Hospitality in 2019
by Matthew Hufft
Hospitality no longer means a hotel or restaurant. It now also means an excuse to disconnect, rooms on wheels, bars that focus on kids, marijuana tourism, extreme destinations and e-arenas.
An excuse to disconnect – Spaces for ultimate solitude. A place to go where there is no cell signal, no wifi, no social media. Ultimately, it becomes a spot to check in and out of, and while you are there, you get to concentrate. These spaces will probably take technology, in order to block our technology. Or, maybe it will be accomplished with architecture, like thick concrete walls. I also believe these spaces will be designed to be ultra-contemplative, quiet and daylight-focused.
Rooms on wheels – No doubt after automated cars arrive, automated RVs will be introduced, as well. Can you imagine if the hotel room came to you and brought you to a resort or another destination? You could lounge, eat, drink, sleep, bathe, work out, and do whatever as you cruise down the highway. Automated RVs could plug into a resort destination or just simply bring you from point A to point B.
Bars that focus on kids – This has been overlooked for too long, but parents like to drink, too. You can find a brewery packed on a Saturday afternoon, full of parents, only because the place has a basket of used (and often gross) toys. Or, there’s a yard with sticks and rocks the kids undoubtedly end up hurling at each other. A curated experience where young kids can play, and parents can drink (responsibly), is an instant home run.
Marijuana Tourism – Think of this as a ‘herbery’ akin to the billion dollar winery industry. The market focus currently gravitates to dispensaries (and there is a lot of work to do there), but think about the hospitality play with marijuana. Once it is federally legal, it will be a huge opportunity for tourism, combined with nightly rentals and restaurants. And beyond the cultivation side, there will be a huge push to create spots for consumption. How does a place help facilitate splitting a pot brownie? Or, is there a whole set of food and culinary methods not yet invented? It is interesting to think about what a six-course meal at a high-end herbery would look and feel like.
Extreme Destinations – Look through Airbnb’s “greatest hits,” and you’ll see tree houses, house boats, and other random (and often isolated) places to get away from it all. There are some examples of these type of resorts already out there already, but the creativity behind their designs (and experiences) have a lot of room to grow. The larger operators are catching on, and soon these special experiences will be offered in more organized and specialized locations.
E-arenas – As opposed to the place of solitude, this is a place of total immersion and connectivity. It may be an e-sports arena, or a virtual reality park. It will have to provide something besides a webcam and VR headset, though. As fast as technology has changed our daily lives, it has not even begun to really shape our spaces. These new ‘connectivity’-focused spaces will do just that, and no doubt create a new type of space and furnishings.