Christina McCale is the author of six books, editor of 12 books, author/co-author of more than 45 academic papers and presentations, and developed course materials for more than 22 courses or textbooks. You can learn more about her writing at christinamccale.com or amazon.com/author/christinamccale
Cement, like wood, isn’t a new idea for floors and walls. But this trend is going to hit its stride in 2016. It’s a look that doesn’t date itself so it’s here to stay. Cement-look tile in 2016 will be softer and warmer, making it suitable for all kinds of design. Concrete isn’t just for modern design anymore. Look for it in warm grey, taupe, and beiges. Concrete-look tiles will begin to be available in many different shapes and sizes in 2016. Mosaic, planks, hex, and large format will become popular. This upgrade elevates cement-looks in design.
Terminology, especially when starting a remodel or renovation, can often be confusing to customers. One common set of terms you will hear people use interchangeably are “refinishing” or “reglazing” in relation to tiles.
The real term is a process called “refinishing,” but can also be called “resurfacing” or “surface restoration.” Many customers will call it “re-glazing:” they think you are re-glazing because the tiles look so shiny and new after the refinishing process is complete. Yes, your tiles look amazing by the time we’re done, but really, we aren’t re-glazing your tiles.
Refinishing is an affordable and faster alternative to remodeling – especially when you are happy with your existing bathroom configuration and your tiles are in good shape. In short, refinishing is a multi-step process of applying layered coats of primer and pigmented acrylic urethane. Once that’s done, we buff the surface area until it shines like a freshly glazed tile.
You can refinish surface tiles as well as your bathroom fixtures – provided they are in good shape. Porcelain, fiberglass and cast iron items are usually good candidates for refinishing.
While refinishing may seem like it can work miracles – and in the right situations we can – it is not a miracle worker. The raw materials – tiles, baths, etc – themselves need to be in good shape. If your fixtures are cracked or severely pitted, you may want to replace your items. *See our decision-making guide article on how to determine if refinishing is a viable alternative for your situation.
Renovations can be exciting opportunities. But they can also wreak havoc on your budget –as well as impact your room revenues – if not handled well.
Let’s face it – your bath and floor tiles take a beating. Hundreds – sometimes thousands of guests can pass through your rooms year after year for 5, 6 sometimes 7 years before your next renovation. But how do you remodel or renovate your hotel without breaking the bank?
One of the fastest, most economical, efficient ways to renovate is actually to refinish (rather than replacing) your tile work.
Here are some things to think through when you’re deciding whether to refinish your guest baths or to “go all in” with total renovation:
Are the baths in “good shape” whereas other parts of the rooms are in serious need of help? For example, sometimes refinishing (rather than totally gutting and remodeling) the bath is just “enough” – thus allowing funds to be directed towards furnishings or soft goods purchases
Are the baths “ok” – structurally still good – but have seen better days? It’s sometimes enough to get your rooms just enough of the “sprucing up” needed to get by until the next major renovation. One way to trim your budget without substantially diminishing the look of “luxury” or visual appeal is to refinish the tiles you currently have.
Are the tiles, themselves, in good shape – but could use a facelift? Refinishing can allow you to change colors – even textures such as a stone or wood look – of your tiles, as well as bring back the luster of new tile. When done professionally, refinished surfaces will have the same luster as they did when they were originally installed and are often under warranty.
Refinishing isn’t appropriate in all situations. But a reputable professional will give you an honest assessment of your situation by looking at the condition and quality of your tiles and grout, noting any cracks and chips – and if they can be repaired well enough for refinishing.
Refinishing your tile areas can’t take away all of your renovation pains, but it can shorten project timelines as well as lighten the impact room revenue losses.
There’s pressure on the hospitality market to incorporate sustainability into their hotel design and renovation projects. “KA’s Davies contends that LEED is “an aspirational goal.” He says that the most insightful developers and the best projects first devise a number of sustainability strategies, and that LEED is a second step to see how those aspirations measure up. Only then, he says, can adjustments be made to assess whether the hotel’s design and construction can be stretched to a higher level of efficiency and sustainability.” Read More…
As designers, we might look at trends, ooh and ahhh over them, but then relegate those images to “gee, wouldn’t be nice,” or “great ideas if I ever have a bottomless budget.”
But the following eight trends are ones worth noting. These industry-wide trends can be seen in a myriad of ways. They’re not today, but with creative thinking and planning, they can be extended and blended into future design and remodeling projects 5-7 years from now.
Oversized, big format tiles. Move over standard 6×6 or 12×12-inch tiles… flooring tile is also going large – and we mean “LARGE”: 5’x10’ anyone? Tiles that have the look of real wood can come in 6×24 or even 12×24-inch formats. Why the oversize look? Think luxury. Oversized tiles can visually communicate a sense of luxury in just a glance. And don’t just think it’s for the floor: 24” length wall tiles are becoming popular too.
