Best Practices for Selecting a Commercial Interior Design Firm for Your Next Hotel Development
Choosing the right hospitality interior design firm is of utmost importance for the success of any hotel development project. Whether it’s an intimate setting or large-scale property, boutique hotel or extensive resort, branded or independent, the stories told through design have the power to connect people to places and to evoke emotion and meaning.
The interior design of a hotel plays a pivotal role in creating a truly one-of-a- kind environment that can transform a space and tell a story in every detail. To ensure that your hotel project aligns with your vision, it is imperative to adhere to the core values of your project and develop a seamless relationship with your design and procurement team.
This article outlines the key considerations and steps to assist you in making a well-informed and discerning decision when selecting the ideal firm to bring your project from concept to completion.
Define Your Project Vision
Before embarking on the search for an interior design firm, take time to clearly define your project vision and requirements. Research your target market, desired aesthetic, budgetary guidance, timeline expectations, and any specific design elements or stories that may resonate with you and your community. This level of clarity will guide you in finding a firm that aligns with your overall development goals.
Research and Shortlist Firms
Conduct comprehensive research on several hospitality interior design firms. Focus on firms that have proven experience in hotel and restaurant interior design projects. A design firm that also offers procurement and branding services for the hospitality industry also adds value. Seek out firms with portfolios that showcase their recent work, awards, and design aesthetics that are appealing to you, and appropriate for your project.
If your project is part of a mixed-use development consider a firm that offers interior design services with experience in a range of projects including services for full-service & lifestyle hotels, restaurants & bars, and multi-family & commercial spaces. Consider a firm that offers an in-house procurement division. By doing so you ensure your property stays on track and within budget, and who will work directly with the design team to maintain the design intent for your project.
Dive into each firm’s website, visit their social media profiles, and read client testimonials and peer reviews to gauge their reputation. Then, meticulously shortlist a select few firms that align with your project requirements and overarching objectives.
Evaluate Experience and Expertise
Delve into the experience and expertise of the shortlisted firms with a discerning eye. Consider the design team’s tenure in the industry, the qualifications of the team, and their track record of completed hotel projects. A firm steeped in rich experience in the nuances of hospitality design will be better equipped to comprehend the distinctive requirements of a hotel project and adeptly bring vetted solutions to challenges that arise. If you plan to franchise your hotel with a brand, look for design firms who are either recommended by the specific brand or whose portfolio demonstrates experience with the same or comparable brand.
Trusting a space to your design team means trusting someone with your story and the reasons that people will feel moved by your brand and in awe of the space it sits in. Look for a firm that is skilled at creating a journey through touchstone moments fueling discovery, function, and a natural type of storytelling. Measure the level of ownership and personal connection the design team displays over your project.
Invite the shortlisted firms to provide their portfolios for review. Take note of their design style, meticulous attention to detail, and their innate ability to tell the story of each property and deliver visually striking and functionally efficient spaces. Pay keen attention to their use of materials, harmonious color schemes, adept lighting choices, and selection of furniture, art, and accessories. The portfolio should exude an array of design concepts that vividly demonstrate versatility and creativity. And if you are looking to create something rooted in the locale or community, look for project examples that show how the personality and stories of the location were translated through clever design. Design firms who are dedicated to a thoughtful and meaningful design will also insist in a local immersion trip to get to know the location’s history, people in the community and what will tell the most authentic story possible.
Seek Client References
Reach out to past clients and design consultants of the firms on your shortlist. Engage in thoughtful conversations about their experience collaborating with the firm, the level of professionalism they encountered, the team’s adherence to timelines, and the overall quality of their work. Honest feedback from these past and current clients will yield invaluable insights into the firm’s ability to deliver on its promises and deliver exceptional design outcomes.
Look for a design team with leadership displaying the ability to listen and discern your vision and then be able to bring it to life through their creative lens. Also, access the team’s adaptability, flexibility, and solution mindset.
Communication and Collaboration
Effective communication and seamless collaboration are essential to the design process and success of bringing your hotel’s design to fruition. Arrange meetings with the shortlisted firms to experience their unique communication style and their ability to grasp and seamlessly incorporate your vision while embracing the importance of strong collaboration and coordination between team members. Ensure that the firm’s dedicated team exhibits receptiveness to your input and displays a willingness to work together with you throughout the design process, fostering a creative and collaborative partnership.
Engage in transparent discussions with the shortlisted firms regarding your budget. A reputable and distinguished interior design firm will present you with a comprehensive breakdown of pricing, meticulously delineating the scope of work, materials involved, and any additional expenses that may arise. Refrain from basing your selection solely on the lowest bid, as quality may be compromised. Experienced design firms will know what it typically takes to deliver a successful design and their fee should reflect that effort. Instead, prioritize value for money, ensuring that the firm can deftly deliver within your budgetary requirements without compromising on design excellence.
Timeline and Project Management
Inquire about the firm’s ability to meet deadlines and manage projects efficiently. A well-organized design firm will have a clear process in place, including regular project updates, will attend regular coordination calls and provide progress reports. Ask about their experience working with architects, general contractors, and preferred suppliers to ensure smooth and timely execution of all aspects of the design and construction plan.
Selecting an interior design firm for a new hotel development project is a critical decision that can greatly impact the success of your venture. You can make an informed choice by defining your project requirements, thoroughly researching firms, evaluating their experience and expertise, reviewing portfolios, seeking client references, emphasizing communication and collaboration, considering budget constraints, and assessing project management capabilities.
The right interior design partner will transform your hotel into a unique and captivating space that will set you apart in the highly competitive hospitality industry. By following this thoughtful approach, you will select a firm that understands how people experience spaces and how to create a design that engages all the senses while creating memorable moments for your guests.