Renovate, restore, refresh: why it’s time to ditch the faded marks

As tourists get the green light to travel to Australia and former quarantine hotels prepare to reopen to the public, many hoteliers are opting to transform their space to earn business. Chada’s creative director and owner, Juliet Ashworth, discusses the importance of personality-driven design.

When it comes to hotels, regional Australia is about to have its time in the sun. Let’s face it, the hotel offer for both tourists and business travelers outside our major cities is generally catastrophic. Bland brands, offering little more than a roof over your head, will be pitted against new, personalized, personality-driven offerings.

Lifestyle hotels continue to thrive, with room numbers set to double over the next two years and regional Australia getting its share. Accor alone plans to expand its lifestyle range by 25% worldwide.

Right now, at Chada, we’re building a new midscale brand aimed at workers who need short to medium term housing to rival Airbnb.

We’re also redesigning a bunch of tired properties in remote locations that will provide exciting new vacation experiences for returning domestic and international travellers. Despite all that this continent has to offer, quality experiential travel accommodations are still outsourced compared to similar territories.

So, with a shift in focus from CBDs to regional areas and the outer suburbs of the city, we will see the rise of lifestyle hotels that are much more than a bed for the night. They will reflect places in microscopic ways, exploring the stories of the surrounding neighborhood and celebrating local culture, art, history and personalities. These will be places where locals can mingle with guests and may even offer coworking spaces. The catering will feature local producers and products.

Our job as brand builders will be to enhance the travel experience and create a sense of place that is sorely lacking in our regional hotels.

In addition to this new focus, construction costs are very high due to material shortages, so renovation dollars have to be spent on things customers actually need, prompting a new kind of simplicity with an emphasis on smart technology.

As the guest experience becomes increasingly digitized, a hotel stay needs to be more personalized with human interactions delivered through common spaces. With the health crisis almost behind us, the desire for meaningful experiences and local authenticity will take on even more value.

For more, check out the April issue of HM, out next week.

Nicholas E. Crittendon