Weekly Editorial

Hospitality Trends - Welcome to the Club

Written By Rob Kirkbride, Editor-in-chief, OI Publications • May 6, 2024

The Insider_Weekly_editorial_5.6.24

If the hospitality industry is any indication, your office is going to get a lot more elegant and refined in the coming years. I spent the better part of last week attending the HD Expo + Conference in Las Vegas, one of the premiere events for the hospitality industry.

It was the first time I’ve attended an HD Expo in about 10 years (I’m not a fan of Las Vegas, to say the least) and I was seriously impressed by the scale of the expo and conference and quality and number of attendees. If you haven’t attended for a while, I highly recommend you put it on your schedule for next year.

So if you don’t work in the hospitality sector, why should you care about what’s going on at HD Expo? Because in the last few years, trends in hospitality have moved into the office. And what you see at HD Expo is what you will see in offices in the future.

If the trends on display at HD Expo are any indication, workers are going to be quite happy with their future office surroundings. In a nutshell, here’s what I learned at HD Expo: work and leisure are moving outdoors, biophilia (bringing the outdoors in) is growing in importance, and the finishes, fabrics and floor coverings are becoming more rich and elegant.

That last trend might be slightly skewed by the fact that the show was in Las Vegas with its opulent and over-the-top décor, but it was apparent that companies were showing off finishes that felt rich. Think velvety fabrics and drapes, deeply hued wallpaper with traditional prints and intricate marble tile.

As offices become more casual, places where people come to connect and not just work, they are becoming, well, more hospitable. Post-pandemic workplaces definitely have a hospitality vibe. Offices are less playful than they were pre-pandemic, but they feel more comfortable and inviting. If these trends from hospitality continue to move into the workplace, we are going to see more products that give offices a club-like feel.

Offices really are becoming more like clubs. Of course, I’m talking more country club or Victorian gentleman’s club than nightclub, just to be clear. Isn’t that what an office has always been? A “club” for employees to come in and work? Granted, some of the “clubs” were so badly designed you’d never want to join.

But I see a resurgence in club-like work settings; a place where workers can come together to collaborate, connect and socialize. Socialization is a big part of office culture that we all need to remember. Losing the social aspect of the office is a huge loss post-pandemic, so companies need to create these club settings to help rebuild company culture.

Regardless of if we will ever sit on velvet task chairs, hospitality is coming to the office and it deserves your attention. I’m excited to watch where this goes. See you at the club!

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