Story at a glance:

  • Water and energy conservation, eco-friendly products, and wellness design are in demand across new construction and renovation projects.
  • Sustainable hotel design includes installing energy-efficient systems and reusing water.
  • The QuickDrain complete shower solution is another eco-friendly option that’s popular in hotel renovations.

Many hotel owners and ownership groups are looking for ways to attract new travelers and increase profitability. It comes as no surprise that guests continue to value authentic and high-quality experiences during their stay.

Creating an environment guests will want to return to requires a deep understanding of their behavior and the motivational factors behind it. Input from today’s new travelers, namely Millennials and Gen Z, has helped owners understand what guests value most.

That said, water and energy conservation, eco-friendly products, and wellness design are among some of the most popular trends we’re seeing in new construction and renovation projects.

Let’s take a closer look at five hospitality construction trends and how hotels are incorporating them.

1. Continued Sustainability


Photo courtesy of Oatey Co.

A big trend that carried over from 2022 is continuing to apply sustainable practices to hotel properties—simpler living and trying to leave a smaller footprint.

Hotels are turning their facilities into more eco-friendly environments by reusing water, installing energy-efficient systems, and following green building guidelines. Hotel owners are integrating what younger generations value at home throughout their properties. Today you will find products like recyclable toilet paper, reusable paper products, and 100% organic cotton towels in bathrooms.

This green trend goes beyond toiletries and is affecting what building materials are considered before construction begins. Sustainable building materials include bamboo flooring, reclaimed wood, porcelain, and PET (polyethylene terephthalate). These materials can last a long time.

The QuickDrain complete shower solution is another eco-friendly option that’s becoming more prevalent in hotel renovations. This is especially so when replacing a large number of old tubs with modern, walk-in showers.

To date, more than 20 million plastic bottles have been repurposed by QuickDrain into thousands of pre-sloped and tile-ready shower pan systems. Made of extruded rigid PET plastic foam, the lightweight and shatterproof shower pans and panels are constructed from 100% post-consumer plastic water bottles.

Repurposing existing buildings is also a growing sustainable practice. Property owners remodel facilities like factories or warehouses to preserve the building’s history while giving it a fresh design that offers a unique experience. Builders use materials from the existing structures and incorporate them in the creation of the rooms or showcased in the lobby, sparing them from a landfill.

2. Finish Matching


Photo courtesy of Oatey Co.

Matching hardware finishes throughout the bathroom is becoming more of a requested design. Designers are looking to match everything in the bathroom—including shower trim, drains, faucets, curtain rods, and lighting fixtures.

When choosing plumbing products we recommend selecting a drain system with various finish options that can offer more design versatility for installers. For example, QuickDrain’s expanded line of drain covers and finishes complements all major design trends, including mid-century modern, industrial, contemporary, and modern farmhouse—making them an ideal choice for hospitality showers.

Colors range from striking metallics to bold black finishes and sleek silhouettes. Many hotels are keeping it simple with polished or satin chrome for compatibility or choosing the more sleek matte black finish for the entire bathroom.

3. Installation of Efficient Products

Tub-to-shower conversions continue to be a standard in the hospitality industry. As a matter of fact, hotels can’t get rid of old bathtubs fast enough. Hotel bathrooms are getting more spacious, and shower footprints are increasing. Not to mention it is more hygienic and safer.

Contractors need a cost-effective, efficient, customizable shower solution to convert these tubs. One solution is the QuickDrain tub-to-shower conversion kit. Contractors can convert a hotel floor’s worth of tubs in one day instead of two or three because of the on-site customization and ease of use.

In a recent renovation project, general contractor John Upshaw of Turner Construction used QuickDrain’s ShowerLine linear drain to streamline 404 tub-to-shower conversions at the Four Seasons Hotel in Houston. “The flexibility of the PET pan was a big advantage, especially given the irregularities we run into after removing the tubs,” Upshaw says.

The adaptable pre-sloped PET shower pans helped convert old cast iron tubs to modern walk-in showers, which reduced installation time and labor costs for the company.

We are also seeing benches going back into the showers. Benches provide a space for people to prop their feet on or sit while showering. They are not especially large either since space is at a premium. For example, the Marriott Memphis East in Memphis recently installed QuickDrain’s customizable benches that were about 9 inches wide by 14 inches tall.

The hospitality industry is still prioritizing universal bathroom design to provide the best experience for hotel guests, maximizing accessibility for visitors with disabilities as well as for the aging population. Curbless showers continue to be featured in rooms, as they offer a safe and accessible option for these guests.

4. Prioritizing Wellness and Self-Care


Photo courtesy of Oatey Co.

Certain features and design styles are becoming more prevalent to foster a sense of comfort and to help hotel guests manage stress. This trend coincides with the reality that travelers are becoming more health-conscious.

Hotels are doing more to offer guests seeking wellness amenities, whether for mind or body, that will enable them to continue their health journey while traveling. For example, Equinox, a luxury fitness club in major cities, has opened its own hospitality line of hotels in New York. These facilities feature weight rooms, treadmills, and bikes in the hotel rooms.

Hilton has also joined the fitness trend and rolled out an in-room wellness concept called “Five Feet to Fitness,” where they turned their guest rooms into gyms. Each room is equipped with an exercise bike, medicine balls, light-weight dumbbells, bands, TRX ropes, yoga blocks, and other supplies.

These hotels are innovating their efforts to modernize the hospitality fitness experience and make it more inclusive for all by redeveloping their fitness centers and offering a new fitness concept to guests. Providing guests the freedom of choice and ability to stick to the same routine they have at home could result in increased customer satisfaction.

5. Bringing the Outdoors In


Photo courtesy of Oatey Co.

Many hotels are starting to differentiate themselves by doing something unique with how they design their properties. Travelers seek an experiential stay, so anything a hotel can add to provide a novelty factor will give them an advantage.

One way is by incorporating the community surroundings into the property. For example, the Hampton Inn is adding bars to its hotels, which are becoming the focal points of some neighborhoods.

Hotels are also starting to embody outdoor living in the layout and design of their spaces, finding ways their guests can experience the outdoors within their own rooms. They do this by using a more natural wood color, prioritizing natural lighting, and placing greenery throughout the space.

Learn more about Oatey Co.


gb&dPRO members are recognized experts in their fields and contribute opinion columns as one of their member benefits. The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and may not reflect the view of gb&d. We are committed to a diversity of voices advocating for high-performing, sustainable built environment practices. We’d like to hear what you think about this article or any of our other coverage. Send us an email at [email protected].