How Architects can add Value to Hotels and Short Term Rental Villas ?

How Architects can add Value to Hotels and Short Term Rental Villas ?

I am an Architect and Interior Designer. I specialized in hotel and vacation rentals interior design for more than 6 years.

The most frequent question I get from clients is this: « How can you as a Designer add value to my business? » Before I explain myself, let’s get a grasp of the big picture.


The travel industry is on the rise. Global wise, tourist arrivals are up by 6% and account for 1.4 billion travellers. 30 million are visiting Greece every year. Besides pure numbers, travelers around the world demand more hospitality solutions, based on their own personal needs.

In this new era, Greece will aim to be THE ultimate Travel Destination world-wide!

Our country has just started to adapt to this new reality.  In Athens, deserted areas and abandoned properties have given their way to renovated hospitality spaces. These venues often provide more than just a typical good night’s sleep: an extraordinary Hospitality Experience!

The rise of the Hospitality sector has also boosted the Food and Real Estate industry. New attractive design shops, redefined Greek cuisine, newly designed Greek items e.g. souvenirs, fashion items, alternative sightseeing services and innumerable options that accompany or serve our visitors’ stay in Greece have already enriched our everyday life!


When it comes to typical Greek hotels there seems to be a pattern regarding the branding and the decorating.

When you visit one of those hotels you notice the same worn carpets, the retro photos of the Acropolis on hotel walls and the red Swedish beds in the apartments.

The branding is not better. Those ugly hospitality venues are often called by the owner’s name (ex. “Maria’s Villas”) and that is where the branding strategy practically ends.

This pattern will not be viable in the immediate future.

After years of experience in architecture, remodeling and decoration for retail spaces and hospitality venues, blending my passion for interior design with the engineer’s analytical approach, I have outlined the inner reality of Greek small and medium-sized hospitality businesses.


Having participated in many business appointments with hoteliers and hospitality villa owners this is no longer a surprise: The supervised hospitality venue is run either by an owner/manager or a family who is literally struggling to deliver and deal with absolutely… everything! This is a one-man-show hotel business!

What happens when you run your own hotel business by yourself?

You have to be in charge of: Financies, Human resources, Procurement, Management, Maintenance and Customer Support.

Engaging actively in all those tasks, means you have to allocate your time accordingly. Every day you have to multi switch between different tasks, to get the job done.

You have no time to focus and improve in one specific area, so you can add value to your business.  You lack the necessary depth of information to improve, due to the cognitive range that you need to assimilate.

Multiswitching  between different tasks, lack of focus and lack of time is the harsh reality for the vast majority of hotel owners in Greece.


So what happens when you talk to an owner about  Interior or Outdoor Design, Renovation or Decoration of hotel interiors? What about the  restaurant, the reception, or the bar of a hospitality venue? Those are additional tasks that he has to deal with.

In many cases, he will try to apply his personal aesthetics to the hotel’s interior and exterior spaces, because he is not aware of the added value a professional Designer can offer.

In other cases, he may consult with the hotel’s maintaince assistant, to help him make a final decision, or he may replicate an idea he saw in another hotel that he stayed into.

Due to lack of time and multi switching between tasks, a hotel owner will often delay planning the property’s maintenance and its aesthetics upgrade. There is no overall strategy regarding the branding or the decoration applied to the hotel or the private villa. Reconstruction and decoration is managed by the business owner helped by non-specialists.

The sellected team of technicians, often local workers and craftmen, undertake all the technical work. As a result, the whole project faills to fit the initial timeframe and budjet, while interior and exterior design is unsuccessfully applied.

Despite all the above, design experts, architects and decorators, are still considered professionals whose specilalized services are perceived as unnecessary or expensive.

So what CAN a Design Specialist offer?

Working with a specialized professional on architecture and hotel interior decoration on hospitality design, space layout, renovation, interior and exterior decoration is business relationship with…ROI ( Return Of Investment) ! Hospitality business owners can only benefit from such partnership. The design professional’s problem solving skills and expertise will solve technical and design issues on behalf of his client.

An architecture and decoration consultant works using his strong imagination, while his design oriented view can form and create authentic spaces, compose unique space identities for hospitality venues and provide technical solutions.

The results delivered are, surprisingly welcoming, stylish and well-planned interior and exterior spaces. All needed safety and hospitality specifications are met. The added value, results in more reservations.

A well-informed architecture and decoration professional

  • is constantly updated with decorative trends
  • specializes at material application
  • specializes at furnishing and lighting specifications, known as FF&E
  • uses technology and supports innovation
  • invests money and time reading design magazines, attending workshops and exhibitions

All the above enhance his skills required to provide excellent design, renovation and decoration services for his clients.

The architecture and decoration specialist is a technical consultant as well as a designer. He is a coordinator of a large group of suppliers, craftsmen, carriers and vendors. Keeping the entire project in his mind from initial to delivery stage, he sets the renovation schedule, organizes construction works and prevents mistakes and shortcomings.

He is the conductor in an orchestra, where all musical instruments await his guidance to harmoniously perform the melody! Because he has a budget to handle, he balanced what “can be done” with what ”should be done”.

Therefore, the design specialist is the necessary technical and design consultant for a hotel and short term rental venue upgrade.


When it comes to competition in the Hotel industry, the hotel owners have to realize they do not actually compete against each other, but against other emerging markets e.g. Turkey, Egypt etc. Those markets have adapted to the new trends in the tourism industry. They manage to offer authentic experiences, by introducing their local culture and aesthetics to their visitors.

Greek Hotel Owners have to realize that what used to work in the past will not work in the future. Travelers around the world demand more and businesses need to add value in order to meet their needs.

A Design Specialist will definitely add value to yours.

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