From their research, Courtyard learned that Generation X and Y travelers want to get comfortable and relax in the guestroom before they get to work.
“Unlike when we started the brand when it was all about getting work done in the room, we now heard from consumers that they don’t necessarily want--when they walk through the door--to have a desk jump out at them, " Milham said. "They want a signal of comfort and relaxation."
Hence, the large, lounge-around sofa where guests can relax right away. When guests do want to work, they don't necessarily want to do it at a desk. That's why the desk can be moved around from out under the TV where it's positioned to the lounge-around chair and even to the bed.
More examples of functional furniture pieces include the "luggage drop" which looks like a rolling nightstand where guests can plop their suitcases. It also comes with two drawers so guests can stash their clothes if they are staying longer than two days (don't worry, there will be a proper closet in the rooms as well.) In the bathroom, there's a "shower nook" which holds towels and amenities so you can access them right from your shower. Behind the bed, the headboard has been replaced with a lit-up mural and most importantly, there's a ton of outlets all over the room. We especially liked the "tech wall" next to the TV where a ledge accompanied a strip of outlets so your gadgets no longer have to rest on the floor.
As for decor, the new look is much more muted than Courtyard is used to. "Gen X and Y have a whole different decor and design preference. What appeals to them is tone on tone, less color pop, and more organic sort of feeling. That’s very different from what we have today because we like to use a lot of color," Milham said, who added that testing was done on customers not in the Gen X and Y range and that they dug the new room look as well.
While Courtyard may not be a place that millennials will seek out on their weekend trips, these new rooms will definitely help get their attention during the week when traveling for business.
So, when can you sleep in one of these new Courtyard rooms? Milham said that any new hotel that opens in 2014 will have the Gen Next room type. Existing Courtyards will slowly begin the renovations with Milham anticipating having 25 percent of the brand with these new rooms by the end of 2014 and half of the brand by the end of 2015.
What do you think of the new Courtyard rooms? Sound off in comments below!