Experiential Travel and the Rise of Deconstructed Hotels

Courtesy of Eden Arc

Julian Houchin, co-founder and Board Director of Travel Curious, a vertically integrated tours and activities services provider for hotels and travel partners, explains why experiential travel is prompting hoteliers to create memorable stays.

We live in the era of the “experience economy” where guests crave adventure and exploration, where experiences become transformative and sensory, transcending beyond the actual experience and moment in time. We have become less materialistic and more excited to share real experiences with family and friends and create those memories that will last a lifetime.

The term ‘experiential travel’ defines that shift in guest behavior towards a more active, engaged and involved form of travel. This also applies to hotels, where guests expect more from their hotel experience, and where hotel owners, investors and managers continually explore exciting new ways to embrace the experience economy.

The hotel industry has learnt an interesting lesson from Airbnb, and that is the growing demand for alternative, fun and memorable experiential accommodation.  This creates an opportunity for hotels to adapt through innovative design as demonstrated by the Trakt Forest Hotel in Sweden which offers its guests a true “back to nature” experience, away from the noise of the outside world.  It’s no longer about the materialistic collection of things, but rather the collection of experiences from peaceful hideaways, adventure sports and active tourism to authentic immersion and living like a local – all of which appeal to that yearning for continued learning and personal development.

Courtesy of The Trakt Hotel, Sweden

The definition of hotel luxury is being redefined as hotel guest expectations evolve from the traditional finery of luxury décor and service to the ideas of authenticity and experience. It is less about materials and finishes than about the lifestyle offered. Guests have embraced informality, where service has become more relaxed and friendly, allowing guests to feel more at ease. Public spaces are being reinvented to become unforgettable, and include lobbies, bars, restaurants, and landscaped areas.  Sheraton’s Denver Downtown Hotel is one such example, where the hotel owners have transformed public space into a place and reinvented the lobby.  The hotel management team partnered with Travel Curious’ Hotel Solutions platform to offer instantly bookable in-house experiences such as TopGolf Swing Suite experiences and cabanas by the pool for those less energetic.  Also a full range of local events and activities are designed to improve guest engagement by offering instantly bookable curated experiences which are easy to book.   

Courtesy of The Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel 

The demand for alternative lodging experiences extends to nature-based, sustainably slanted lifestyle hotels, where guests can stay in a space that feels more like home, creating cozy living room spaces for socializing and entertaining. Distinctive design is becoming the norm as guests look for those wow factors, instagrammable moments and opportunities. It is encouraging hotel owners and operators to create more memorable experiences.  Four Seasons and other luxury hotel brands are venturing into alternative lodging concepts to meet this growing demand. From treehouse dwellings, tented resorts, to dome hotels and sleeping in pods, the hospitality industry endlessly reinvents itself. This is further evidenced by the introduction of Treehouses at Chewton Glen Hotel, the quintessential English Country House Hotel who charge a significant premium for the experience. 

Courtesy of Chewton Glen Hotel, United Kingdom

The recent opening of Naviva Four Seasons in Punta Mita, Mexico further underpins this growing demand for deconstructed hotel concepts and experiential accommodation.  They define themselves as a luxury tented resort unique as nature itself.

Courtesy of Naviva Four Seasons Resort

The new concept of deconstructed hotels responds to a traveler’s desire for privacy and a more back-to-basics feel where guests seek remote experiences – a growing trend this year. Deconstructed hotels have changed the way we think about hotels and so it’s no surprise hotel owners, investors and brands are exploring exciting new designs that capture the imagination.  Companies like Eden Arc are collaborating with hospitality stakeholders to design and build architecturally design-led alternative and experiential lodging solutions. Gone are the traditional receptions and lobby layouts, and standard hotel room accommodation.  Instead, guests are greeted with curated guest accommodation, strategically positioned to respect their privacy and prioritize the experiential aspect for the guest.

Courtesy of Eden Arc

For further information on how Travel Curious Hotel Solutions can help you create instantly bookable in-house experiences and local tours & activities for your guests, please visit our website to schedule a demo.  https://partner.travelcurious.com/hotel-solutions