With much of the UK’s hospitality sector re-opening for business from the 4th July 2020, hotels in particular are finding ways to adapt and ensure their outdoor spaces are fully utilised in preparation for an influx of guests who may wish to dine and entertain al-fresco over the coming summer months.
Many hoteliers rely heavily on their outdoor space to set them apart from their competitors and depending on your location, showcasing your outdoor space with high-quality facilities such as outdoor structures, awnings and canopies can help encourage guests to enjoy the outdoor amenities, warm weather and surrounding views, all whilst adhering to social distancing guidelines.
Outdoor restaurants & dining
Currently, outdoor social and dining spaces are seen as safer as it is proven that the virus is less likely to spread in an outdoor setting. By providing outdoor seating and service, this will encourage both al-fresco and casual drop-ins at a time when other income streams are unfeasible.
The addition of licensed outdoor space will also make it easier to mitigate the capacity and therefore revenue lost by all businesses due to social distancing and ensure that trade continues in a responsible, measured and safe manner. If hospitality outlets take full advantage of all available outdoor space, there will be an element of supply where indoor volume is largely restricted.
Outdoor restaurants should investigate different types of seating options to safely add density back in. They also need to have clear signage on display to explain new protocols and manage the flow of people and sightlines between kitchen and dining, which can help build customer confidence.
Patio awnings & external blinds
For hotels requiring a quick, easy and affordable transformation to their outdoor space, the addition of patio awnings could be the perfect solution. Both practical and stylish, they provide instant shade and shelter and can be designed and built to a bespoke brief to suit the specific application, requirement and budget of the hotel. Some awnings can also be designed with LED lighting and heater features to create a comfortable environment all year round.
Where existing structures exist, such as verandas and pergolas, high performance external blinds can be mounted to the top and sides to provide effective shielding from the elements, including sun, wind and rain to create a cosy and pleasant environment.
Covered outdoor areas such as canopies and pergolas with opening roofs are a great addition to a large outdoor space, especially when these structures can be installed with multiple personalisations in mind, including remote-controlled rotating or retracting roofs, sliding glass, zip screens, separate entrance doors, weather sensors and LED lighting and heaters.
The UK’s external shading experts, Caribbean Blinds, have designed an exclusive pergola canopy branded the Outdoor Living Pod™. Created for those who want to live life outdoors, the innovative rotating louvered roof permits the user to play with light and shade, offering an open-air alfresco feel when left fully open, and ensuring a completely water, wind and even snow-tight roof when closed. Optional windproof screens, ambient LED perimeter lighting and instant infra-red heaters provide the ultimate luxury, all-weather, outdoor living space that gives the customer complete control of the elements, 365 days a year.
Practicality vs functionality
While a number of hotels boast considerable outdoor space, the cost of servicing a reduced number of customers over a larger area and with additional sanitation costs will make re-opening unviable for many.
For this reason, time and money should be expertly invested in utilising your hotel’s outdoor space to create new socially distanced offerings and tempt guests and diners back, however, this should never come at the expense of comfort or practicality.
Through enforcing small additions that also serve a practical purpose, the result will be a great outdoor space that will impress your guests and keep them coming back to your hotel time and time again.
Managing Director, Caribbean Blinds