Roundtable: Professional services

Hotellier Middle East talks to two professionals from the design sector to discover their views related to hotel design and technology and sustainability

Jacinda Raniolo, Lead creative designer at Godwin Austen Johnson (left) and Kristina Zanic, owner and CEO at Kristina Zanic Design consultants (right)
Jacinda Raniolo, Lead creative designer at Godwin Austen Johnson (left) and Kristina Zanic, owner and CEO at Kristina Zanic Design consultants (right)

HOTELIER: How important is sustainability in terms of what you do and what the client wants?

JACINDA RANIOLO (JR):  Unfortunately sustainability does not feature as much in projects as I would like. From my observations and experience new builds will do the minimum to meet LEED and estidama requirement but there is little that really pushes boundaries of innovations, which is often due to the cost implications associated with doing so. However there is definitely an increase in awareness and willingness so hopefully we will see greater innovations in the future.

KRISTINA ZANIC (KZ): The efficient use of space is a key influencer in operations of a hotel which has a huge impact on sustainability. Selecting materials with low environmental impact needs to be common complaint for many hotel guests, is complicated light switching controls. I recently stayed at a luxury hotel in Thailand only to have what would have been a perfect experience hampered by the lights. I could not find how to switch off the night light under the bedside table and spent a while trying to locate the on/off switch.

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(KZ): Lighting controls are my biggest frustration in a hotel. Working with professional consultants to come up with solutions to simplify room lighting controls in a room is essential. Let’s keep it simple.

HOTELIER: How has technology in terms of design changed with the evolving needs of today’s travellers?

(KZ): Technology continues to advance at a soaring pace, travellers are more digitally savvy and more people are travelling more than ever before. People need and expect information immediately; we need to consider technology and people’s expectations in how and what we design

HOTELIER: In terms what you do, what processes did you once see as an essential part of your work but has now changed?

(KZ): The biggest process change is the speed at which we need to do things. There is simply not much time to think.

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