The Future Of Travel: “Whether it’s learning a new skill, spiritual sanctuaries or civic tourism, the next generation traveller will be looking far beyond the spa.” with Alexandra Beggs and Candice Georgiadice
Transformative travel, whether it’s learning a new skill, spiritual sanctuaries or civic tourism, the next generation traveller will be looking far beyond the spa. They will demand holistic travel that provides personal enrichment and a chance for them to become better versions of themselves.
As part of my series about “exciting developments in the travel industry over the next five years”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alexandra Beggs, Senior Designer, HBA DNA. Alexandra comes from a background in media and communications and started her career in Australia, where she spent six years working in-house for an agency based in Melbourne. Prior to HBA DNA’s launch in Los Angeles, Alexandra spent three years in Singapore, working in hotel and resort design for renowned hospitality studios including HBA and Blink Design. Notable design projects include Mandarin Oriental Manila, Viceroy Cocobay and Raffles Dhevanafushi, Maldives. Whilst at HBA Singapore, her cross-industry experience saw her lead the development and design of three new brands for a large operator group in China, ultimately co-creating the department for HBA DNA with Principal Mark Eacott. A well-versed and articulate communicator, Alexandra has previously been selected for Operator Design Immersion sessions, including Hilton’s lifestyle brand launch of Canopy. Alex is an active researcher on the evolving hotel guest and their impact on the hospitality design.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
When I was a kid I wanted to be an architect, but when I went through high school things changed and I ended up studying marketing and communications. After a few years in the industry I decided to change career paths and went back to design school to study architecture!
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
It would probably be meeting my fiance, though, it happened in a backwards fashion. We worked together for years, became very good friends and then the rest is history!
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I once had a situation involving materials boards that had to be shipped to the Middle East. We had organized for a custom crate for the frames to fit into- to make sure they were shipped carefully. We sent the crate to the client only to hear that the samples and frames had been damaged on arrival. I then spent the next week re-ordering samples and sourcing local framers to get the job done in the Middle East- no easy feat when you’ve never been to the area! Thankfully, a colleague in our Dubai office was able to assist on ground. I learned having someone on the ground is imperative in case anything goes wrong.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I would have to say aside from our years of experience (HBA is over 50 years old!) it would have to be our global reach. With 27 offices around the world, HBA offers global design benchmarks at international standards. It also makes working for them just as rewarding- designers have the opportunity to work in 27 different locations- I started out in the Singapore office and am now based in the Los Angeles office. I think having global experience is second to none and HBA makes it a lot easier to attain.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”? Can you share a story about that?
Travel- as often as you can. Whethere it’s for client projects or personal- I think travel is the most powerful source of inspiration.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I’d have to thank my boss who has never made things easy and always pushed me to my full capabilities. There are many, but one example would be making me present to a board of directors at the very last minute. I had put the presentation together- so I knew it back to front but I was very nervous as at the time it was just something that designers at my level hadn’t much experience with.
Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. Can you share with our readers about the innovations that you are bringing to the travel and hospitality industries?
Currently, HBA DNA works with operators and hotel owners to create future-proofed hotel concepts that challenge the current hotel industry. We create and refresh hotel brands based on data and research and offer solutions that cater to what tomorrows guest wants.
Which “pain point” are you trying to address by introducing this innovation?
At the moment, the hotel industry is seeing a lot of new brands entering the lifesytle space without much differentiation from each other. At HBA DNA, we’re always challenging the status quo to create new and exciting concepts that truly understand tomorrow’s guest.
How do you envision that this might disrupt the status quo?
It’s already started- large operators are seeing the value of unique hotel concepts and shifting their focus to offer similar experiences.
Can you share 5 examples of how travel and hospitality companies will be adjusting over the next five years to the new ways that consumers like to travel?
1. Hybrid products
This year we created a new hybrid hotel brand, after researching and highlighting a market opportunity for it. The new offering comprises the public areas of a lifestyle hotel and the accommodation of a serviced apartment.
2. Transformative Travel
Whether it’s learning a new skill, spiritual sanctuaries or civic tourism, the next generation traveller will be looking far beyond the spa. They will demand holistic travel that provides personal enrichment and a chance for them to become better versions of themselves.
3. Coworking Lobbies
Following co-everything, more relaxed social lobbies and efforts to get more locals in hotels, it was only a matter of time before hotel co-working was introduced.
4. Sharing Rooms
Tailored to people traveling alone, as a pair, in a family or a group of friends traveling together, these new concepts offer options for private or shared rooms so everyone can find something to suit them.
5. From Retail to Rooms
We’re seeing lifestyle retail brands opening hotels from Muji to Restoration Hardware. It’s a lot easier for retail to move into the hospitality sector than the other way around.
You are a “travel insider”. How would you describe your “perfect vacation experience”?
The perfect vacation experience would be one where I can unplug from technology, eat well, explore and learn something new.
Can you share with our readers how have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I believe knowledge is power and that the sharing of information and ideas will collectively make us better at what we do and ultimately succeed. As a result, we’ve set up a research department at HBA that serves to inform, educate and enrich HBA’s global network of designers, and seeks to inspire them to create their best work yet.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
This is a little left field but I always think about this… it would be cool to invent a device that counteracts the addiction that technology and hand held devices cause!
How can our readers follow you on social media?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!