Did you know that improving your guest’s anticipation to their forthcoming holiday is proven to increase their happiness levels?
So how can you make simple changes which will increase these levels of anticipation in advance of a stay?
ACT Studios interior designer, Nicola Brook, investigates.
Although holidays ‘do make people happy’, a study by Jeroen Nawijn from Breda University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands, showed that it is the anticipation of the upcoming trip that indicates signs of increased happiness, and afterwards there is hardly any effect to our happiness or wellbeing.
Once we are back into our daily routine, the blissful week away seems to blur into the background. As the research suggests, increasing guest’s anticipation, will subsequently increase their happiness levels. After all, happy guests are repeat guests.
So how can you increase your guest’s anticipation to their holidays?
ACT Studios asked up and coming interior designer Nicola Brook*, the newest addition to our Act Studios team, to look into the various ways to make simple changes into the way owners can showcase their holiday homes to their fullest potential.
First and foremost, it is essential to understand who will be staying at your property and why they might be there. Is it a family, are pets allowed, or is it a couple’s getaway?
As an interior design studio, we start our process by being curious, observing and asking questions. Our questions are the most important part of our design process.
For a holiday home, it is important to consider what your guests will need during their holiday and the reasons for their stay. For instance, if you have a family cottage, is there enough room for all the family members to gather comfortably around a dinner table? Is there an abundance of board games to choose from to encourage everyone to switch off? Are the children’s rooms catered for them? Is there somewhere for older children to study in a quiet place during half term?
There won’t be a ‘one size fits all’ formula but consider how you can add elements to your home that allow it to adapt to suit your guests needs and desires for their holiday.
In our interior design studio, we are not guided by fashion, but rather driven by life, and how we live it. Trends by their nature give no permanence. But creating character and giving the interior a personality, allows your property to stand out.
The surroundings and use of our interiors always inform our design decisions. Think about your home’s location and how to incorporate the surroundings into your home.
For example, we are currently working on a home in the Yorkshire dales. Yorkshire is known for its beautiful York stone, a golden stone historically blackened from factory smoke. So we are deliberately sourcing reclaimed stone, the rich history adding to the beauty of this material, intended for a feature inglenook fireplace in the main living area.
The county is also known for its weaving mills, so we have set about sourcing locally woven cloth for the upholstery throughout.
As humans we experience through our senses. And it is something we pay close attention to in the studio. What will your guests touch, see, hear, smell, taste?
Remembering first impressions are everything; research has shown that smell of vanilla can have a stress-reducing impact on human’s mood, versus other scents such as Citrus[i].
Adding a vanilla diffuser or scented candle to your home’s entrance, can subconsciously help your guests adjust to holiday mode from the moment they walk through the door.
As an interior designer, I look to create moments of joy and in turn, add the value which we all seek. What will make your guests feel special and instantly welcomed?
Look to add the human element to your home. For example, writing a simple card to welcome your guests shows you care, and creates a connection to you, which in turn will create a level of respect from your guests for you and your home.
Your local area is your greatest asset. In the studio, we place a significant emphasis on the environmental responses from the surroundings. Are there local artists or craftspeople from your area that you could source certain items from?
Think about a tea set from a local potter or some artwork for the walls from a local screen printer. As well as adding a sensory experience to your home; if you give your guests information about where to find these artisans they too can visit the studios or shops.
This not only drives your local economy, but it educates your guests about the local area, shows you care about their experience and most importantly brings people together.
It may be difficult to know where best to spend your budget for the property, but consider the simple framework of your home and how your guests will interact with it.
Did you know one of the areas of our body where we have the most nerve endings is the soles of our feet? It is the surface we are most often connected to.
As a designer, often, the first aesthetic decision I make is about the floor. Rough or smooth, soft or hard, dark or light. It is the foundation that we build from.
For practicality, hard wood works better than carpets. And the more a hard wood floor is used, the better it will look. The value may not be obvious at first, but when it is still there 10 or 20 years later, you may be glad you went the extra mile.
If you want to add a touch of soft luxury, then consider adding a rug underneath the bed for your guests to step onto first thing.
Which leads nicely on to the beds themselves – mattresses, linens and pillows make a bed. They all count. We spend a third of our lives asleep. So it is essential to your guest’s experience that they sleep well. Invest in quality mattresses and linens.
If you are wondering how these 5 points help with the ‘anticipation factor’ about your property – tell the story behind the thought and care that has gone into making your home, a place where your guests can be comfortable, feel at ease and relax.
When having photographs of your property taken, it is worth investing in professional photography that will not only allow your guests to explore every aspect of your property (3D photography is a great addition to still photography) but will also ensure that the photographs capture the individuality of your property and its surrounding location.
For example, set up a board game on the dining table. Show the beds looking like fluffy clouds that you would want to leap into. And illustrate the locally sourced tea set ready to be poured.
In the studio, we believe ‘every detail tells a story’ with the narrative bringing interiors to life.
As humans we connect to each other through stories, tell the story of your property and above all, why you care.
If you would like some further help with styling the interior of your holiday cottage rental or your hotel accommodation, we are here to help!
For advice on styling interiors or to discuss a property project, please contact Nicola Brook through ACT Studios.
*Nicola Brook has recently founded her human-centred interior design and creative consultancy studio; Nicola Brook Design. Nicola is available to help Act Studios clients style holiday homes for photo shoots or provide a full interior design service.
If you would like some further help with styling the interior
of your holiday cottage rental or your hotel,
please contact Nicola Brook at ACT Studios.