The transformation generation of the new roaring twenties – Where do hotels go from here?

This is the year of ‘Future Thinking and resetting’ at Harrison, and our recent planning and brainstorming session was all about that. It was a truly dynamic session with contributions from the global team in Melbourne, London, Dallas and Dubai.

We’re all mindful that the industry we work in is under pressure like we’ve never seen before, but hotels are still under construction, entrepreneurs are still designing and building, chains are still growing, but in the shadows, we experience record numbers of lifetime closures, sales declines and job losses which we cannot get away from.

But what of the hotel assets that have had a year of hell from lockdown after lockdown, how can they continue to survive? …… We have a clear view that they have to.


The Future of the Hotel.

We talked about the role that large hotels will play in owner portfolios, hypothesising whether there was still a place for them in cities where office worker behaviour has transformed and what once might have been unthinkable is now becoming acceptable ‘working from home’ and the role of Zoom becoming so common place it’s hard to see a return to the social and working habits of the noughties.

So, what of these assets?

Can whole floors be transformed from single night stays to permanent residences? Can staid all day dining becoming destination dining? Perhaps a whole floor transformed to a gaming and sports themed destination with a global brand perhaps, such as Goose Island Craft Beer Bar, an AB InBev concept?

Meeting rooms transform to technological spaces that replace the traditional meeting room, to a Boardroom by the hour or day and other cavernous space transformed to destination social meeting and workspaces relieving the boredom of home working.  Why couldn’t additional space be used to home retail services and shops aligned to the needs of the new user, guest, resident, visitor, worker and owner?

Can a 600-bed hotel become a 350-bed hotel and multi-purpose asset that relies on multiple income, multiple destination purpose driven rather than the traditional dual income streams they currently rely?

These assets have to sweat and sweat differently. Imagine hotel revenue directors being complemented (even replaced) by single building asset managers looking after leasing etc., not just maximising the revenues of single night stays.

And then we went on, how do we make these spaces even more dynamic, future thinking and pace setting, like fashion statements but more physical and permanent. Many owners crave trophy assets, be they the hotel brand or restaurants and bars within, but that list is a relatively short one and as we transform how do we lift stunning indulgent design and make it equally captivating, atmospheric and command crave?



Hospitality Trends & Ideas to Look Out for in 2021

Our fashion analogy is that it’s a bit like taking couture fashion off the catwalk and into the mainstream, still generating awesome brand awareness but affordably in spaces that drive essential footfall from the residents but also the surrounding community as a new destination, but also a space that can quickly evolve, maintain and drive footfall.

Dining, drinking, social and meetings spaces that used to last several years or longer won’t now as innovators and entrepreneurs teach us how to create dynamic spaces so brilliantly and affordably. The consumers’ emotional needs crave value; atmosphere, comfort and the trend are now a given expectation.

We’re looking forward to seeing how hotels evolve in the transformation generation of today’s roaring twenties.

Futuristic thinking is demanded to make sure that guests still get their jaw dropping experience, but owners too can sleep better at night knowing their assets are sweating while they’re sleeping, whatever the time of day it is.  And that is what the design, branding and strategy team at Harrison are focusing this year with their theme of ‘Future Thinking’ as ‘Global Brand Transfer’ experts.


Hospitality Consulting at Harrison

The team at Harrison have proven their ability to take brands and successfully ‘glocalise’ them from home brand to a global brand particularly in the franchise sector with brands such as Hard Rock Café, Pizza Hut, Wynham Hotels and Resorts, Hilton, Slim Chickens and TGI Fridays.

The Harrison Global Brand Transfer program now offers clients a full end-to-end service from design, branding, and franchise consulting services.
Offering clients

Brand Development on behalf of the Franchisor

Building design brand books for franchisees to deliver consistent global brand guidelines.

Brand Delivery on behalf of the franchisee.

Taking the brand books and providing detailed drawings for local contractors to build and deliver.

Strategic market entry guidance to both franchisor and franchisee with expert guidance and consultancy to ensure a successful development plan roll out

Guidance and advice for new brands going to market with franchising aspiration

Working with operators to build a robust franchise model.

Guidance and Advice for established brands with a franchise strategy.

We have over the years in fact created a Harrison ‘franchise ecosystem’

For further information or a chat about your franchise plans then please contact us on or via our websites contact us page.

It’s not just about plonking a logo on a cup!

Surely, it’s more than just plonking a logo on a cup?

Is your brand ready to step up?

Does your brand identity look or feel dated?

Has your brand message changed?

Change is happening at an accelerated pace …

Phil Seddon, Head of Brand and Graphics, recently presented his thoughts on the changing behaviours and lifestyle of tomorrow’s consumers and what will influence which brands they decide to develop a long term relationship with. To review his slides follow this link


Phil focused on the following areas –

• Doing the right thing
• It’s more than plonking a logo on a cup!
• It’s all about me, me, me
• Get (hyper) local.

His summary is;

— Now is the time to do the leg work and get your house in order.
— A strong clear strategic plan needs to underpins all this.
— It’s time to re-evaluate your purpose and impact.
— What story do you want guests to tell about your brand?

Why not contact us for a no obligation review.

Hotels – Redefined and Redesigned for Tomorrow’s Customers.

How do you create new revenue generating opportunities during a pandemic?

