BODW 2021 Trend Report

Part 8: Hospitality with Purpose

How have the definitions of hospitality and luxury changed? What does an immersive experience mean today? Will sustainable food systems continue to gain ground?

CatchOn & Editorial Team·4 November, 2021
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Video courtesy of Bill Bensley

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Video courtesy of Neil Jacobs

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Video courtesy of Richard Ekkebus

Among the sectors most impacted by the pandemic, hospitality has experienced an unprecedented level of disruption that has made reinvention not only inevitable, but imperative. While the subject of sustainable hospitality may continue to challenge the industry, embracing nature, diverse cultures, human factors, and environmental initiatives have become vital design thrusts in the delivery of experiential services.


From curfews and social distancing measures to staff reductions and, in some cases, complete shutdowns, the hospitality industry, comprised of hotels and resorts, restaurants, and more all over the world, has had much to endure. Driving the need to reinvent hospitality businesses are new consumer needs and desires which have also evolved in the interest of personal health, safety, and peace of mind. As Deloitte’s The Future of Hospitality white paper also points out, consumers may be slow to return to their old habits.


The pandemic has also spawned new developments that are unfamiliar yet welcome. Touchless hospitality, as conflicting as it may sound, is thriving, making advancing digital services essential for the industry as expectations on the ideal guest journey continue to change.


And as in many other industries, sustainability has become a priority for hotel and restaurant businesses amid growing environmental awareness among their guests. It is no longer enough to discourage the use of single-use plastics – guests today have more sophisticated and educated expectations from properties to do tangible good by Mother Earth, hence the birth of new buzzwords such as regenerative travel, for example. A 2020 white paper by architect and interior designer Bill Bensley, Sensible Sustainable Solutions covers three core pillars: building hotels with purpose, thinking locally and sustainably, and building sensibly with regards to energy conservation through architecture.


Sustainable food systems are gaining ground in Asia and across the globe, with a number of leading chefs and restaurateurs eager to make their mark in this space. Three-Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park in New York City, a mainstay on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list for years, recently pivoted to a plant-based menu. In Asia, initiatives such as Zero Foodprint Asia have launched in the region “to create a ‘new normal’ by mobilising restaurants to directly support improvements in the food system” and help reverse climate change. As many places in the world kickstart their recovery in earnest, what will reimagining the guest experience for a post-Covid-19 world entail?


The key speaker line-up of this year’s Summit for the related topic includes:


  • Bill Bensley - Founder and Creative Director, BENSLEY Studio (Thailand)
  • Neil Jacobs - CEO, Six Senses Hotels Resorts & Spas (Singapore)
  • Peggy Chan -Executive Director, Zero Foodprint Asia (HK) | Principal Chef-Consultant, Grassroots Initiatives
  • Richard Ekkebus - Director of Culinary Operations and F&B, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental (HK)
  • Dr Sam Bucolo - Executive Chair, Australian Design Council (Australia)
  • William Drew - Director of Content, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants (UK)
  • Yenn Wong - CEO & Founder, JIA Group (HK)
  • and others


Stay tuned for BODW2021 SUMMIT. LET'S RESET @BODW2021!



Global Design Reset: A Primer of Business of Design Week (BODW) 2021