While deep, super saturated tones are trending right now, it pays have a counter-balance in your rooms. And Grey is in. Take a page from our fashion friends: grey is a great backdrop to build on. It’s a staple color that looks great on its own AND can let the rest of your color palate stand out. Grey – a whole range of greys – is at your fingertips to blend in with your luxurious furnishings. Even wood-like flooring materials are coming in exotic and striking shades of grey: something that creates visual interest, and yet will be a solid foundational design element for your rooms for years.
Reclaimed, weathered and distressed. The “reclaimed” wood trend isn’t going to go away anytime soon. The image speaks to the recycling/“green” movement. It evokes a sense of uniqueness – of authenticity – something that is particularly appealing to Millennials and Generation Z. Obviously, it’s great if you have a relationship with a local reclamation company to supply your hotel or business with enough reclaimed wood you need for your guest room redesign. But most firms don’t – and often there’s just not enough “reclaimed material” for the project on the time schedule it’s needed. A good alternative to this – getting the “reclaimed wood look” which evokes a rustic, authentic feeling – and yet in a tile format (which is better for baths) is a great option for hoteliers.
Even if just used as small accents, metallic tiles can bring drama and life to a “standard” bathroom. One truly “hot” tone tip? Think copper! Think rose gold! There’s a reason why Apple uses these colors in their product designs. Metallics are hot. They speak of luxury. …Of durability. …Of quality.
Marble tile – without the marble. Luxurious marble is so distinctive. But the costs – including to the environment – can be off-putting. Fortunately, today’s porcelain tiles are so amazingly realistic it’s hard to tell the difference! Get creative with this luxury style icon: look for marble-like tiling on not just floors but walls and counters too.
Brick isn’t boring. Who says rectangular shapes have to be dull? Brick shapes – like the ubiquitous subway tiles — are making a splash in all sorts of bath and flooring designs. And why not? There’s so much flexibility and they can be so affordable!
Tile textures. When you’re thinking of ways to create a lot of “punch” or impact in a space, texture is a go-to strategy that works wonders. Textures come in all sorts of forms: From faux wood or poured concrete to tiles that quite literally have a texture – even ones with three dimensional effects! For those on a budget, using texturized tiles can be a great way to add visual interest in a small space.
Laying out tiles in engaging patters isn’t dead. Far from it! Think through your patters, however. Chevrons and linear formats are “in” – and a unique way to create movement and drama to a room. There are even ceramic tile manufacturers who are “softening” the hard-look of tile and creating patterns more reminiscent of area rugs or carpet!
Trends can come and go. But these design ideas can create a dramatic impact by updating the look in your guest rooms and baths — without your rooms looking dated too quickly. And with the right planning and forethought, each is also adaptable enough to “morph” into future room renovations.
While thinking about your hotel planning, renovations and marketing, keep this important generation in mind. “Even though most of Generation Z is still in school, smart hospitality brands are already marketing to this highly influential group of future hotel guests to generate loyalty.” (Skift)
It’s no secret: Customers are wanting more than just utilitarian solutions when they travel. They want an “experience” – something new, unique or memorable.
Not that long ago, standardization was key to just about anything. Think of it like the “McDonald’s” formula: a customer could walk into a McDonald’s anywhere from Spokane to Sarasota to Stockholm… and it would be the same experience. The customer would know exactly what to expect. The McDonald’s experience would always be the same.
While setting high standards is important, and there are operational benefits to standardizing, cookie-cutter approaches to the customer experience aren’t the answer.
Think about it: Even McDonald’s adapts its international menus to appeal to local markets. J
Today, customers are delighted by brands that can still maintain their own personality – and yet give a nod to the local environment or community.
Just as McDonald’s might serve pasta at its Italian locations, so too are hotels finding that they can still be part of a brand family, and yet be unique by being highly connected to the local community.
So what does that mean for your hotel? Here’s a few ideas for breathing some personality into your specific hotel location, yet while still honoring any branding concerns you may have as well.
The Ties That Bind: Creating a Community Connection
Not only are hotels are striving to be part of the local community, but they are also positioning themselves to be communities – destinations — themselves: Where the local bar or fabulous restaurant – the place to go – just might happen to be in a really cool hotel.
This sort of “presence” in a community means that even when you have empty rooms, you might still have locals coming to dinner, hanging out in your bar, or interested in a local weekend get away from home.
Another way hotels can honor their local roots – thus differentiating themselves from just being “yet another hotel” — is through art. Local art can infuse a hotel space with the culture and character than will entice visitors further into the community and bring guests back.
You don’t have to have a local artist like world renown glass artist Dale Chihuly in your backyard – or include large scale art installations into your hotel space.
An emphasis on a local art connection can be displayed on a smaller scale such as local art displayed in rooms or incorporating local artisans’ ceramic, glass or metal work in your fixtures, tile work, or furnishings in room.
