Forget About ‘Spaces’, It’s All About ‘Places’

29 May 2023

Articles

Have you ever heard of the concept of ‘non-place’? If not, it’s worth your attention. Coined by French anthropologist Marc Augé in the mid-90s, this term describes a transient space where individuals are anonymous to one another, and only transactional interactions occur.

Hotels are essentially, ‘non-places’ alongside other establishments, such as shopping malls and airports, where individuals pass through these spaces but never stay long. Think about it – guests pass through hotels every day, each there for a short stay at a time and are most often identified by their room number. Nothing less, nothing more. 

Enter ‘places’ – pun intended – purposeful spaces where individuals’ identities are empowered and allowed to meet, interact, and share social references. By focusing on these essential elements, you can create a strong emotional connection between your brand and customers, leading to brand advocacy. Given the intense competition in the hotel industry with a growing number of travellers, this could be the differentiator that sets your brand apart from competitors.

THE CHALLENGES

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Photo: CNA Luxury

Over 700 million people are projected to book their travel digitally by the end of 2023. Despite the wind-down from the travel restrictions, the rising cost of living hints that travellers seek less risk and more value. What does this mean for 2023? The year will see financially-savvy travellers with plans to travel on a tighter budget. 

According to Booking.com predictions for 2023, about 64% reportedly believe the best use of their budget is to opt for one or two longer vacations instead of multiple short breaks. As such, this could mean that many Asia-Pacific travellers are prepared to dial up their budget for trips that mean the most to them.

Hoteliers, it is crucial to prioritise enhancing brand recognition, both online and offline, building strong brand resonance and providing meaningful travel experiences in unforgettable destinations. Remember to shift your focus from providing spaces to creating unique places that embody your brand’s identity, relationships and history.

TRAVELLERS ARE FRIENDS, NOT GUESTS

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Photo: Thursd

Gone are the days of looking at travellers passing through your hotel as mere ‘guests’. The key is making people feel seen, understood, and informed. Try to craft your hotel brand that reflects your guests’ identities. Are the main flow of your guests free-spirited and adventurous, or are they here for a quick getaway from their everyday lives? Create experiences that make them feel valued. Create environments that reflect their attitude and character. Essentially, design a place where they can naturally see themselves and where they’ll naturally want other people to see them.

REMOVING THE FOCUS ON TRANSACTIONALITY

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Photo: Thursd

It’s not just guest relations with your hotel that matter; guest relations with each other are also something that you can influence. Create mixed-use places to provide opportunities for people to meet, connect, and create. Consider offering activities that your guests are interested in. A ‘business centre’ run-of-the-mill space is not enough. Don’t just throw together desktops, tables and a printer in the corner; curate a co-working space instead. This is especially useful for the new types of travellers with the freedom to work remotely. Consider curating an ecosystem of branded services with your hotel clubs, spas, and workspaces to give these services a narrative to create a sense of identity.

TOUCHING ON SENSORIES

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Photo: Thrillist

Consider incorporating multi-sensory brands into your hotel establishment, including immersive environments, unique displays or custom-made furniture. Another small way is to play with the travellers’ sensories. It can be as simple as having a signature scent unique to your hotel brand. Never underestimate the power of a signature scent for your hotel. That scent will allow your guests to think back on their experience in your hotel whenever they get a whiff of similar notes. 

There are tons of ways you can turn your spaces into places. The key is the shift in mindset and looking for ways to curate unique spaces relevant to making the experience for travellers. Ask yourself this when creating a new strategy for your hotel – do you want to get as many people in and out of your hotel? Or do you want to curate a place where your guests can have a meaningful experience? Eradicating non-places within the hotel space is a huge opportunity for your brand to drive growth and stand out amongst your competitors. Want to know more hospitality interior tips and how custom-made furniture can transform your hotel? Send us a requirement for a quote today — get in contact with the onestop team here.

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