With only 1 week to go until the doors open for Sleep 2014, excitement is building within the industry, creating a definite buzz around this year’s event. With some of the best UK and international exhibitors showcasing brand new innovative hotel design product, this year’s show is set to be the best yet.
Not forgetting, of course, the intriguing line-up for this year’s Sleep Conference, providing us with a great opportunity to hear from some of the greatest names from the Hotel Design world. Here at Between Our Sheets we simply couldn’t wait until next week (impatient, we know!), and so we tracked down some of the Sleep Conference speakers to get a glimpse of what’s to come, asking for their views on some of the biggest challenges facing the industry today…and now we REALLY can’t wait for the conference to start!
With so much to discuss, we have split this feature into two parts, so be sure to keep an eye out for our Sleep Speakers Spill the Beans…Part 2, published next week!
To start us off we speak to Sleep Conference speakers Philip Camble, Anwar Mekhayech, Ian Burleigh and Soren Hullberg…
Q1. What does the hotel of the future look like?
Philip Camble: Externally the hotel will become an extension of the interior – including outdoor experiences such as terrace bars/cafes, rooftop bars/cafes/pools, and including façade interactive media such as LED screens displaying messages and MICE branding. Internally, hotels will become increasingly communal in the public areas, with lots of opportunities to meet people and experience local culture in terms of food, beverage and entertainment. Bedrooms will become more interactive and tailored to a guest’s preferences through a Preference App.
Anwar Mekhayech: Completely integrated and connected to you as an individual, your style, your tastes and preferences. Yet simple and elegant in many ways and hopefully connected to better health. Travelling both on planes and in hotel rooms should add value to one’s life not take away from it.
Ian Burleigh: With increasing market size and competition the ‘one size fits all’ approach will continue to decline. More variety which delivers individuality and personalised solutions are likely to be driven by future customers. Demands will become more complex but sometimes the solutions will be very simple.
Soren Hullberg: Strong profile and a clear position on its market. User friendly cloud based reservation systems, check in methods and hi-tech all over the hotels. Consumers’ impressions and critics will be more important than the hotels’ own marketing.
Philip Camble, Director, Whitebridge Hospitality
See Philip in ‘Analysing the Analyst’ at 12:20pm on Wednesday
the 26th of November as part of the Sleep Conference
Q2. How will the hotel guest evolve over the next few years?
Philip Camble: Many will get older and will seek a greater degree of flexibility and services/features that will assist them with their increasing exacting requirements. The Chinese are coming and Chinese friendly facilities and services should be given more serious consideration.
Anwar Mekhayech: On one end it will be a return or renaissance to classic luxury I think, followed by more choice in the lifestyle microhotel sector with less patience for bad product, service or not-free wifi!!
Ian Burleigh: Guests are increasing empowered by social media and will lead the revolution.
Soren Hullberg: Consumers will ask for more and pay less. Travellers will have more experience and total transparency of the market.
Anwar Makhayech, Generator’s Creative Director and DesignAgency principal
See Anwar in ‘Hot Hostels’ at 11:35am on Wednesday
26th November as part of the Sleep Conference
Q3. How will the rising trend for peer to peer lodging affect the hotel industry?
Philip Camble: If this new segment can overcome legislative issues and become more mainstream it will nibble away at the margins. If we believe people are looking for more personal service levels and greater opportunities to meet people, where better than in a hotel.
Anwar Mekhayech: it should just infill a new category of lodging in a sweet spot where design & technology meets budget and quality accommodations.
Ian Burleigh: Peer to peer will continue to rise and be a strong competitor to hotels in a more interesting and personalised market.
Soren Hullberg: Travellers will appreciate the qualities of good hotels and the tired hotels will have a tough time. Long staying guests and families will rather lodge in private homes. But hotels will push their rates closer to the private lodgings.
Ian Burleigh, Director, ICA
See Ian in ‘Hot Hostels’ at 11:35am on
Wednesday 26th of November as part of the Sleep Conference
Q4. What are your thoughts on heritage design and how heritage buildings can be used to create hotel spaces?
Philip Camble: Love it! To be able to preserve our heritage and give beautiful and irreproducible buildings a new lease of life is something that should be encouraged and supported, eg government grants.
Anwar Mekhayech: to me these are always the gems. I hope this part of the business never goes away. The coolest hotels around the world often have an interesting adaptive re-use story behind them.
Ian Burleigh: A ready supply of stock with limited conversion options to other use types creates an opportunity for hotel developers which is cost effective, sustainable and appreciated by guests.
Soren Hullberg: Difficult projects that basically demand someone’s idealism and lots of capital.
Sören Hullberg, CEO/Partner, Story Hotel Holding AB
See Sören in ‘Question Time’ at 16:50pm on Wednesday
the 26th of November as part of the Sleep Conference
Q5. Hostels are the latest game-changer in the world of hospitality, how can more traditional hotel business models utilise this trend?
Philip Camble: Squeeze more beds into a room and become fun places where people will want to go and meet other people.
Anwar Mekhayech: There is already a huge surge in terms of boutique hostel’s globally. I love some of the one-off places I have seen around the world. Hopefully we, Generator and DesignAgency are leading the way in terms of large-scale, global urban design hostels. Many hotel companies are already looking at how they can get into the shared-room lodging space and I think some are doing it really well. It’s all about options and creating an environment that is universally accepted and adaptable to the traveller. It’s not a formula that you can just bang out because there is a fine line with these limited-service properties and you need to capture the soul of the place to make it really work!
Ian Burleigh: We live in a rapidly evolving society which is creating challenge and opportunity for the wider hospitality sector. Hostels are in a unique position to respond early to this with their emphasis on the leisure sector and large city locations. Responding to more diverse needs and desires of guests is a trend many hotels will find more challenging than hostels but one they will need to respond to.
Soren Hullberg: Any destination with good hostels shall be happy. Number of visitors will increase. The Hostels are welcoming young and/or budget travellers whom in the long run will get used to a certain standard and, getting older and more wealthy, will select hotels of a higher standard. High performing and frequent business travellers will also in the next demand high standard, serviced, hotels.
Register for Sleep 2014 to hear more from the speakers at this year’s Sleep Conference!