Sriram Palakad, principal designer – Resorts & Destinations, KGD – A Katerra Design Partner,
shares his insights on how hospitality spaces are going to see a drastic change in the post Covid-19 landscape

The intent of Hospitality Design is to elevate spaces with a distinct style and ambience in mind, while also elevating a space’s functionality for financial gain. When it comes to Hospitality Design Adaptation and Client-Relations comes first, Business later!
A seasoned Hospitality-Designer is well aware as to how to strike a balance between high-end luxury and optimal functionality, to create spaces that both business owners and customers/guest would love and soak in them. This is utmost important for businesses looking to make a great first and lasting impression such  as in Hotel /Resort Design, where this balance plays a prominent role in customer experience. In Hospitality Design , adaptation is the key! Be it good or rough times! We as Hospitality Designers are putting  more efforts now to recognize, simulate, new patterns of spatial and human behaviour included, that will be incorporated into designing Hotels/Resorts post-Covid 19.

Two aspects, primarily and importantly would affect the Hospitality Industry, at this juncture and context.

1. The Behavioural-Pattern of the Guest/Customer

1a – One thing that would remain etched in a guest/customer’s mind upon entering the hotel/resort premises is how many surfaces and surface-area they would be prone to touch and how often, during the tenure of their stay! A substantial amount of behavioural-pattern of the guests/customers, will determine Design-Trends that will take birth from now on.

1b – Hereon, all the entities and spaces will be designed with as-less-possible-human-contact, and will make guest-experience-spaces through more of visual sense. A paradigm shift towards disinfection will be seen as the new-normal , same time allowing guests/customers and staff into the buildings to experience the spaces in equal visual delight without any dilution whatsoever.

1c – Minimal maintenance hotel/resort-properties, touch-free interaction and technology-based sanitization will be crucial and needs to be embraced upon herewith. For instance, sensor-based lighting in common areas, sensor-taps and gesture-controlled flushing in washrooms, will be in trend.
In short, Automation will have to be embraced into the designs now on, as peripherals, Automation in customer data handling, guidance and moving around, Automated Entry Systems be it into common areas or the rooms, Automatic guidance through the premises, Automatic screening, Automatic lighting systems, Automatic dispensing, will see the light of the day. Automation to avoid human contact with vulnerable surfaces would rule preference above the rest of the factors!
This in turn leads us to the point of discuss on the design pattern of built spaces, now on.

2. The Design Pattern of the Built Spaces

2a – At the Master-Plan level. The Business Model would go Boutique as against the previous lavish-spread out. Ground coverage would shrink a little in favour of relatively more open, green lung -spaces, aiding in natural air flow and thus reducing having conditioned atmospheres within enclosed spaces.

2b -Customer screenings and concierge will be most elaborate and will be airport-like scrutiny and will be subjected to Automation and considerable space in terms of Spatial Planning, as this will be the decisive point of entry into the hotel/resort premises for the customer, for instance a conventional-airlock would now graduate to a double or a triple-airlock at the point of entering the premises.

2c – Lobby/Foyer/Front Desk etc will now be punctuated with more green-spaces from within, to facilitate more of natural-air movement and reduce use of conditioned-air, which is a determine- factor in containing Covid19. Also the 3-side-enclosed and 1-side-open design-concept may come into being for most designed spaces within the Hotel/Resort

2d –There will more prominence given to transition-spaces/interconnecting-spaces in the aftermath of Covid 19, wherein a substantial footprint of area, would segregate important spaces and interconnecting them, these connecting spaces could be glorified-vestibular, also equipped with automated sterilization techniques, further screening human movement through them.

2e – Public Spaces in the Hotels/Resorts viz a viz, Coffee Shops / Restaurants/ Bars would be semi-open and not conventionally matchbox-clustered like before, whilst allowing more natural air and breeze flow within them from within and outside, this ambience would calibrate further upward and would reduce any unwanted spread of any virus.