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NEWH and the Future of Tourism Design (by Talia Shapiro)


In January, I had the honor of representing the students of the Los Angeles Founding Chapter of NEWH (Network of Executive Women in Hospitality) in Dallas, Texas for its biannual national conference. NEWH is an organization committed to the future of the hospitality industry. The members are primarily in the design sector of the industry. I had the opportunity to meet with designers, production managers, suppliers, and many more interesting people. Within the context of the conference, I attended workshops addressing the future of the industry (primarily from a design standpoint). Professional panelists discussed the upcoming trends and ways for companies to be ahead of the game.

The panelists expressed that the industry is moving toward more modern design. In both hotels and restaurants, the future trends will ensure more space for the guests. Designers are aiming to make the space feel as big as possible rather than as full as possible. Through furniture, designers are doing this is by using large windows in hotel guest rooms and spacing out tables in restaurants.  Patterns also must be selected carefully to make the space feel open. For example, rather than using small circles on the walls, large circles are used on the walls or carpets. Finally, colors are chosen to brighten the space. Designers lean to a combination of pale colors such as white and light blue, with chocolate brown. In comparison to using combinations of dark colors and complex patterns, the simple patters and pale colors prove more modern and inviting.

I found these topics particularly interesting because my place of work, the Kellogg West Conference Center and Hotel, has been undergoing renovations spaced out over the past two years. The plans are to complete renovations in fall of 2015. In addition, the Renaissance LAX and the Sheraton Downtown Los Angeles are currently finishing up renovation projects. It is the time for change for many local hotels and it is very exciting. With California (Los Angeles specifically) being a top tourist destination in the United States, it is imperative that hotels are keeping up with the latest trends to attract guests.

Now, what is the importance of renovations in hotels from a guest perspective? Let’s take for example the Kellogg West. The hotel has taken quite some time to go through renovations. In the past, the organization has received negative feedback of the room designs. The current room design makes the guest rooms feel dark and cramped. The rooms have long sinks, and are home to a great deal of bulky furniture. The guest rooms have dark colored carpets and comforters. Finally, the lighting is quite dim. Combined, these design points make the room feel small and aged. However, renovation plans include adding lighting fixtures and using brighter bulbs. The carpets and bedding will be white. The accent colors in the room will be brown and light green. The sinks will be taken in and the furniture will be replaced with modern and less bulky pieces. These choices will brighten the room. They will also make it feel more inviting and comfortable for the guest. I anticipate that guest satisfaction will skyrocket upon the completion of the project.  

Talia Shapiro
I found it interesting that the current design plans for the Kellogg West seem to mirror what was spoken about at the NEWH conference. I imagine that the professionals are correct and through modernizing, guests will feel more comfortable. This is especially true with the targeting of the millennial. As a millennial myself, I argue that millennials generally prefer modern spaces with up-to-date gadgets in the rooms and everything within arms-length. Millennials, similar to many other travelers, want to experience an escape within the hotel room. We prefer something more extravagant than our bedrooms. With that in mind, how important is the design aspect of a hotel room? What is missing in hotel rooms that could improve guest experience and overall room sales?

About the author
Talia Shapiro is a student at the Collins College of Hospitality Management at Cal Poly Pomona. She is in her last quarter and will be graduating in June of 2015. She is taking Dr. Kwok’s class to learn about trends within the tourism industry. Talia is currently working as a Front Desk Supervisor at Kellogg West Conference Center and Hotel. She is an active student member of NEWH.

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