In a world where options abound — you constantly have hundreds of them at your fingertips thanks to the internet — the hospitality industry has had to constantly evolve. Once upon a time, business may have come to you simply because info about competitors wasn't so widespread. But now that potential guests can compare the prices and perks of various hotels side by side in a split second, the hospitality industry has become significantly more cutthroat.

One of the best ways to stand out in the crowd without losing profits or sacrificing quality is through architectural elements. The design of your space says a lot about the caliber of service you and your staff will provide, which is why hospitality design is a field that's currently taking off. Here are a few ways you can improve your current design in order to keep guests happy and coming back to visit time and time again.

Understanding Your Audience

Before your hotel undergoes a major design makeover, consider this: who is your clientele and what are they looking for? Maybe they're more concerned about amenities like a pool and a lounge than they are about the formal style of the in-house eatery. Or perhaps they care about the small details, like rooms designed in a sleek and contemporary style complete with plush, allergy-friendly bedding. Also, consider what you, as the client, are looking for.

Before you do anything to your design, make sure you know what your consumers want by asking them. Enlist online surveys or even survey cards in each room to get a feel for what your specific demographic wants and needs in a hotel space.

Combining Form and Functionality

Once you have a good grasp on what your clientele considers priorities, you'll have an easier time revamping the design of your space. In most cases, guests prize a combination of function and form. This means that they want spaces that are as beautiful as they are practical and helpful. Essentially, when a guest steps into your lounge or sits down on the patio, he or she should be able to sunbathe or work on the free Wi-Fi and be equally happy with either experience.

Creating the Proper Space

But it's not all about making a space look pretty. Engineers also have to consider other elements when they work with interior designers to make hospitality spaces that work for both the staff and the guests. For example, when designing an in-house eatery, one must make sure that the industrial kitchen is up to code, that the dining room can comfortably seat as many guests as necessary and that every decorative detail keeps with the theme of the space.

This is easier said than done, which is why sometimes functionality has to be prioritized over aesthetics. So don't fret if the balance your design strikes isn't exactly 50/50 — 60/40 works, too, as long as your guests are happy.

Using Lines Instead of Signs

One design element that can serve as a simple way to boost your space is a clean line. It could be in the form of open floors, rows of comfy chairs or even a pair of pianos. Regardless of what a designer uses, these lines should point guests in the direction they want to go — in the lobby, that's towards the check-in desk — without the use of signs.

Whereas signs can come off a little clunky and interfere with your design, subtle lines should intuitively direct your guests where they need to go. The concept of using lines to direct traffic is nothing new, but when you look at it with a fresh set of eyes, you'll see how critical it is to the field of hospitality design.

Wowing Guests With Unexpected Elements

Now subtlety may work when it comes to aspects of hospitality like the look of your lobby. But sometimes it takes bolder elements to really outshine the competition. Take Disney's Orlando hotels, for example. Disney's Dolphin Hotel attracts flocks of guests, more than the other equally impressive hotels in the family, because of its splashy design. A large dolphin overlooks its triangle-shaped building, a stunning element that naturally draws the eye and the guests.

When you feel ready to incorporate a showstopper design or something more subtle into your hotel, architectural firms devoted entirely to hospitality are here to help. With your ideas and their expertise, it's easy to add a few tweaks or embark on a total overhaul of your space.

So if you're thinking about making over your hotel with these new hospitality design tips in mind, there's no time like the present. The prettier and more enticing your space, the easier it'll be for customers to relax and enjoy its amenities — and tell their entire social media network about their great stay!