Can an established team pull the future closer....? – Latest
Over the last few years we have witnessed the increasing speed at which that new concepts are emerging to the hotels market. We have also seen an explosion in eating out with the UK now spending over £50 billion annually. It is little surprise that hotel operators can see the huge potential from a well-designed food & beverage offer within their buildings when there is as much income to be had here as there is with their rooms. They also know that when successful they can have both an enormous brand impact with some becoming timeless e.g. David Collins Blue Bar at The Berkeley.
It is clear that the rate of change within hospitality is now similar to that within the manufacturing industry and fashion. Hotels however remain very complex and often very large buildings, either made from bricks, steel and concrete, or re-imagined historic and existing buildings. They also take many years of planning and investment to reach fruition. Our role engineering the former headquarters of Midland Bank into The Ned took five years.
Alongside this are the huge costs and associated risks. All of this is ultimately reflected in the price point of these establishments. It is therefore no surprise that to offer a keen key price the entry level market is looking to build very fast, with a high take up of modern methods of construction, and a more basic and pared back offer in terms of design and facilities. The boutique offer operating alongside them are pushing their price point but also offering edgy design and taking up popular and often costly locations. For example, we engineered Citizen M onto a site dissected by complex infrastructure in Shoreditch with a full volumetric solution above podium level once the complexities of the ground had been overcome.
We therefore have an enormous challenge and what is primarily an engineering challenge. The hotel solutions across all brands for tomorrow and the future will need to be much more flexible in their composition and be made available more quickly. This will need a team approach and one led by the engineering.
So how do we go about engineering better buildings, better hotels, better places for people to stay? How do we engineer solutions that meet the demands of today but are not out of date tomorrow? How do we offer solutions that encompass wellness and other emerging lifestyles? How do we design an offer that works across all price points?
A good starting point would be to focus on and invest in established teams that have the track record and know how to do it. These teams will know the specialist supply chain and emerging methods and technologies. They will also recognise those new solutions that are unlikely to offer long term benefit.
These teams also know that the construction industry supply chain is stretched to breaking point and low on skills in every aspect. There are however incredible talents hidden within it, from new technology to traditional crafts. An established team will know where to find and extract the best parts.
Procurement on large projects has now become an enormous procedurally driven practice focussed solely on cost and risk. Many of the tried and tested methods used for this are often found wanting. There are new ways and these need to be used. An established team already understand the importance of budget and programme, but also have the confidence to trust a broader approach, the process, with at the fore a clear focus on quality.
There is an irony that an industry with an incredible final offer of edgy design meeting timeless elegance with technology has largely broken procedures delivering it. Imagine what the results could be if this procedure was different, led by fast moving teams with enquiring minds pulling the future closer.