The Hospitality Industry Seeks More Flexible Spaces


Regaining the trust of customers is the main challenge that hospitality spaces face after the pandemic. The challenge is to be able to offer a safer, but also more friendly design, without the hygiene measures colliding with the experience that users seek when they go to hotels and restaurants. All of this was discussed this week in a video conference on Creativity and interior design for the new hospitality industry , organized by Grupo Vía.

Despite the fact that the coronavirus has shaken the pillars of many sectors, experts do not advocate making big changes in the hospitality industry, although they do predict an acceleration of trends. “We are still in a moment of great indecision, it is not very clear that it will be necessary to transform everything or that it will go back exactly to what it was before, so the key will be in the flexibility of spaces”, affirmed Alfonso Merry del Val, founder of Merry Design Studio.

The versatility is also the best solution for project manager Ingennus Urban Consulting, Elena Vallino, who said that now that most demand is to transform interior spaces outdoors. Thus, the terraces that open and close, to be able to enjoy them both in the warmest and coldest months, will be one of the most sought-after elements, according to the architect. An example of this adaptability are all the hybrid corners that were created when smoking was banned in establishments, also the transparent shells that cover the lids that rest on the bars of the bars. “We have a great ability to reinvent ourselves,” celebrated the expert.

The co-founder of Grupo Nomo Ramón Jiménez commented that, in his opinion, an interesting way to achieve this elasticity in spaces is through the design of compartments . “The restaurant can be very large, but the customer does not have to see 120 people dining with him,” he said. Even in open spaces, the regulations, which have been imposed as a result of Covid-19, require a greater separation between tables, something that, according to experts, could be maintained after the pandemic. “It is not just a question of health, but also of privacy,” claimed Vallino.

An aspect that, according to Merry del Val recognized, controls the luxury industry well . “These spaces will have to change little because they already respected the measures before, although it can also be an opportunity to make conventional hotels more comfortable,” he underlined. The issue, as pointed out by the International Hospitality Projects (IHP) consultant Ignacio V. Sandoval, is to be realistic and not lose the economic point of view, especially if one takes into account that these circumstances are temporary. “When it returns to normal, the distance will be cut again because there are sites that need a certain number of tables to be profitable,” he recalled. One more argument in favor of flexibility.

For her part, Mercedes Isasa, from TBC Interiorismo, encouraged the use of digital tools to improve the hygiene level of establishments. “There are technologies for everything from bidi codes to consult the menu to elevators that can be controlled with the voice so that they do not need to be touched,” he developed.