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Kevin Ahern

By: Kevin Ahern on June 19th, 2024

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Hospitality Trends in Connecticut: Elevating Guest Experiences in 2024

Commercial | Commercial Remodeling

If your business is reliant upon travelers for your revenue, it's important to keep up with traveler expectations. In recent years, trends in the hospitality sector, including businesses like hotels and restaurants, have been influenced by changes in technology and also broader changes in the world. COVID-19, for example, changed the travel industry in many ways, placing greater emphasis on sanitation, safety and contactless interactions. While the pandemic itself is over, many of these innovations remain important to hospitality-focused businesses.

If you own a hotel or restaurant, keeping up with the hospitality trends can help bring in new business while maintaining your loyal customer base. Remodeling is a vital part of keeping your business relevant and desirable for customers. This article will explore changes that your business can make to help maintain a successful business. 

1. Biophilic Design

Biophilic design brings people and nature together in the same indoor environment. The purpose of this design is to foster a positive relationship between people and the natural world, by creating connectivity between our everyday lives and the environment.

There are many ways this is done. Biophilic design usually involves an abundance of indoor plants, natural light and natural building materials like wood and stone. While plants aren't usually put into position until after renovation occurs, spaces for plants can be built into the structure itself. Most important is allow natural light into the space through creative use of large windows and skylights.

2. Technology Integration

Technology has changed and grown in so many ways that it is now built into our structures. From electrical outlets with USB ports to restaurant tables with QR codes on the surface, technology provides convenience everywhere, at every opportunity. 

Contactless payments, automatic text messages, mobile check-in features and energy-saving thermostats in hotel rooms are all examples of different ways that technology can be integrated into modern businesses. While not all of these changes are made during a renovation, many are, and should be taken into consideration throughout the planning process, from start to finish.

3. Adaptable Spaces

If there's one thing we learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, it's that adaptable spaces can be important for businesses in the hospitality industry. Specialized spaces with permanent, built-in furnishings can often only serve a particular function, while large, open, adaptable spaces with moveable furniture can continue to offer value even when circumstances change. In addition, adaptable spaces meet the changing needs of customers. 

What does "adaptable spaces" mean in this context?

  • Light-weight furniture that can be easily moved
  • Large open spaces that can be reconfigured
  • Moveable dividers that can create intimate spaces as needed

4. Instagrammable Experiences

Customers like to exist in attractive spaces they want to share with others. Presence of attractive patterns, beautiful colors, natural light and interesting fixtures and furnishings can help create "instagrammable spaces" for customers. This can be particularly important in restaurants, where use of interesting dinnerware and beautiful food configurations can create experiences for guests that they can happily share.

Many remodels will naturally create these spaces through attractive design, but for restaurants and other businesses that rely heavily on social media and word of mouth for their business, it's important to keep this in mind when planning the renovation.  

5. Authentic Local Experiences

More than ever, travelers want authentic local experiences. There are many ways that businesses in the hospitality industry can make this possible for customers. Hotels can hang art from local artists on the walls and create centers of information about local businesses and landmarks. 

Restaurants can serve local dishes, and of course, building your structure from locally sourced materials helps create an environment with local flair. Bluestone, for example, is a material that is indigenous to the Northeast and is popular in landscape and other applications. Your contractor or architect can help you identify the best local building materials for your renovations. 

How to Get Started With Your Hotel or Restaurant Renovation

Once you know that you need to renovate your hotel or restaurant, follow these steps to help ensure a successful and satisfying remodeling experience. 

1. Know your goals. Make a list of priorities for your upcoming remodel. Knowing what you hope to accomplish can help keep you on task, and can give you direction as you're planning your remodel with your contractor.

2. Select an architect and contractor. In almost all cases, commercial business owners must work with an architect on their commercial projects. You'll also need a contractor to complete the project once the design is finalized.

You can start by finding an architect, or you can start by finding a contractor. Which ever you find first can refer you to someone that they've worked with in the past, to help you get a team together. Vet multiple candidates and contact references before hiring. 

3. Know your budget. Have an amount in mind when you're starting this project. Costs vary a lot depending on what kind of work you're doing, but a typical hotel renovation will cost around $250 per square foot, and a restaurant will often cost more. 

4. Approve designs. After you've found an architect, you'll get started on the designs for your upcoming remodel. Maintaining open lines of communication with your team about your goals and budget will help speed the design process. This helps ensure that your renovation will meet all of your needs while also staying in a price range that you find affordable. Your architect will create designs based on the input you provide. You may go through several rounds of revisions before the design process is complete.

5. Get a contract with a general contractor. Once the designs are approved, then you'll work with a general contractor to get a contract for your upcoming remodel. Once you've signed, your contractor can get started. 

Find the Right Connecticut Contractor for Your Renovation

Hospitality trends are always changing. If it's time to remodel your hotel or restaurant, the Litchfield Builders guide to finding a Connecticut contractor can help you with the contractor selection process. Download our free publication today.

How to Choose a Professional Home Remodeling Contractor

About Kevin Ahern

Kevin is the Co-Founder of Litchfield Builders, an award-winning, industry leader with a reputation for managing projects others shy away from. They are known for their high-quality work, customer service, and reliability and though still relatively small in size, Litchfield Builders now competes with some of the areas largest firms in both the residential and commercial arenas.