With a constant push among hotel operators to makeover their properties in order to stay competitive, hospitality managers should take a good look at the hotel flooring materials they are using.
Hotels withstand a great deal of abuse under high heeled shoes, wheeled luggage, carts and the set-up and tear-down of special events like weddings and business conferences. Because of this hotels require different flooring for different areas. Despite the type of hotel flooring material used, it all must meet the same criterion: it must perform, be slip-resistant and be able to hold up for long periods of time.
As budgets begin to open up for renovation and rebranding, hotel chains understand the value – and perception – flooring brings. IHG Hotel Group’s Hotel Indigo installed hardwood flooring in the lobby and all its guest rooms. Hilton’s Homewood Suites did a brand improvement and determined that the arrival experience should include hard surface material rather than broadloom, as it had previously. Even lower-end hotels are transforming the guest experience. Budget hotel chain Motel 6 did a major makeover, giving its interior a touch of modern minimalism and an air of modest luxury. Along with clever storage solutions, a sense of openness and an integrated entertainment, lighting and closet unit, old carpet went out and LVT and faux wood came in.
Flooring options are endless and hoteliers are realizing the value of hard surfaces in aesthetics, health and ease of maintenance. Though carpet still dominates, many hotels worldwide are incorporating ceramic and porcelain tile in hotel lobbies and in guest room bathrooms, as well as in outdoor common areas. Interior designers are realizing that they can bring tile into a room’s furnishings. Inkjet technology on tile has made it possible to duplicate the detailed look of wallpaper. And NH Hotels in Europe, for example, is experimenting with headboards and platform beds designed with tile.
Vinyl and linoleum are also popular choices in the hospitality sector for their durability and ease of maintenance. Vinyl flooring installation is also being used in extended stay hotels that have kitchens, and is more prominent in the economy to mid-scale market. This flooring is long-lasting, up to 15 years, and is proven to hold up in tough high-foot environments. Today hoteliers can choose various tile sizes, patterns and colors. Vinyl and linoleum have come a long way and the reproduction of natural flooring materials enables executives to create environments where guests will want to spend time and money. Plus, these hotel flooring materials are easy to clean, stain resistant and also serve both the purposes of practicality and aesthetics.
Bamboo flooring – available as engineered plans and solid bamboo planks – is a newer flooring material being used in hospitality. Bamboo is attractive, affordable, durable, available in dozens of colors, and it’s grown and harvested in an environmentally responsible manner. Bamboo looks like wood, smells like wood, feels like wood and cuts like wood, but it’s grass.
Another sustainable flooring material finding its way into hotels is cork flooring. Used for more than a thousand years, natural cork comes from the bark of cork trees, found mainly in southern Europe and northern Africa. Cork’s shock-absorbent structure means comfort underfoot. It also means that dropped glassware or dishware has less chance of shattering. Plus, its non-slip, even when wet, and has amazing acoustic-insulating qualities. Cork flooring adds a unique texture and look to a room. And thanks to new factory finishes, cork is far more durable than it was just a few decades prior and is available in a variety of colors.
Yet with the push to modernize, carpet remains the leading flooring material in the hotel sector. Today’s trend is less pattern, more texture and pops of color. Designer Angela Denney of FRCH Design Worldwide says palettes are moving toward neutral tones, with bright accent colors and just one key pattern. “Patterns tend to be large-scale and often geometric in urban areas and organic in resort areas,” she explains. Denney also sees a movement away from traditional patterned Axminster carpets in hospitality settings. Instead, there’s a new “focus on asymmetrical patterns, that start strong at one end of a corridor and fade at the other,” she says. “Owners are now more open to carpet tiles in hospitality settings because of the diversity of options now, too.”
Flooring should be considered an integral part of the hotel brand or image. The first – and most important – impression is created in the lobby. That impression should continue through to the elevator lobby, guest room corridors, guest rooms, meeting rooms and other common areas inside the property.