Hospitality and tourism: domotics and redesigned spaces the winning formula for hotels
Hotels large and small, boutique hotels, bed & breakfasts and agri-tourism establishments. As we await the Italian government’s definitive anti-Coronavirus arrangements in the coming months, it is clear that all measures taken will revolve around three essential factors: cleanliness, hygiene and sanitisation. In other words guaranteeing the safety of staff and guests, bearing in mind the road map drawn up by the WHO as early as late March. And while many hotel chains have already taken steps to get their structures certified, a priority for all will be the reorganisation of the guest experience to ensure that health requirements are met and social distancing guaranteed. Much has already been done: the reduction of high-contact surfaces (TV remotes, telephones, thermostats, light switches, room keys), to the need to prevent people gathering in communal spaces, as well as the treatment of sheets and other fabrics and the management of rubbish that may have come into contact with the virus.
As a result, at a time when people’s movements are completely conditioned by social distancing, it seems clear that automation and the Internet Of Things will prove to be important allies for hoteliers. “At this historic moment in time we are becoming increasingly smart, and quickly getting used to using whatever technology can offer us in terms of allowing us to connect, share and move around in a virtual way and this is just the beginning of the process of transformation in the way we interact with each other in the current dimension of space and time,” writes architect Simone Micheli on his blog. He has identified three concepts to define the world as it will be: alteration, hybridisation and crossovers. “The theme of safety, together with sustainability everywhere, will become the main focus and will lead to myriad products designed to cater to different needs.”
In practical terms this means careful monitoring at delicate moments like checking in and checking out, through the use of thermal cameras to check body temperature and apps that will be set up to give access to rooms from your own device. Here, once the door has closed behind you, domotics will limit interaction with devices and controls considered to be “at risk”, while an interactive TV system will provide a continuous point of contact between the hotel and its guests.
More generally, say those who have been coming up with innovative solutions for professional hospitality for years, Phases 2 and 3 will lead to a redefinition of roles and functions. And hotels, which in Italy are rarely perceived as places where people gather, can now look forward to a new lease of life.
“By upgrading the communal rooms and opening the structures to the public, with a full-time service and a guarantee of the structure’s quality, hotels can now play a whole new role, regaining wide segments of the market and offering a highly original, quality service,” says the president of Costa Group, Franco Costa, a firm which at the last editions of HostMilano presented innovative solutions and in recent days has been highly active in the field of adapting structures to ensure maximum safety. Costa goes on to explain how a possible solution might consist, for example, “in doubling as bars and pastry shops, also involving the world of packaging, which has always been something not to be underestimated and can indeed promote the identity of the structure.” Because, when the emergency is over, even the medium-range hotels will have to take inspiration from the luxury sector: both in the adoption of flexible, personalised solutions and in the attention to privacy and in the presence of clearly defined communal spaces.