June 18, 2019

The perfect hotel experience — it’s all part of the journey.

In Australia, domestic travel is on the rise. A new generation of luxury travellers favour spending on experiences over assets and this is fuelling the travel market. As the booming AirBnB business offers less expensive but potentially isolating accommodation options, guests are turning to hotels with the expectation of a new kind of experience designed around not just comfort but community.

In response to this hoteliers are creating community around a variety of social spaces Hoteliers are thoughtfully designing the entire customer journey to capture the hearts of discerning travellers; from first contact when shopping around, to the hotel experience, to sharing with friends via word of mouth and social.

How do hoteliers create an easy and enjoyable experience for the entire customer journey? They work on all of the six phases of the hotel customer journey — Research & Planning, Shopping, Booking, Pre-Travel, The Stay, PostStay.

Digital Experience —the start and the end of the journey.

We know the first half of a guest’s experience with your hotel from research & planning, shopping and booking — will be online. 

From review sites, to social media and their website, hoteliers ensure these critical touchpoints are easy and enjoyable. Added to this we know travel is very much a part of one’s own personal “brand” — how will your hotel be shared socially by your guest? Have you made it easy for them to share positive and “instagrammable” moments in your hotel?

Hotel Stay — Comfort, Community and Certainty

From the moment a guest walks through your doors, the experience of your hotel’s culture and vision will be apparent. This includes thoughtfully engaging all the senses, through lighting, acoustics, scent, colour, and customer flow. 

Hotels are increasingly answering the very human need of belonging through social spaces, from the entry experience, to restaurants, cafes and bars, reading rooms, spas, gyms and of course, rooms. Covering the whole guest journey. Service design, which includes journey mapping to deliver a consistent brand experience, is also critical to success.

“... Customers of hotels that get the journey right may be 61 percent more willing to recommend than customers of hotels that merely focus on touchpoints.”

* McKinsey Insights Customer experience: New capabilities, new audiences, new opportunities. Number 2, June 2017

Unique experience in every room.

I recently worked on a very unique hotel project. The Collectionist Hotel, in Camperdown in Sydney, was the brain child of architect Andrew Cliffe from the World is Round in collaboration with up and coming Interior Design firm Amber Road. By assigning the design and unique artwork to several well-known Sydney artists, each room achieved a personality of its own. Artists included myself, Matt Dampney, Dion Horstmans, Kane Skennar, Brooklyn Whelen, Rose Ashton, Brett Chan, Daimon Downey, Nick Hernandez and Dave Homer.

Source: https://www.yellowtrace.com.au/collectionist-hotel-sydney/

Over the coming months, I will be looking into these aspects of hospitality design through a series of articles. I am always looking to connect with others in the hospitality community, so please don’t hesitate to shoot me a message with your thoughts.

Kirsty Ludbrook

May 31, 2019

Achieving Creative Flow — Create a strong strategic foundation first.


We all understand the concept of creative flow — when your brain is able to create the discretionary links between disparate ideas. It feels like magic when it happens. And it is the one skill that humans will have over artificial intelligence for a long time yet. 

But how can a designer get into a state of creative flow? The answer is simple — establish a strong foundation through sound brand strategy before even starting the creative process.

A simple solution it may be, but brand strategy takes a lot of grit and hard work, from market research, brand workshops, collaborative thinking and re-iterations.

In our brand workshops, we work with clients to establish the four pillars of the brand — purpose, positioning, personality and promise. We investigate the core values of the company, the business strategic aims, the market and competition. We look for ways to create a new category of which the brand can become the leader. We establish the brand's personality that customers will interact with.

And that's when the design process begins. Armed with a complete and comprehensive understanding of what the brand needs to communicate, that blissful period of creative flow can be embraced, ultimately producing the most original and engaging results. 

Kirsty Ludbrook & Co.
383 George St Sydney 2000