We’re officially on a countdown until the end of this year’s Vision Style Awards. Soon enough, the entries will be closed and our judges will be looking at who deserves to take home the prize for the most striking, spectacular and stunning interiors in the world of hospitality from around the European continent.
Jacqui Hurst, Sales Director for Vision’s UK Hospitality Division, is one of our prestigious judges this year and comes with a vast knowledge spanning the industry. Working closely with the likes of Hilton Worldwide, Accor, IHG, Marriott and Bourne Leisure, Jacqui has worked with some of the most recognisable brands for the last ten years and so she knows a thing or two about stylish hotel design.
We had a chat with Jacqui to find out her thoughts on design within the industry, how it’s changing and what we’re likely to see over the next 12 months…
What made you decide to be a judge this year?
Seeing the incredible effort that hoteliers and restaurant owners are putting into their style choices over the last few years have thrown the flood gates wide open in terms of competition. It’s an exciting time; we no longer see the same venues be recognised for their style choices and we’re seeing previously unknown names enter the ring. It’s a great feeling to reward someone for the hard work they’ve put in.
What are we seeing in terms of innovation in hospitality design trends that we haven’t seen before?
Well, first and foremost, we’re seeing hoteliers and restaurateurs step up and think about their design differently. This is down to the changing demographic – the emerging customer is the millennial and they think and want different things than the customers before them.
Design is taking a huge step forward due to the need for the experience to be ‘Instagrammable’ and that’s what hoteliers are doing – providing an experience. From personalisation in rooms to incorporating design choices that can be activated from our smart phones – the hotel room is no longer somewhere just to rest your head, it’s a sensory experience from the moment you walk in.
What, do you think, will be some of the key design trends across hospitality over the next 12 months?
It’s hard to say because I think hotels are now embracing being authentic and celebrating their individuality. A quick photo taken in a hotel can be shared to thousands of people within minutes; hotels understand this and are ensuring they’re telling a story through their design.
Equally, I think luxurious finishing touches are still big news but we’re seeing these coupled with creature comforts that are reminiscent of home. We’re noticing hotels step away from clinical receptions and introduce a home-away-from home feel – this is being translated through to their dining areas and bars too which are key in attracting non-guests too. It’s no longer about being exclusive – it’s more about being welcoming.
Is there anything that’s becoming less stylish and sought after?
As I said, the clinical reception area and check-in procedure are being phased out as hotels introduce a more homely, personal approach.
I also think we’re moving away from neutral colour palettes as we’re seeing more venues introduce and play around with colour. It’s about creating a whimsical experience for guests; something they’ll remember and so, even in hotel groups, every hotel and every experience needs to be different.
What do you think will set an entry apart from the rest this year?
I love the idea that the establishment pays close attention to its location, its history and the heritage of the building itself. We saw this last year with Hotel Gotham; it’s based in an old bank building and they certainly tried to keep the heritage of this alive through their use of props.
I love venues that make you do a double-take, too. The idea that you notice something new each time you visit makes for a really exciting experience. Hotel Gotham, for example, features umbrellas on the ceiling in their initial lobby – the first time you step inside you might miss it but the next time it catches your eye and you feel you’ve got something new from the experience.
In a highly competitive market, how do you think the design of a venue can influence a guest to visit?
I think it’s hugely important. Design is much more about what it looks like these days. With the new wave of customer walking through the doors, it’s about so much more than a good meal or a comfy bed. It’s now about going that extra step and going the extra mile for the customer to ensure they are not just satisfied – but truly pleased with the visit.
What do you personally look at first when stepping inside a hospitality venue?
I like somewhere I feel comfortable – not too clinical, not too sparse but equally I like it to have something ‘about it’. The interiors are undoubtedly what I look at first and it’s from the design that I make my initial decision as to if I feel comfortable and at ease.
Do you have the most stylish hospitality venue in Europe? Vision are looking for spas, bars, restaurants, B&Bs, self catering accommodation, holiday lets, serviced apartments and hotels to enter the 2017 Vision Style Awards.
Entry to the Awards is absolutely free of charge and we’ve got a huge 12 categories to choose from. Will you be crowned one of our winners and win a double-page spread in the coveted Style Guide?