Hotels, healthcare and hunchbacks

Star studded hotels 

If the future of real estate is about offering great experiences to those that use it, then the hotels sector, the home of experience and hospitality, should surely be at the cutting edge of industry innovations. There are two very different examples of this, which I’ve found this month.

The first located in Hamburg is the proposed conversion of a Nazi-era bunker into a 136-bed hotel. The almost indestructible concrete structure, intended to provide shelter for up to 1,000 people in the event of an air raid, will presumably guarantee a good night’s sleep; The brutal building will be greened, and topped with a tiered roof terrace and bar.

Not impressed? Then how about Disney’s Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser hotel being developed in Orlando. Disney has increasingly delivered hotel experiences that bleed into the content of its theme park, including for instance an animal safari lodge complete with African wildlife and a Polynesian resort, with beach and Tiki huts.

The Starcruiser hotel is expected to lift the bar, in an experience that will incorporate technology from its parks such as floating holograms, a visit to the planet of Batuu (as part of a multi-day cruise experience) and views into ‘space’ from every hotel room.

This might not be the best hotel for business travellers (but then again, why not?), but as the level of immersion and customer service around all real estate assets increases, one should expect hotels to continue to push the boundaries and this feels like a great example. #hospitality #hotels


Population redistribution 

On a global stage, urbanisation has been one of the defining trends of the past decades. The economic gulf between gateway cities on the one hand and smaller towns and the countryside on the other has been steadily growing. However, cities across the world are becoming victims of their own success. The gravitation of populations towards urban centres has in most cases not been matched by equivalent expenditure in infrastructure, leaving them stretched.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the coin, the thinning out of rural areas creates different problems, with concentrations of poorer and less mobile populations developing. A report by Forbes this week, which analyses new data from the US National Institute for Healthcare Management finds that those living in rural areas are older, have higher rates of obesity and are more likely to live below the poverty line.

However, per capita, there are fewer healthcare practitioners and fewer hospitals in these areas in spite of the elevated need. Meanwhile, in Australia, the government announced this week that it is redistributing the number of skilled visas in favour of those willing to live in the country’s regions rather than its three big cities (where the population is growing at double the rate).

The potential for a reversal of the urbanisation trend in mature economies feels eminently possible, whether by choice (e.g. in London and New York, where the trend is to outward migration to secure better standards of living) or through intervention (as in the case of Australia). #population #infrastructure

Richard Pickering is Chief Strategy Officer UK at Cushman & Wakefield

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