By Matthew Jones, executive director, Wallcoverings Association
If the start of Spring Break 2022 has taught us anything, it's that travel is back. From hotels to restaurants to all the tourism spaces across the U.S., the hospitality industry is gearing up for a hectic season which is projected to last well into 2023.
While travel has not changed, travelers and tourists certainly have new expectations after two years of social distancing and quarantine rules. Earlier this year, The American Hotel & Lodging Association defined the new traveler in their 2022 State of The Hotel Industry Report. As a result, commercial designers should now consider the changing demands of travelers as they not only desire but require hotels, restaurants and hospitality spaces appeal to their needs.
From b-leisure travel to digital nomads, it's fair to say that tourists are now exploring new places while still clocking in for work. Thanks to flexible, hybrid and virtual job options, travelers doing double-duty now need quiet destinations not just to relax and recharge but also to log in and attend virtual meetings. The new traveler—who is working while exploring—is setting the tone for their increased need for serene spaces around the clock. The wallcoverings and commercial hospitality industries predict that this summer is just the start of the new ways to combine work and travel. So how can commercial designers ensure designs are optimized for conducting business in hotel rooms, lobbies and restaurant spaces?
Many wallcoverings manufacturers are ahead of customer demands with new lines of acoustic wallcoverings that reduce sound and still enhance the appeal and aesthetic of shared spaces. The magic is in the fibers that are specially manufactured and tested to absorb sound and offer a Noise Reduction Coefficient (NCR) rating that indicates the amount of sound absorbed. For the imminent future, it's critical that commercial designers specify renovations for hotels, motels, restaurants and event spaces with wallcoverings that dampen voices between the walls.
Hear the Birds, Not the Chatter
Quiet the Crowds
Dimensional Sound Dampening
As tourists continue to jet out of town to set up shop in new and exciting destinations, it's essential for commercial designers to offer hospitality and hotel clients a way to connect with their target clientele. Whether guests are visiting for business, leisure, or both, there's an opportunity to bring the dramatic décor while dampening the background noise.
About the author: Matthew Jones is executive director of the Wallcoverings Association, a nonprofit trade association representing wallcoverings manufacturers, distributors and suppliers. The WA educates consumers, designers and specifiers about the beauty and use of wallcoverings. The association keeps the industry at the forefront of sustainability with specifier tools such as NSF 342, Sustainability Scorecards and Environmental Product Declarations. Designers and design students can obtain an industry sample book from the WA at www.wallcoverings.org/samplebooks.