HONG KONG – Privacy No More. In general, China’s Gen Y’ers want to see and be seen, causing a sea change in how communal spaces are designed and experienced. Whilst private dining rooms remain a key component of the China restaurant dining experience, one sees younger consumers more inclined to dine in the restaurant’s public spaces, preferring a more interactive dining experience.
Comfort Food is Cool. It is not that celebrity chefs, fusion food, or sci-fi culinary techniques are past their due dates. It is just that Road Warriors are returning to the comfort of the familiar. Whether it is double-boiled soup or a good cut of steak grilled to perfection with just the right accompaniment, the trend is toward authenticity and simplicity. The focus is on the quality of the products and ingredients and less on the presentation.
Three Hotel Features Nearing Extinction.
Safety deposit boxes at registration, since each guestroom has its own safe anyway.
Business centres, as today’s travellers come souped up with their office gadgets.
Formulaic restaurants that neither appeal to an increasingly sophisticated traveller nor make commercial sense to hotels.
From Concierge to Connoisseur. With travellers’ growing use of social media to plan their trips, with instant access to what is hot and new, concierge in China need to step up their game to keep pace. More than just pointing out the closest convenience store, concierges have to become virtual connoisseurs of their cities. Need an antiquity adviser? Check. Where to find a private kitchen restaurant in a hutong? Check. How to get a personal tour of the Great Hall of the People? Concierge will set it up for travellers within the hour.
Banish the Boring Banquet Room. As hotels compete with increasingly novel offsite venues like galleries, pop up stores, and unconventional public spaces for events, traditional meeting rooms are being designed with flexibility and flair. Cool amenities like open kitchen bars, living room-style set-ups, and more residential and intimate settings are paving the way to bespoke events.
Designing the Outdoor In and Socialising Inside Out. Outdoor communal spaces are increasingly popular for dining, lounging, or simply taking in the scene. Lobbies are no longer the prime real estate for people-watching — more and more hotel restaurants have outdoor spaces and street access, rooftops that can open or are being configured with cool terraces and flower walls.
Online Advice Aunties. Social media is bringing chefs out of the kitchen, concierge away from their service desks and hotel wedding planners from their cubicles. Hotel associates are increasingly becoming online personalities — dispensing recipes, home entertaining tips, and design advice. In a market like China where the emerging middle class is eager to learn, this trend will surely catch on especially as hotels become more than just lodging, but social and lifestyle hubs.
Online Restaurant Reservations. Guests already book hotel accommodations online. Next up is restaurant reservations. Not only convenient for both hotels and their customers, hotels can also maximise online marketing opportunities while customers can banish the busy signal during lunch rush hours.