Several members of our Carpathia team recently attended the design show NeoCon in Chicago. One of the feature panel discussions was Designing for the 50 Percent: Hospitality for the Savvy Traveling Woman, we were surprised to learn that over 50% of travelers are women, many of whom are solo business travelers. Taking this in to account, hotels are adjusting their brand standards and design strategies to meet the demands of these customers.

This Panel was led by Mari Balestrazzi, Vice President of Design from Hyatt Hotels, Cheryl Durst, CEO of IIDA and representatives from The Gettys Group, Tick Inc, and The SimplyBe Agency. Below we’d like to share a few of the exciting take-aways from their dialogue that you can implement when considering your next project.

All of the panelists found from their personal experience as well as customer feedback that women crave a deeper connection to the places they stay. As a result, hotels are focusing on experience-driven trends that incorporate a local flavor.

As Balestrazzi shared, Hyatt really begins their design by creating a “sense of space.” When you stay with Hyatt they want you to wake up and know if you are in Hong Kong or Seattle or Chicago. There was a lot of discussion around the Renaissance Chicago, a Marriott hotel, and it’s ability to make the city so integrated with their design. Multiple Panelists gave kudos to the Renaissance for capturing the essence of Chicago with their artwork and look forward to this growing trend finding its way to other properties.

When talking about how hotels have changed their brand standards to meet the needs of women travelers, Balestrazzi noted that having either a bench of a shelf in the shower for women to shave their legs is a requirement for all rooms across their brands as well as additional lighting, outlets, and vanity space in the bathroom. It’s these little details that make all the difference when you think about the comfort of your stay. She went on to say that Hyatt wants to create balance between a room being “aesthetically delightful but also including creature comforts.”

One of our favorite topics that the Panelists discussed was around the changes we’ve seen in hotel shared spaces like the lobby, business centers, and hospitality desks. All of the Panelists agree that making a better use of this space is an important design trends that can both meet the needs of customers and maximize the ROI for hotels.

A few of the exciting trends they’ve seen are getting rid of the standard check-in desk that takes up much of the lobby and using that space to bring in another dining option or more communal areas. With a move towards digital check-in and mobile keys it sounds like traditional guest registration desks are becoming a design element of the past.

A few of the other design trends we loved are using the hotel elements to integrate “instagramable moments” (follow us @TeamCarpathia), ditching the business center in favor of co-working tech lounges, creating a wellness focus by either upgrading the fitness center experience or replacing in-house fitness by partnering with off-site facilities like SoulCycle, pet-friendly hotels, and (our personal favorite) the elevated bar cart going door-to-door during happy hour!

Are you a traveling woman - What is your favorite new design trend? Are you a Hotel DesignerWhat changes have you incorporated to make women travelers more comfortable?

Learn more about Carpathia’s Hospitality Summit where we will discuss the above trends over cocktails and during sunset horseback rides in beautiful Puerto Rico, USA at or by calling 1.800.517.6399.