Biophilic Design in Hospitality


Biophilic Design in Hospitality

Learn more about our biophilic design work and services by emailing us at [email protected] and reading our reports, 14 Patterns of Biophilic Design and The Economics of Biophilia. Follow the conversation on twitter: @TerrapinBG | #14Patterns.

Terrapin has collaborated with Interface on a series of preliminary studies to bring clarity to biophilic design trends in hospitality, to assess the impact of biophilic design elements, and to formulate an approach for further testing. This preliminary research shows that:

  • Rooms with a view to water are priced on average 12%-16% higher than rooms with without a view.
  • In biophilic hotel lobbies, 36% of guests were observed spending time in the space, as compared to 25% of guests in conventional hotel lobbies.
  • Positive guest reviews suggest that hotels create a unique and memorable experience through biophilic design and decor.

However, the room is just one part of the guest experience. We wanted to explore how biophilic design may be serving as a tool for enhancing the guest experience. To understand the types of biophilic experiences hotels are offering, we conducted onsite surveys in 15 properties on four continents to review biophilic elements across the hotels’ amenities. In addition to the onsite surveys, we conducted a global snapshot survey of the biophilic qualities in hotel and resort amenities. This global snapshot survey included an additional 24 hotels around the world.

In addition to hotel lobbies, the surveys also looked at hotel restaurants, bars, guest rooms, spas, and other amenities to understand which biophilic qualities contributed to the identity of a space and how those qualities might uniquely impact the guest experience and behavior.

We also observed user trends at three different times during the day in the three biophilic and three conventional lobbies in Midtown Manhattan. The language used to describe these same six hotels on their websites was compared to the ten most recent TripAdvisor reviews to understand if the guest remarked on the same aspects of the hotel as their websites advertised.

Where we’re headed

The results of these studies suggest that biophilic design can play an important role in the guest experience. We are excited about the next phase of our research, which will be in collaboration with the GSAPP Cloud Lab at Columbia University to further understand the impacts of biophilia on the guest experience.

If you’re interested supporting our research, please see the resources below:

Rebecca is the Director of Operations at Terrapin and has a background in natural resource policy and management. She is interested in how policy helps shape our relationship to nature, and how we can work with and learn from natural systems to address human needs.