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As the “Flight to Quality” continues, how can the rest of real estate learn from hospitality’s expertise?

When reading Hospitality Design’s recent coverage of the opening of Coterie Hudson Yards, I noted a tag at the bottom of the article – “Hybrid Hospitality.”

These two words solved a problem I’d been struggling with for a while now – what should we call for real estate’s general shift towards hospitality-influenced design? (We’d previously settled on the cumbersome “The Hospitality-ization of Real Estate,” which I’m glad we’ll be putting to bed.)

I’ve noticed when working across property sectors that there can be huge differences in the amount of work that goes into audience research. It shouldn’t be too controversial to say that the hospitality industry does this best – not only do they know the taste and style of their guests, but they know the brand touchpoints that make that specific audience their guests. Every detail is analyzed to make sure that their experience isn’t only fantastic, but that it is fantastic in a way that’s tailored to them.

As the office sector has recognized that the most successful projects are the ones that draw people in through interest and engagement rather than necessity or the enforcement of an employers’ rules, hospitality has led the way. Guests are drawn to hotels, restaurants, clubs and leisure spaces through the promise of experience – not only the big, transformative “Wow moments” (although those never hurt), but also the small points of consideration that feel specifically tailored for them.

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At MAWD’s Atrium Campus project in Denver, for example, we elevated the bike storage room beyond the typical by adding a custom designed area for placing one’s gear, fixing a flat tire, or having a chat with fellow cyclists. The extra element was neither high budget nor difficult to execute, and knowing Denver’s health-conscious population, it was an easy way to level up what could have been a bland space.

The shift isn’t only within the office sector. Residential real estate is also taking a page from the hospitality playbook – and why not? Hybrid Hospitality is a natural follow on from Hybrid Lifestyles, in which live, move, work and play overlap, regardless of space. At Coterie Cathedral Hill (winner of Interior Design’s Best of Year award last year for senior living project) the 25,000 sq. ft. of amenities features multiple food and beverage options, a private dining room, a movie theater, library, activity room, fitness space and pool deck, inclusive of a rooftop dog run.

Working across sectors and across the globe, MAWD have become experts in Hybrid Hospitality, guiding clients on which elements will work best for their projects based on the location, audience and narrative. Our EXCD process, which is based on research rather than aesthetics, supports our clients’ sales and marketing teams by honing in on those key elements and using excellent design to execute them within our clients’ budgets. After all, a little extra consideration up front doesn’t have to be expensive and can go a long way towards the execution of a successful project!