10 tips to inject hospitality design into your senior living community

Most senior living providers are tuned in to the growing influence of hospitality design as a trend reshaping the senior living industry—especially as we prepare for the onslaught of boomers looming on the horizon. Importantly, hospitality design—a sensibility learned from the global hotel industry—is rooted in a culture of service supported by design that often appears very expensive to achieve. But according to the principals at three: living architecture, a senior living design firm based in Dallas, much of hospitality design is about creativity—and simple fixes.

Gary Koerner and Rocky Berg, principals at three: living architecture, maintain that one can incorporate hospitality design features at any phase of a community’s life—from early planning through current status to future expansions. Some of these features revolve around restructuring the campus. Others involve redesigning a community’s personal service. Their critical takeaway: One can never afford a dull community.

With that in mind, here are Koerner’s and Berg’s top 10 tips. They all take some effort and investment but will pay off in transforming your culture from business as usual to an experience that makes every resident feel like an honored guest.

1. Bar/concierge services all in one

That friendly inviting face can do it all. She can serve you the best red wine in the house, arrange for your dry cleaning or make sure your mail is picked up for the week while you’re away. It’s the little things that separate good from great—and add up from end to end. 

2. Elegant room services: From food to exercise equipment

New levels of service and presentation for room service. Whatever you want, whenever you want it. From lamb chops to barbells, happy to bring it up to the room for you. We all love to be where we feel special. 

3. Out of sight services: The hidden services circulation path

Delivery systems that hide the hustle and bustle of the services being delivered, making them appears effortless, out of sight, out of mind.  Seamless serenity. 

4. Resort transportation: Carts instead of footsteps

Sites that are more resort like; have a sense of adventure, a path of wonder and beauty. You can walk the walk, or valet golf carts allow you to breeze to your destination. Something about a golf cart just says, “We’re having fun now.”

5. Connectivity:  It’s a small thing, but bandwidth is huge. Technology “nephew” onsite.

Connectivity, entertainment and education are streaming throughout our communities. Being able to accommodate the river of connectivity is a bigger and bigger consideration. Having a friendly tech savvy “nephew” who makes house calls also doesn’t hurt. Staying connected to loved ones means I never left “home.”

6. Comfortable for two or 30: Transformative rooms

Rooms that change during the course of the day, through lighting, acoustics and movable fixtures and can be personalized to encourage private interpersonal communication or extravagent meeting events. Ambient change stimulates brains. 

7. Living on both sides of the glass: Outdoor rooms

Sunshine is everything, especially when there is the relief of shade. A great view to the outside can be as rewarding as sitting around a fire with good friends.

8. But what about the children? Designs that attract the kids. Inclusivity.

Spaces that are programmatically thought through to attract residents’ children and grandchildren. It could be in the garden, wander paths, pool, theater areas or game spaces. Providing a venue for intergenerational contact—priceless.     

9. Living for the ages: Multi-generational living

Urban living solutions that locate active adult living opportunities in the heart of market retail and civic centers. Restaurants, shops and theaters are great catalysts. Providing transportation to such venues expands your “community.”

10. Food is king: Food concepting

Total food concepting from the beginning design brush strokes. The community design revolves around the various food venues. The total food concept from “presentation” to “calories” is integral to the conceptual design process.

Topics: Design , Executive Leadership , Facility management