As Hotel Designs continues to put technology under the spotlight, Nick Brown, hospitality channel manger for GROHE UK, explains why digital modern bathrooms are going to be trending for a while…
In recent years, the hotel guest experience has undergone a mass transformation.
As seen in Hotel Designs’ Year in Review of the most significant products to launch in 2019, digital technology is now commonplace throughout a hotel from app-based digital check-ins to slick entertainment systems providing music, TV and concierge support at the touch of a button. The hotel bathroom is the natural next step in the evolution of the smart hotel, offering convenience, comfort and relaxation for the customer. Digital or smart fittings in the bathroom are now being specified to help increase functionality and usability in the bathroom, and in many cases, enhance the luxury atmosphere that so many visitors are now seeking from their travel experiences.
As far as interiors go, it is usually the crème de la crème of hotel designs that spark the trends for residential interiors. However, with digitalisation, the roles have been reversed to some extent. The integration of digital and smart concepts in the home is much more readily available now than they were even a few years ago, and with increased understanding as to their benefits and how to use them, the uptake from the mass market has become more profound. As most consumers are now much more in touch with tech and the digital world, hotels can really benefit from integrating smart features and there is even a growing expectation from savvy travellers for these elements to be included as standard.
“In particular, there has been a growing desire amongst hoteliers for infra-red basin mixers in guestrooms.” – Nick Brown, hospitality channel manager, GROHE UK.
The rise of lifestyle hotel brands over the past few years has certainly helped spur on the desire for digital. Designers of these spaces are instilling character and innovations such as smart technology into both guest rooms and communal areas to create an enhanced, unique atmosphere. These experiential hotels are generating enormous appeal particularly with millennial guests and are consequently being shared in abundance on social media platforms. The hotel bathroom already has its own corner of the social media sphere, with the most luxurious and aspirational designs reaching hundreds of thousands of users around the world. Like bespoke design and idyllic aesthetics, digital products offer this same element of aspiration and can really help create a unique hotel experience, a trend which is trailblasing travel experiences for younger generations.
From the perspective of hoteliers and facility management teams, the trend for digital products in the bathroom stems from growing pressure on hotels to reduce their footprint and integrate fittings that will generate more efficient consumption of water and energy, as well as being mindful of how much single-use plastic waste they are generating. In particular, there has been a growing desire amongst hoteliers for infra-red basin mixers in guestrooms which can be monitored via an app as well as set to run for a limited amount of time, helping to reduce on water consumption and costs whilst preventing against water damage from the tap being accidentally left on.
Many of the leading global hotel groups are beginning to implement their own sustainability targets and initiatives and are therefore turning to suppliers for smart solutions that can help them to reduce consumption without comprising performance as well as use app connectivity to monitor and manage their usage. Hotel conglomerates such as Hilton have subscribed to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all, which encourages the implementation of 17 targets to be in place by 2030. GROHE and its parent company LIXIL can work hand in hand with hotels supporting these initiatives as it too has pledged its support to the programme.
The challenge for meeting this new trend for digital is that bathroom interior fittings must still be beautiful and elegant, as well as functional and innovative. Each aspect is valued of equal importance and is key to creating an aspirational bathroom setting that will create a lasting memory in the minds of the guests, both for its looks and the experience it offers. Of course, sustainability will remain a dominating factor too as digitalisation continues to transform hotel bathrooms. Guests are becoming more and more conscious of the footprint they leave when travelling and will welcome encouragement from their hotel to help them be more eco-conscious during their stay. In 2020, basin mixers with LED temperature displays will emerge on the market, acting as a subtle but impactful reminder that guests can make small changes such as turning the temperature of their water down by just a few degrees to help reduce their energy consumption. Infra-red operated eco-modes will also be available on basin mixers which will see hotels actively offering guests more conscious choices when it comes to managing their carbon footprint and water usage.
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Main image credit: GROHE UK