It’s these little details that all add into creating a saturated branded experience for your customers that they will ever forget.
These connections and attention to detail reclassify your hotel from “a place to sleep,” to “THE place to go if you want to visit [a particular city.]”
When you’re rethinking interior designs for your hotel, take some sage advice from Chanel: “Fashions fade. Style is eternal.”
A foundation of high quality furnishings, rich textures, intensely saturated colors, and excellent lighting in your rooms and hotel space creates sensory and ephemeral luxury.
But don’t be afraid to set yourself apart: create your own fusion of classic style and local culture. Give a nod to your community’s local history, roots or influences.
A hotel by the shore could include sea glass inspired accent tiles into bathrooms. A heavily forested region might draw on ‘wood-like’ tiling that has a reclaimed, authentic feeling in baths or entryways. A statement color wall or textured wall materials (bamboo, rattan etc.) can make a huge impression.
Green Still Pays.
Consumers are more environmentally conscious and savvy than ever. They understand there are lot’s of ways to save the environment – and it doesn’t take a lot of money to do it either. Hotels are wise to incorporate these tactics into their operations in such a way that also publicly affirms the hotel’s commitment to the environment. Sustainability can be included through:
local sourcing of suite furniture,
locally grown food for your hotel restaurant,
conscientiously thinking of and designing rooms with oversized windows to capitalize on natural lighting,
The key is to create an identity for your hotel brand that shapes every element of the customer experience. Create a branded experience that resonates with both your own company values as well as honoring your local environment. Build that experience so that your customers will want to come back again and again.
“While separate showers and tubs have been a mainstay of high-end hotel bathrooms for years, many luxury properties are opting for spacious walk-in showers, eschewing tubs altogether.” What will your hotel be doing?
Knowing your market has never been more important for the travel industry. Fortunately, there is a wealth of information now available about the largest generational market.
Researchers have found that the Millennial generation (those born from 1980- 1996) in particular know and appreciate the opportunity for retreat: time to recharge and rejuvenate. Time to keep things in balance. They also happen to like to hang with mom and dad.
Spa-like retreats and get-aways aren’t unique to the Millennial generation, but given this 80 million customer-market now out of college (or close to it) these young professionals command a significant part of the economy, coupled with the growing interest in unique experiences, rethinking your hotel spaces is worth some serious consideration.
Better Than What’s at Home.
As hotelier (and Hollywood heavyweight) Francis Ford Coppolla says, hotel baths should be “better than what the [guest has] at home.” A get-away is just that: getting away from what the average consumer has at home. It’s not a get-away if the hotel’s bath is just a different color scheme of one at home. That’s utilitarian. Normal. Nothing to write home about. While there is always a need to be practical elements, hotels shouldn’t have miniature, en masse replicas of what the average consumer has at home.
And while spa-like bathrooms are the ideal that magazines often write about, most home owners/renters don’t have “spa-like baths.” They might have elements of spa-experience items. They might even fantasize about having that spa-like bath experience. But most of your guests won’t have the “total” experience. Hotels have a unique opportunity to create the “total spa-bath experience” in their guest suites. Consider including the ephemeral luxury of:
Oversized soaking tubs
Extra-large, plush bath sheets
Rainfall or water fall shower stalls
Heath and wellness has infused itself into every industry – and the travel industry is certainly not immune. Taking a holistic approach to your overall suite design will appeal to all your guests senses. Consider including:
Even small spaces can feel roomy and luxurious with the right design. Rethinking the hotel suite layout can change a guest’s energy. Consider blurring the boundaries between “work spaces” and “sleeping spaces” and bathrooms with the use of sliding screens, glass block or smoked glass. Such elements can keep natural light flowing in, open spaces, and yet allow guests to create privacy when needed.
Unplug – But Not Too Much.
Spas or spa-like environments evoke a sense of “unplugging.” But don’t think that “unplugging” means that you can skimp or cut back on technology. Just like a bad hair cut or old eye glasses, nothing dates a hotel faster than inadequate, out of date, or poorly implemented technology.
While technology means more than just well placed outlets, truly thinking through how your customer uses and carries their technology around. For example, do your customers use their smart phones as their alarm clocks? Do they play music on their smart phones while in the bath or shower relaxing? The savvy hotelier anticipates how customers incorporate their technology tools into their stay and tries to accommodate their needs.
That doesn’t mean you have to have the latest tech toys, but it does mean you need to think about the technology that will matter to your customers – and that it works. Consistently. Consider creating:
additional self-check in capabilities,
your own app to being able to text the concierge, make reservations, or order room service,
Incorporating the right mix of technology will create a unique extension of the customer experience – and one that would appeal strongly with a majority of your traveler market.
And maybe by thinking through how your customer really uses their technology, you’ll give them the peace of mind and the ability to relax that other market players don’t.