Ahead of the upcoming Hotec Europe conference, which is scheduled for Oct. 26–29 at the Anantara Vilamoura Algarve Resort in Portugal, several industry insiders will be sharing their insights on how the hotel sector is adjusting to new normals. Hotec is sponsored by Questex Hospitality, the parent company of Hotel Management.
Alberto Apostoli, founder and CEO of Verona, Italy-based design firm Studio Apostoli, shared his insights on new design trends, new inspiration and the future of hospitality design.
How has your segment of the industry changed in the past 18 months?
Designing hotels today, we focus on outdoor spaces—trying to offer guests, as far as possible, an alternative to closed spaces. The megaprojects are rethought in favor of smaller structures, [which are] easier to manage and control. The attention toward sustainability for the environment and for ourselves is growing. The new concept of luxury is prevention and health.
What kind of new strategies have you developed to adjust to the new normal?
The awareness is growing that the success of a hotel design depends only in small part on the aesthetic aspects and, in large part, on the creation of concepts capable of responding to the new needs of customers. Guests today recognize the quality of a project and are not fooled by small aesthetic and superficial measures.
What are some new trends in the industry that you think will have staying power?
The [food-and-beverage] area is growing in importance as guests are increasingly aware of the value of proper nutrition. Nature makes space inside the hotels for what we call biophilic architecture.
Where do you look for inspiration? Do you look inside or outside of hospitality?
I definitely look for inspiration outside the hotel industry. To be innovative we cannot copy our competitors. I look for new ideas by observing the fashion, car, consumer electronics [and] restaurant industries, etc. I also try to study sociology to understand how the individual behaves within a group.
What is the most valuable thing you learned over the past 18 months?
I learned that the value of time and place is no longer the same as before and must be managed differently. There is no longer a distinction between private life and work. From a design point of view, this requires us to think of flexible spaces in which people can perform different functions.
Stay tuned for more insights from industry leaders ahead of Hotec Europe.