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Comment: Is a big presence on Instagram the barometer of a successful hotel?

Comment: Is a big presence on Instagram the barometer of a successful hotel?

It is a polarising topic that raises important questions about the user experience in hotels and drives home the fact that designing for Instagram might prove be a myopic strategy

 Shweta Parida   Editor, Commercial Interior Design
ITP Images
Shweta Parida Editor, Commercial Interior Design

What makes for a successful hotel these days? Apart from the financial bottom line, apparently, it’s a property’s presence on social media channels or the number of followers and hashtags it has garnered, primarily on Instagram.

Hotel design is being driven by guest preferences with an emphasis on creating unforgettable experiences through spatial planning, branding and visual elements. This experiential design, in turn, relies on social media platforms to propagate a hotel’s branding far and wide. An image taken solely for the purpose of showcasing on social media only reflects the tangible virtues of the space. What about the intangible aspects such as what kind of emotions does it trigger in a person? Some would argue that the visual association provides the cues for memory triggers. If it is not worth capturing, it is not worth remembering.

On Instagram alone, there are about 30 million hashtags devoted to various aspects of hotel living. Needless to say, most are about a specific element of design within the featured properties. But in addition to the visual allure, what makes a hotel outstanding? For me, it is the values the property represents, top-class service (especially in a luxury hotel), and most importantly, the little thoughtful details, which differentiate it from others. It could be something as small as making the functioning of the guestroom intuitive — I’m yet to come across a hotel where I didn’t struggle to find the right switch to turn off the gazillion pointless lights in the guest suite.

Above and beyond all this, for a hotel to be successful, it has to work for its owners and employees. No one captures the back of house areas of a hotel on their Instagram feed, but it’s worth pointing out that well-designed workplace conditions lead to happy employees, which in turn increases guest satisfaction and ultimately, the yield per room. 

All being said, the hotel sector in the region continues to remain buoyant, with new properties springing up on the scene ever so often. Now only if Instagram would let you capture the real experience without any filters.

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