Lead People Outdoors

What are the latest and greatest outdoor trends? Think resorts and nightclubs.

Bring the indoors outside.

Especially in warmer climates, the trend is towards lush, relaxing exteriors furnished with high-end, outdoor all-weather furniture, flat-screen TVs, fashionable accessories, pro-level outdoor kitchens, and beautiful lighting.

The hospitality industry has been creating these types of outdoor spaces for years, particularly in the boutique-hotel market, which is dominated by the “Gen-Y” consumer. In hospitality, it is all about experiences.

The great outdoors has never been more popular. Today, people want cool outdoor spaces–intimate places where residents can gather, both formally and informally. In warmer climates, the exteriors are extensions of the interiors, so it makes great sense to utilize them as fully functional areas.

Today’s outdoor landscape trends are definitely following the hospitality industry. Cool and hip hotels have been a good indicator, something called “the nightclub phenomenon,” inspired by places like the Roosevelt, Standard, and W hotels.

There are actually two major trends to note:

The Resort Look

This look involves more spacious grounds. Typically, there is plenty of landscaping that separates zones of cabanas, outdoor eating areas, fireplaces, fire pits, lounge areas, pool bars plus comfortable chaises by the pool or in the pool.

Areas are separated from each of the other activities in order to accommodate a large number of participants.

People are drawn to outdoor designs that include water (in pools or fountains), fire (in fire pits and fireplaces), shelter from the sun, and plenty of plants.

The Nightclub Look

This is a more condensed area with less landscaping and harder surfaces. The areas tend to be on roof decks or on podium decks.

Since these areas are primarily made of hard surfaces and landscaping is kept at a minimum, activities are not segregated; rather, there is usually one large event area.

Pools are not a major component, and may be minimal in size, or not at all.

These areas are all about interaction. The lounge sections are set up for conversation. In addition, there are televisions, heaters, fireplaces, fire pits, BBQ’s, and bars.

People want to spend more and more time outdoors.

Michael Schrock, principal of Costa Mesa, Calif.-based Urban Arena, says, “If you want to see how hot this programming is, look to Las Vegas. While some of the things they do are not achievable due to cost or manpower, the overall feel and excitement is obtainable. The consumer wants the exciting amenities they have to offer, and it sells.”

Selling Points

Whether you’re trying to create a resort or a nightclub, these spaces have become important sales tools.

At Avalon in Anaheim, Calif., the common outdoor spaces are utilized all of the time. Some events are put on by the management team while others are rented for private affairs. Residents have to reserve the space months in advance because it is so popular.

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