Published April 6, 2022
By Carolyn Ames Noble
Principal, Ames Design Collective
Chair of ASID, WELL Faculty Member
No matter where you’re from, if you go back far enough in history, nearly everyone was nomadic. There’s something profoundly human about the need to see new sights and explore the world. So, despite the continued uncertainties we face, it’s no surprise to see travel coming back and in a big way.
Peter Kern, CEO of Expedia Group predicts the summer of 2022 will be the busiest travel season – ever. In February 2022, The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) updated its economic modeling with predictions that U.S. travel and tourism would exceed pre-pandemic levels by 6.2%, accounting for almost $2 trillion in U.S. gross domestic product. Rising costs in gasoline and continued pandemic regulations do not seem to be slowing this overall momentum down.
In the meantime, the status quo has been shaken up, and where there is change, there will always be innovation. There are many different threads weaving into the current landscape of hospitality trends, but sustainability, both in terms of our environment and our mental wellbeing, are an overarching narrative.
ADC has teamed up with our friends at Durasein to investigate and we became fascinated with the following five key hospitality themes.
Once considered a late adopter, the hospitality sector will accelerate its drive towards carbon neutrality in 2022 through eco-minded travel experiences.
The ecotourist is primed and ready to take the road untraveled and conscious of carbon footprint. Destinations are reached by rail, electronic powered automobiles, cycling and on foot. Hotels are powered by renewable and natural energy from solar and wind.
Indoor and outdoor spaces are free-flowing, forms are undulating and organic. Foliage and fauna grow unbounded, and natural patterns and water features are present. Gravel paths invite us to wander and explore.
Materials are sustainable, durable, recycled, and purposeful. In spaces like this, minimizing waste is a top priority. Fixing damaged surfaces, as Durasein does with its color-matched adhesives, minimizes footprint. Excess or retired materials can be reclaimed and folded back into the production process to cut impact to an absolute minimum.
Color palettes, materials, and textures champion the outdoors through Biophilic Design. Incorporate wood looks like the Durasein Rooted Collection and earthy looks like Oahu and Volcano
2. Radical Localism
What’s the point of traveling if it looks the same as where you started? Radical localism enhances the travel experience by telling the story of a destination, relaying the cultural identity and the site’s specific atmosphere.
Connection to both the community and the self is discovered through immersive and tactile experiences, from weaving to hiking. Our olfactory sense is the sense that is most entrenched with memory. The spirit of place is captured through the use of scent-scaping and fragrance. Hoteliers create a bespoke scent, such as honeysuckle and wild jasmine, that can be replicated long after the travel is complete, harkening a place, a memory, and an experience.
Meals are slow and with intention, and the buzz of conversation emulates through eating spaces. We leave behind our typical tourist shell, trading fanny packs, hats, and cameras for authentic connections to the local community. We eat with new tools, or familiar ones, such as our own hands. We are eager to taste the local cuisine through simple fresh ingredients and spices that satiate our palates.
Our dining experience is an exuberant celebration of family and friends and takes form in easy, curated tabletops. Food is placed on the table or counter surface itself to share and dine. Materials are seamless, highly cleanable and durable, and chemically resistant. This translates to surfaces like walls, too. Colors like Crema Risotto and Outre White resonate with the richness of local flavor.
3. Travel for Mental and Emotional Well-being
In a world in flux, travel for mental and emotional well-being beckons. We can all appreciate how essential it is to minimize stress in all travel and hospitality settings. And going beyond, designers and hoteliers have an opportunity to create interior environments that are highly tactile, nurturing, and wholesome. This trend is a backlash to the on-screen reality we’ve become accustomed to.
In the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by a massive 25%, according to a scientific brief released by the World Health Organization (WHO). And the ASID 2022 Trends Outlook Report finds parents and caregivers stressed and exhausted as the pandemic drags on, and increasingly weary because of what one parent called the “never-ending rollercoaster” of disruptions to school and childcare services caused by COVID-19.
This trend calls for immersive, quiet, contemplative spaces. Lighting design is an important consideration, including chromotherapy, (also known as color therapy) is the science of using colors to adjust body vibrations to frequencies that are said to result in health and harmony. Chromotherapy has a wonderful place in the shower to promote peace, well-being and healing.
The counterpoint to a quiet retreat, a primal experience like Let it Out Iceland, invites travelers to unleash raw, pent up emotions brought on from the past two + years.
Our pet companions and support animals are no longer relegated to a service only mentality. Hilton reports that of the 23m US homes that welcomed a new pet during the pandemic, two thirds (65%) would prefer to travel with their pet. Google data also shows that searches for dog-friendly staycations are up 143%, while Airbnb reports a signiﬁcant rise in pet-owners taking their pet on vacation with them.*
Conscientious travel is connected to this theme, as there’s no greater luxury than peace of mind - so you can see the importance this narrative echoes in the collective aesthetic sense. Ideal materials and surfaces are clean and translucent, like Outre White. Surfaces are applied throughout the guest suite into the bathroom for a seamless transition from wall to ceiling.
4. Staycation +
Health concerns and shifts in the economy have certainly altered our travel inclinations. The Staycation has become a new art form, and it’s no tragedy. For many of us, the home has become a wonderful escape from the pressures of life— a place tailored to our needs, while offering the backdrop to milestones, celebrations, and connection with community. Investment in the home is flourishing.
The NKBA predicts continued strength in home remodeling in the latest 2022 Home Remodeling Report. And ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) summarizes in its 2022 Trends Outlook Report, rather than emphasize aesthetics or luxuriousness, residential designers should consider marketing their ability to create comfortable, relaxing, and rejuvenating spaces.
For some populations such as families with young children or immunocompromised individuals, the pandemic unfortunately endures. The idea of going away on vacation may pivot to one of creative placemaking at home. Outdoor movies are projected under brightly colored canopies, and meal prep is a shared family experience.
Materials involved need to be durable, easy-to-clean, stain and scratch-resistant, and low in VOCs. We’re drawn to grounded colors like Boardwalk and Concrete, with playful pops of color such as Cheerful Yellow.
In all trends there is a counterpoint, and the adventure enthusiast is the opposite of our homebody. Whether forging into the wilderness or walking the streets of a foreign city, the “No Regrets” mindset lives large. This trend seeks to satisfy the senses with the delightful and unfamiliar, with one goal in mind: to leave us reinvigorated.
According to Expedia, 38% of travelers are yearning for travel that elicits excitement and exhilaration. Some of these experiences are sand-dune cruising, glamping under the stars or participating in an immersive 3D art exhibit.
This trend calls you to flex your experimental side with a bold mindset. Forms are geometric and seamless, informed by expressive parametric design like those made by D.Lab x Patternine Parametric Systems. Ideal colors are Arctic White, Glacier Tundra, and Outre White.
That’s a Wrap
Whether it's an epic dinner at home or an adventure on an epic journey, spaces that focus on ecotourism, localism, and mental and emotional comfort will offer enhanced travel experiences and bring visitors back for more. Sustainable environments will lead to sustaining experiences, in 2022 and beyond.
Chloe Caemmerer contributed to this article.