Decoding Hotel Design Trends with Michael Wang, senior continent head of Global Design Asia Pacific – Marriott International

The Marriott Global Design Asia Pacific Confluence 2018 aimed at addressing state-of-the-art hotel trends to help the Indian hospitality-sector professionals build better hotels of tomorrow.

Michael Wang, senior continent head of Global Design Asia Pacific – Marriott International, headed a day-long workshop on ‘Latest Design Trends in Hotels’ on 17th July 2018 at St. Regis Mumbai. Hotelier India Magazine of ITP Media (India) Group associated with Marriott International to pull together a congregation that came synonymous with deliberating best practices, innovation and success in the field of hospitality design.

Marriott Global Design Asia Pacific Confluence 2018, the first of its kind in India, was both an inspiring showcase of architectural exemplars and a catalyst for the spread of useful design knowledge among 40+ hotel owners, 50+ project heads, 80+ architects and interior designers, and 45+ industry consultants.

With a short address, Gurmeet Sachdev, director, Hotelier India, opened the event, hoping to create valuable insights and dialogues during the day. Ankush Agarwal, director – Business Development at Harman Professional Solutions, took the spotlight to introduce Harman brand to the power-packed audience and offered to collaborate with them to tailor, fitter ecosystems and superior guest experiences in hotels.

Sachdev handed over the dais to Vikram Choubal, vice president – South Asia, Marriott International, to take the proceedings forward. In his addresss, Choubal thanked and welcomed the delegates, guests and partners for their support and presence. He spoke about Marriott’s presence as a leading global hotel brand and in conclusion, invited the Man of the Day – Michael Wang – to lead the delegates through the day with his sessions.

With Marriott for 23 years, Wang is currently responsible for design and project management related activities for Marriott International’s portfolio of 30 brands (Luxury, Premium and Select) in Asia Pacific – besides helming development and execution of strategies to effectively respond to the changing development and business needs of Marriott International brands in the region. Wang kick-started his talk saying, “We are here to offer a tool and a foundational background that will help you design better hotels at large. Our goal today is to share our secrets and democratise all information in order to let the whole industry grow together.”

Gurmeet Sachdev, Director- Hotelier India

Wang quickly outlined the 30 Marriott hotel brands categorised as ‘Classic’ and ‘Distinctive’, and further classified as ‘Luxury’, ‘Premium’ and ‘Select’ within each category.

Wang went on to explain the key points of Marriott’s global design process to deliberate how a hotel project is put together. He said, “With Marriott, the GDAP Project Manager becomes the single source of contact between the Owner’s Rep and other disciplines like design, MEP, IT, security, CLS etc to attain a smooth flow. We then concentrate on generating a brand story, because we know for a fact that when a hotel is designed on a well defined brand strategy, the ROI improves. Finally, expert advice and consultation lets the design plan, statutory guidelines and overall operations of the hotel become compliant with the brand strategy.”

Wang also shared a snapshot of Marriott’s internal ‘Facilities Criteria Cheat Sheet’ that they use as a checklist for facility management of the different brands and a ‘Hotel Roadmap’ that constitutes the various steps to be taken to make a hotel project fall into place.

Vikram Choubal, Vice President- South Asia at Marriott International

Speaking about the principles of hotel design, Wang said, “I believe we need to apply ‘Form follows Fiction’ while designing. A hotel has to have a soul and a story that intrigues the millennial customers of today. A relativity of the hotel to the local market, a tale behind the property and a distinctive feature that sets the design apart – all adds to the customer satisfaction and engagement.”

As part of the Hotel Design 101 guide, Wang led the audience through the various factors to consider while taking decisions about the site planning, access design, traffic circulation, F&B, business centres and banquet displays, WC, FLS, vertical transportation, ceiling heights, corridor widths, guestrooms, lounges, BOH and staffing of any hotel project. To explain the whole hotel planning system better, Wang showcased instances from Taipei Le Meridien, Shenzhen Bay RHR, Kuala Lumpur Damansara and Melbourne Docklands MHR.

While addressing the future of hotel design and innovation, Wang strongly mentioned, “Innovation is not an option anymore. It makes things easier and lets us grow. Big Data is another important enabler for us, the hoteliers. From the information collected in Big Data, businesses can learn correlations, analyse accurately and take better decisions. It offers us multiple insights into customer behaviour and preferences, only to let us adjust faster,” he stated.

Wang also touched base on using virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence and robotics to increase user experience and brand performance.

The confluence constituted multiple networking sessions in between Wang’s talk for delegates to meet and discuss opportunities, while getting familiar with the products displayed by the industry partners. At the conclusion of the conference, Sachdev offered a vote of thanks to Wang, the delegates and guests for spending their valuable time with ITP Media and Marriott.

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