Can Hospitality-Inspired Design Drive Students Back to Campus?

It's been over a year of remote learning and many students aren't ready for it to end. When health concerns subside, colleges that want their students to happily return will need to be intentionally designed in ways that make coming back more appealing than taking online classes. By taking some principles and inspiration from the hospitality industry, this lofty goal becomes obtainable. Here are some ways to purposefully design a Higher Ed campus so that students will be thrilled to come back.

Loosen Up!

Many colleges could benefit from loosening up a little bit. Consider what it would look like to make learning environments a bit more casual than they used to be. While you're at it, you might also look at ways of incorporating spaces that better reflect the personality of your school. Learning should be fun, inviting, and give room for new ideas. Need some inspiration? Take a look at recent developments in the hotel sector. Lobbies are becoming places for entertainment and immersion – not a means to an end. In some cases, coffee bars are replacing the transactional front desks entirely. The result? People actually want to spend their time there!

Encouraging Connections

Living room style communal spaces aren't just giving students a place to chill, they're giving them something they can't get at home: unexpected human interactions. They also have the potential to serve as alternative workspaces where students can work on a project or collaborate with others.

Make Learning Spaces Unique and Dynamic

Just as boutique hotels are reflective of the cultural fabric of the places in which they are located, the vibe of a hospitality-inspired design should embody the unique nuances of your school culture, the surrounding city context as well as the students themselves. By curating more holistic environments that bring together space planning, architecture, lighting, acoustics, materials, texture and even objects, the design of your school can feel like a favorite restaurant or hotel that you want to return to again and again!

Make Relaxation Accessible

Learning can be stressful – the learning environment shouldn't add to it. A college inspired by hospitality should have areas to take a load off and relax for a bit. Just as a great restaurant will create emotional responses, so too can workspaces. You can control volume, color, texture, lighting and more to influence the kind of energy and dynamics of an ideal learning environment. With a solid hospitality-inspired design strategy in place, colleges can become a highly desirable place to learn! What are your thoughts? How would you emulate the principles of hospitality in a higher education setting?

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