Design is an integral part of a successful hotel business. Colors, patterns, shapes, textures—all of these design elements can affect the mood of both customers and employees. And if done right, they can help your business stand out from the crowd.
With a world of design options, how can you tell you’re doing it right? Trend-forecasting is key.
As a manufacturer and designer, I use design forecasting as a foundation to all of my work. When developing new products, we are reading the market, looking at trends, and getting inspired by collaboration with our customers. The same should happen when designing a hotel space.
To understand the forecasting process, let’s walk through the Simple Pleasures trend we are following for 2011.
Simple Pleasures is about appreciating the little things in life. It is a reflection of our increased desire to connect with nature, appreciate our planet, and enjoy unscheduled time. Rich, harvest colors and organic motifs proliferate across product categories.
This aesthetic doesn’t just emerge out of thin air. It is a direct representation of evolving tastes in the hospitality market.
The Simple Pleasures trend reflects lifestyle changes following the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009. With an increase in financial constraints, people turned to nature as a free source of leisure and entertainment, whether it was lying on the beach, hiking through the forest, or gardening in their backyard.
As a result, people have become more aware of their connectivity with the planet as a whole, continuing the need to protect our world and to better manage our natural resources. We are searching for a restful environment that conveys our ecological values, respecting the balance between earth and its people. We want to feel secure in our surroundings.
This trend can be seen in the growing popularity of community events like farmer’s markets and rooftop farming, and general design movements, like creating rustic glamour with reclaimed furniture.
When forecasting colors for interiors, as with products, trends develop in increments, rather than a drastic jump from one season to another. Understanding this is key to having our designs stand the test of time.
To differentiate between fads and trends, we must constantly be in tune with what’s happening around us, and analyze our observations from a clear design perspective. What is happening in the world today, and how does that impact our thoughts, emotions and desires? That is where trends evolve. Once we can put design in this greater context, we can start to recognize which movements do and do not have staying power.
In the past, there was a lot of new construction, and designers were able to start form scratch, working purely from their own inspiration. Now, the new normal is a lot more renovation work, so you have to work with what you have.
From a design perspective, that means there need to be a lot of threads that tie back. It’s about understanding how to bring in new design elements that still work really well with existing designs in the marketplace. In these days of limited resources, well-planned design can add value, define a space and provide a competitive edge.
As the Simple Pleasures trend evolves, new colors and motifs will begin to weave in, based on new emerging trends. The key is to introduce these new elements as accents, test to see if they take hold, and then later introduce them as base colors and staple patterns.
It is also important to remember that just because something is available to you, whether it is a product, a color palette or a design tool, doesn’t always mean you should use it. Out of all the noise and all the options, it is crucial to be able to identify and follow your own trends, to give your designs a clear voice and direction, and to deliver your clients something they will enjoy over time.
Hotel designers are presented with unlimited possibilities, but we must always remember the real goal of design: making customers happy. By staying on-trend and designing in a way that reflects current social movements and emotional needs, we can create spaces that stand out from the market in this way.
Stacy Garcia is the owner of Stacy Garcia Inc. and Lebatex, and a Chairholder of Color Marketing Group.