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Three Trends in the Hospitality Industry

The hospitality industry serves a variety of needs for many different types of people. The term hospitality covers a range of environments and can be broken down into four segments: food and beverage, travel and tourism, lodging, and recreation. Although these four industry segments have different needs and functions, we noticed three major hospitality trends appearing across all of them.

Sustainable Choices and Biophilic Design 

Sustainability and biophilic design are trends we have seen repeated across many industries over the past few years, and they show no sign of going away anytime soon. For many consumers, spending their time and money at a business that focuses on sustainable practices matters. This can include considering the materials used when building or redesigning a space but also beginning to think about how they can positively impact the environment rather than simply striving for net zero. This concept of “regenerative hospitality” asks designers and consumers to think more about how we can give back to our environments and ensure their future. 

Biophilic design focuses on bringing elements of nature to the consumer while also encouraging them to go out and engage with the natural environment. In a hospitality space, this might look like incorporating natural materials such as wood or stone in interior design, living walls, plant life, water features, open-air lobbies, patios, and other indoor/outdoor spaces

Resurgence of Retro and Integrating Art 

In many hospitality spaces, “retro” design has returned. This is particularly true in restaurants and bars where designers adapt retro materials with a modern spin. This includes dark wood, metallics, mirrors, and more. In lodging and travel, retro looks slightly different, often engaging in older trends that focus on style, comfort, and a sense of movement in the space. However, all hospitality spaces embrace art elements in their design choices. This might look like the introduction of unique patterns and colors, handcrafted furniture, patterned glass, or gallery walls. All of these trends embrace a unique environment and create a sense of play through a variety of colors, patterns, and textures.

Embracing Technology and Human Connection 

As society continues towards a world with increased technology and artificial intelligence, the hospitality industry faces the challenge of finding a balance between embracing both technology and human connection. Technological advancements certainly play an important role in designing a hospitality space. They offer ease of use for various consumer needs, such as digital check-in, online guides, and contactless communication. As artificial intelligence continues to advance, there will be further opportunities for consumer personalization. 

However, even though technology can be a huge benefit, human connection is essential, especially in hospitality spaces. An important element of hospitality design is offering consumers an opportunity to disconnect from technology and engage with each other. A significant trend to achieve this is the creation of multi-functional spaces that offer flexible design options via furniture choices, moveable walls, and other design elements. This allows the space to be transformed to meet the needs of the people gathering in it, whether it be a large function or a place for folks to gather naturally.

The hospitality industry is always a reflection of both our commercial and residential worlds and even our public spaces. Trends we see here usually coincide with other areas of our lives.

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Emma Becker

Emma Becker is a teaching artist and arts administrator working in the state of Rhode Island. She believes art, creativity, and self-expression are essential parts of education. The daughter of a weaver, she grew up surrounded by textiles and developed a deep respect for textiles and their makers.


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