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The Power of Details

Posted on July 03, 2006

By Michael Adams

As the editor of Hospitality Design magazine, whose readers are largely comprised of architects, interior designers, and owner/operators of  hotels, restaurants, resorts, spas, nightclubs, and other public venues, I have scant contact with professional meeting planners, but that was not always the case. In a previous incarnation, I was an editor for some years at Successful Meetings, and became rather intimately acquainted with planners’ needs/wants/hopes/fears, etc. and always stood in awe of the demands of the profession on a planner’s time, patience, sense of humor . . . and feet.

There are ways of course that these two aspects of my career intersect—hotel design.  Few people travel more than the professional planner, and few are more dependent on an efficient, secure, dependable property than those who have the well-being of dozens, if not thousands, of atteendees in their palms.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that we are in something of a design vortex. Television channels abound with amateur and professional designers alike presumably changing the lives of ordinary folk by bringing paint and new furniture to bear on a series of frumpy rooms.  Travelers are becoming increasingly sophisticated about design, no longer content with lumpy beds, dime-store paintings, soiled coverlets, and poor bathroom lighting. Even mid-range and economy hotel chains are beginning to understand that creative design is a marketable tool and says as much about their brand as an efficient staff or a price points.

But cool design strokes don’t excuse designers from overlooking the little things, and those continue to vex not only travelers, but other designers.  Henry Wong, an architect from Wong Gregersen Dabrus Architects in Toronto has spent the last 15 years gathering pet peeves from travelers all over the world, and their complaints—from inadequate and inconvenient outlets to glass walls separating bed from bath—form a cautionary primer for designers: don’t get hung up on beauty and style if you’re overlooking the practical details. 

Henry’s entertaining research can be found on www.wgdarchitects.com (click on “Forum”) and covers every conceivable category, from lobby and HVAC to security and elevators.  It’s an illuminating look at the power of details (it’s peppered with numerous quotes from respondees), and a lesson to hotel designers that beauty is fine, but it’s ease of operation that wins loyal hearts.


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Project 3355 in Las Vegas is supposed to be one of the greenest projects ever built here in Las Vegas.

john al

hey, cool post, good stuff:)
maybe i can put a link to it from my san francisco hotels its also hotel related site
thanks a lot

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