about creating an environment where guests feel a genuine connection and memorable experiences.
As the industry evolves, there is continuous emergence of distinctive lodging facilities and innovative operations. This ongoing development reflects the ever-changing needs and desires of travelers.
According to the American Hotel and Lodging Association’s 2022 State of the Hotel Industry Report, travelers today are more likely to engage in leisure travel, engage in “bleisure” (combining business and leisure), or embrace the digital nomad lifestyle. Furthermore, these shifting travel patterns and preferences will shape the future of the hospitality industry. Thus, presenting new opportunities for innovation and adaptation.
In the ongoing journey of hospitality, we find an industry that is dynamic, adapting, and constantly evolving to meet the changing needs and preferences of travelers. From the traditional role of offering a place to rest during a long journey to becoming a focal point of the travel experience itself, accommodations have come a long way.
As the wheels of progress continue to turn, we can only anticipate what the future holds for the American hospitality industry. Indeed, the essence of hospitality will remain the same. Hospitality’s purpose is to provide a space that fosters connection, comfort, and a unique sense of place.
Licensed Realtor Rob Sales, of B&B Consulting, owned and operated successful B&B Inns with his wife, Jane. Moreover, with decades of experience as a realtor, Rob specializes in luxury and hospitality real estate including small accommodations. Contact Rob today, for a complimentary phone consultation.