How do you repurpose social spaces in a socially distanced world?

How do you embrace Ethical design and sustainability?

Wednesday 24th November 2020 at 3pm – 4pm (BST).

Link to join our event.

New technology, increased pent up consumer demand and the current pandemic are already playing an important
role in reshaping, not only the physical and virtual spaces of hotels but also providing vital solutions such as contactless transactions.

There are also deeper changes in consumer behaviour and lifestyle and now is the time to review and develop your long term strategic growth plan.

As part of our on-going series of short future thinking sessions, titled ‘Looking to the Future’ we will be joined by Robert Gough, Owner of Gough Hotels, a family run business to discuss his thoughts on managing a business during these uncertain times.

He will be joined by Dean Concannon, Design Director, Jake Griffith and Nathan Stevenson and Ali Powell from Commercial Accelerator, to present their ideas and recommendations to help us reboot the hotel sector.

Contact me on

It’s all about Me Me Me – What has the pandemic taught us about the customer experience?

What has the pandemic taught us about the customer experience?

The challenge for all brands is to find ways of connecting with customers that provide value, substance, significance, meaning and usefulness beyond their current product and service definition and those offered competitively. This requires deep understanding of people’s lives. It means being smarter at developing real relationships. It also must be a dynamic process in keeping up with changes in ever changing clients wants and needs.

One of the real keys to long term brand success is investing so clients, trust us, value us, keep coming back to us, are willing to pay a premium for us, and choose to take us into their lives.

At a recent webinar Phil Seddon presented his thoughts on what he believes will help differentiate your brand.

Click on this link 

Rethinking Hospitality and Leisure for Tomorrow’s Customers. A Free Workshop.

Will Covid-19 provide unique opportunities for Food and Beverage and redefine Hospitality? 

Having spoken to a number of sector CEO’s recently we think now is a good time to carve out some headspace for you and your business designed to reflect and ask the question … why you are doing what you do and if you’re ready to adapt to changes post Covid-19? 

Join us for a free Harrison Workshop/Webinar.  We have set aside two alternative dates and times for our webinar, which are 23rd or 29th September 2020 at 2pm (BST). 

During the workshop, Phil Seddon, Head of Branding and Graphics, Dean Concannon, Design Director and Richard Samarasinghe, Head of Brand and Business Development will discussing their thoughts on the future role of food and drink experiences, drawing on both macro consumer trends and themes accelerated by Covid-19.  We will also explore how theses changes in society are blending with new eating habits to form  a radically different picture for tomorrows customer and the role that eating experiences will play in our lives. 

For more information please contact or follow the link to our registration form


Are hospitality concepts, design and interiors changing as a result of COVID-19?

COVID-19 is changing the design & interior of Hospitality

01-Nathan Social Media Post

Nathan Stevenson, a Senior Interior Designer at Harrison has recently outlined his thoughts about how he believes hospitality businesses will change post-COVID-19 and we’d like to share his thoughts.

“Hospitality has already changed dramatically because of COVID, brands have had to think creatively and pivot their business models to respond to the new needs of customers whilst developing multiple revenue streams to safeguard against changing conditions.

I think this has been an eye-opener for the industry, with increasing revenue from retail products, online and delivery will become the norm.

A key point will be to make physical space work harder, with smaller footprints doing more, offering Grab n Go capabilities, smaller dining areas, Click and Collect and take away via a delivery platform.
However, this new breed of sites will need to be carefully planned (rather than retrofitted) to accommodate the multifunction uses and minimise staff levels to reduce costs.

I can see businesses changing their site strategy by opening more smaller sites over a larger geographical area to cater for increased suburban trade and delivery coverage, this was already evolving but COVID accelerate this shift.

Nathan suggests that value and simplicity will increasingly be more important for brands and customers, whether that’s the design of physical spaces or food offer. Popular brands such as Flat Iron and MOD Pizza are two recent examples.

Nathan believes we will need to be more creative to achieve more with less. So, simpler design with cleaver detailing and working with the existing features and finishes of sites.

Technology will also be more important, Wetherspoons have led the way by introducing a table ordering via an app designed to lower staff costs pre-COVID. Now ordering prior to arrival is commonplace, helping decrease dwell time but increasing customer volumes.

I think for a long time there has been to many barriers to entry for entrepreneurs to enter the hospitality sector due to the prohibitive start-up costs, high rents, high levels of competition for prime sites and large well-established brands with strong covenants.

I think one of the fallouts from COVID has been to level the playing field to a certain extent with new brands coming into the market not having the burden of financial losses from COVID and being able to negotiate more realistic rents with landlords as well as potentially being able to take on units which are already fitted out with commercial kitchens. Also, the Front of House can be changed to accommodate a new brand at a relatively small cost. David Page, Fulham Shore said recently that this was a strategy that Franco Manca would be pursuing going forward. This creates huge (well needed in my opinion) opportunities for new brands/entrepreneurs to revitalise, what has been a pretty stale market for quite some time.

Finally, an increased focus and shift to online channels will also allow entrepreneurs to build strong brands virtually, allowing them to test/refine their offer before committing to opening physical sites. We are currently working with a new client, Gallio Pizza ( who have launched the concept via a dark kitchen in SE London to test and refine their Mediterranean menu.