The Hospitality Braintrusts® 

A joint expedition by EquipHotel and MKG Consulting

From 3 to 7 November, to help you find new ways to manage your business.

«Towards a new economic dynamic for hospitality»

Hotel and restaurant professionals face new challenges in maintaining profitability, providing quality service and responding to customer demands: a transformation phase that requires adaptation and imagination.

EquipHotel Braintrusts*: Dare to innovate and pool skills 

*The Braintrust is the name of the group of experts who advised U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the New Deal.

EquipHotel and MKG Consulting have invited hotel entrepreneurs and trade show partners to exchange and share ideas and feedback in a series of 4 workshops on the theme of “Time to Dare!”:

  • Tech & Services: “Is the advent of AI a source of productivity gains in day-to-day management?”
  • Design & Layout: “How to make rooms a key to the customer experience?”
  • Wellness: “Can quality and profitability be reconciled?” 
  •  Foodservice: “How has F&B succeeded in shifting into “eatertainment” and a profitable business?” 

Workshop summaries

Design & Layout

“How to make rooms a key to the customer experience?”

Workshop summary:

The design and layout of hospitality spaces have well exceeded interior decoration to become an integral and essential part of the concept or brand identity.

Over and above the “aesthetic” function of design, it plays a vital role in the experience or expected experience of customers, based on the promise made to them. The “use” dimension is also essential for facilitating operations, justifying investments and demonstrating responsible and environmental commitments through the choice of construction, materials and furnishings.

But it’s all hanging in a delicate balance. While we may believe that architects and designers are given free rein to be creative, the challenge is to strike the right balance: between customer expectations and practicality; between the choice to follow current trends and adopt a timeless design that stands the test of time; between bold enough design decisions to create a strong identity and appeal to customers and enough common sense not to be limited to a niche identity.

In practical terms, hotel design is a means to an end, not an end in itself. It tells a story, but it must also help guests understand the spaces and their function. There must be no compromise on aesthetics and eco-design, while also proposing an ergonomic and service-oriented design that facilitates operations and maintenance.

Designing and furnishing a space involve ongoing, substantiated dialogue between interior designers and hotel management professionals.

Bearing all this in mind, participants focused their thinking on three major dimensions in hospitality design: identity, attractiveness linked to the customer experience and operational quality of use. 

The real challenge is to not be too crazy while avoiding becoming has-been and déjà vu. Design is about striking the right balance.

At the same time, you have to make bold enough decisions to win over customers while also using your common sense so that you’re not too divisive and fall into the identity trap.

The challenge is maintaining a coherent identity from A to Z, taking into account the building itself, the surrounding environment, the multi-faceted experience we want to give guests and the message the hotelier is trying to communicate. The ideal result is a design that makes sense.

Design is meant to support a brand’s identity and values, without being overwhelming.

The design of spaces must leave room for a kind of agility so that they can be transformed and change use in a short space of time, with an element of surprise by changing the décor for a new function.

Hospitality design should be just one part of a wider, more comprehensive staging, when the choice has been made to clearly stand out from the crowd. It’s how the story is told and how this is reflected in the design decisions that will make it a success.

Tech & Services  

«Is the advent of AI a source of productivity gains in day-to-day management?»  

Workshop summary:

All the participants talked about their experience of hotel technology in day-to-day management, highlighting the stumbling blocks and challenges to be overcome. In no particular order, they mentioned the importance of user comfort; securing the data collected; the desire to increase staff productivity to free up useful time to be devoted to customers; connectivity with other tools within an overall ecosystem; measuring ROI and training staff to ensure that they are on board and understand the systems

The expert group’s work focused on three major challenges in order to achieve a virtually ideal situation: the efficiency/investment cost ratio; the “user-friendly” aspect of tools, which involves training staff; and the importance of connectivity between scattered building blocks.

Technology in hospitality should be seen as a service, just like everything else that keeps a hotel running.

The key to turning failure into success lies in supporting change and simplifying uses.

The real battle is for connectivity between tools and applications which have been chosen by the operator on the basis of return-on-investment criteria.

From the customer's point of view, a technology platform needs to be able to follow their journey through the hotel.

Training must lead to user comfort, with training that is easy to access for all profiles, from hotel managers to receptionists.

Achieving this 360° customer perspective on the operational side through the right dashboard will make their experience even smoother.