In this inaugural edition of the Hotel Design Podcast, we feature an incredibly engaging discussion with Mr. Larry Traxler – interviewed at the Hilton Worldwide HQ in McClean, VA.
Larry outlines the challenge of working with the world’s largest development and construction pipeline with over 2,300 projects under the management of his team’s 11 global design offices. We take an in depth look at the phenomenal success of Tru by Hilton, the scope of streamlining the process of construction and focus on design efficiency – “Everything has a place and everything is in the right place”. The conversation covers the global trend of reducing room size whilst drawing the guest to increased use of the public space amenities.
Larry takes the discussion through Hilton’s signature brands including lifestyle with Canopy, the unique approach of Curio and Tapestry and luxury with Waldorf Astoria and Conrad. He details the importance of brand ethos and narrative, architectural cues and sense of place. With both developers and investors, Larry talks about the need to understand the zeitgeist of the city where a hotel is to be situated and the crucial aspect of connecting with the community.
Continual innovation is a core competence and Larry sites their recent design competition “The Box”, held with 12 of the world’s best design firms to develop a luxury hotel room of the future as an example of pushing the envelope of design.
Larry concludes that Pinterest & Instagram have been game changers by raising the bar; he sees the design of raised service levels and guest experience as key critical in their importance.
Rounding off this information packed discussion, Larry offers advice to students considering hospitality design as a career path before finishing with news on his fantastic philanthropy work.
Larry and his wife Jerri Hatch work with Sunzou Village in Rwanda, where they are having a library built and they now are raising funds for a multipurpose community center which will be dedicated in the name of the late Jesse Kalisher. They are also instrumental in the Warrior Canine Connection and building a facility to partner returning veterans in trauma recovery with their service dogs. The talented couple are the proud parents of two rescued donkeys (Bonnie & Clyde), along with several orphaned elephants, and active in a wonderful charity called Little Longears Miniature Donkey Rescue, providing sanctuary for mistreated donkeys.
It is clear from the interview that giving back is a life passion. Watch this space – there will need to be a follow up show to continue this fascinating story!
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