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Why Now Is the Time for Resorts to Invest in Design

With Covid-19 shutting down a significant part of the global economy, one industry that’s been hit particularly hard is the travel and tourism industry. Spring tourism has essentially stopped, and it’s not likely the summer season will be able to make up for it.

While things might seem grim at the moment, we can be confident it will resume at some point. After all, people won’t want to be cooped up in their homes forever. Once tourism returns, though, the tourism industry is going to be even more competitive than it was prior to the pandemic. There will likely be a glut of tourists once travel bans have been lifted, and resorts will need to stand out and differentiate themselves in the marketplace in order to win customers. What’s more, tourists’ needs are likely going to change based on new social distancing rules that likely won’t go away even once people can move around more freely again.

And that’s where Pininfarina’s approach to design comes in. Both of these challenges need to be met with creativity, with a focus on developing fun, pleasant, reassuring and elegant experiences. Tourists will not only want to travel, but they’ll want a sense of freshness and renewal. And because most person to person interactions will need to be done at a distance, digital experiences—both online and at the resort itself—need to be seamless and adaptable to a visitor’s age, nationality, and culture. Most importantly, these experiences need to develop an emotional connection between the visitor and the brand.

Why is it worth investing in, especially during a time of economic uncertainty?

Quite simply: Design is the only discipline that can create these experiences. Using observation and behavior study, our designers seek to understand how people perceive and interact with spaces, objects, and services, all with the goal of building something unique, attractive, reassuring, and comfortable. We strive to use design to give guests a feeling of “dolce vita,” or the good life, so valued in Italian culture.

This leads us to wonder what types of resort experiences might come out of a design-lead initiative. Well, for one, spaces will need to be designed to be both welcoming while respecting social distance needs. That calls for clean, but not cold spaces, incorporating real preventative measures in an aesthetically pleasing manner, and providing automated or “touchless” interfaces for everything such as controlling light switches, running a bath, ordering room service, organizing activities, and more. This presupposes widespread broadband connectivity, which also opens the door to using personal data to curate each individual guest’s experience (with their consent, of course).

What’s more, private open air spaces will likely be highly valued, given the length and severity confinement has presented. A new appreciation for nature is likely, given the dramatic environmental changes we’ve seen already in just a few short months since the pandemic has forced people to stay indoors. Rooms and common areas alike will need to be reworked to both attract and accommodate guests, while assuring them that it is sanitary. Typical resort services that provide things like fresh towels, food, or even entertainment will need to be redesigned to limit the exposure to numerous people in the delivery process, such as in-room hydroponic organic food devices.

But design can not only solve problems about spaces; it can also solve issues related to social interactions.

That means more video-enabled communications and interactions, regulation of access to areas using bracelets or other near-field communications technologies, reducing staff circulation in spaces, and more.

To be sure, life will likely never return to how it was before the pandemic. But by employing the methodologies of design, resorts can develop the exact types of experiences guests will flock to—once they can leave their homes.


If you’re interested in exploring how designers can design your resort for the post-confinement era, contact us.

We’d love to discuss how our team can help your business bridge the gap from today into the future.


David Carvalho – SVP Experience Design & Industrial Design

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