Adequacy of post-confinement hotel spaces, by Marco Rodolfo Praga


Adequacy of post-confinement hotel spaces, by Marco Rodolfo Praga

Understanding that hospitality is a cash flow exercise with an inevitable real estate component, where costs and rates define the investment, and that what we are experiencing is a situation that we will overcome at some point, the secret to managing the reactivation/continuity of hotel activity lies in the operation and the feeling of care and security that can be transmitted to guests.

While it is true that hotels have always been designed with circulation, space, finishes, technology (accessibility) and equipment to be easy and quick to maintain at the lowest possible cost, today we have to take an additional step and be more creative, not only reviewing all of the above, but also strengthening the efficiency and versatility of each space from the understanding of the business so that we do not remain in mere superficial solutions. While a first solution is to think about expanding the common areas and meeting areas, we still have the problem of traffic and renewal of occupation. To do this, we must strengthen the facilities provided by the infrastructure to provide the requested services.

In the new projects, especially in those with an upcoming opening date, we must think about a partial and modular habilitation according to the occupation and how to make the prevention measures more flexible. Surely they will be able to withstand this first period by adjusting their operating equipment and deferring in time the investment in the provision of common spaces, which will probably be closed until further notice, while waiting to receive guests. From this point of view, re-engineering, strengthening and making service areas more efficient (such as storage of cleaning elements, work and cleaning points in the different areas, capacity to rotate more personnel) will be fundamental and key to ensuring proper operation.

In both existing and new hotels, among the many different measures that can be considered, it will surely be possible to rebook hotel nights (a premium product in the business) by offering breakfast in the rooms and doubling the cleaning and disinfection cycles, ensuring the possibility of private and safe spaces. Those who already have additional infrastructure will have to think about how to make it profitable by giving services to third parties or putting it on stand by taking care of its maintenance costs.

In short, understanding that this is a transitory situation with a duration not yet measurable, what hotel developers have to do today is to continue projecting the hotels that meet their business goals under normal conditions, adjusting their offer temporarily from an efficient operation without major modifications in infrastructure. This will leave us with great learning and many new ideas more oriented to the real needs of the user rather than to consumer trends, and will undoubtedly be a great opportunity to improve both the product and the business. The big secret will not be to redesign the room, but the flows, the possibility of compartmentalization and reuse or complementary use of common spaces, equipment, and service areas.


Managing Partner for South America of GVA

Born in Buenos Aires and graduated from the University of Belgrano (Buenos Aires, Argentina), Marco Praga is Managing Partner of GVA arquitectura integral, a firm of Mexican origin that is positioned as one of the largest in Latin America. During his professional career he has worked in projects all over South America, USA, some regions of Europe and Asia, and has worked as a consultant for Hotel projects together with his partners at BIEI Business Strategy & Development. He is currently a regular speaker at the Colombian Society of Architects events. Since 2013 he has been living in Colombia in charge of the Bogotá office and the South American projects. He is currently in charge of the development of urban planning, mixed-use, hotel, residential and office projects, among others, throughout the region.