Winter, summer, autumn or spring, the Australian bush, beach, mountains and deserts offer vistas, lifestyle and ambience that few places around the world can match.
The patio and poolside are the perfect places to savour the great Australian outdoors, and while most people buy patio furniture based on the way it looks, there are many other important considerations for the managers of hotels, resorts and holiday parks.
Looks aren’t everything but…
The right type of outdoor furniture can create an unforgettable holiday experience for guests. Everyone loves to sit outdoors to enjoy the scenery and the sun. Managers should make the outdoor feel of their properties as welcoming as their rooms.
Space is a crucial factor. Furniture for an apartment patio obviously involves very different considerations than a large poolside area.
Managers must consider how the type of outdoor furniture will harmonise with the exterior of a resort and the interior of the rooms. They should also consider the durability of the furniture and how much maintenance will be needed to ensure it remains in great shape.
Dennis Clark, the renowned Gold Coast hotel designer and Founder of Hotel Interiors says it’s vital that properties maintain a theme throughout and move with the times. Owners and managers need a clear vision of the environment they want to create with their choice of outdoor furniture because it will have a big impact on the overall theme of the property.
Regardless of whether every room has a balcony or if there’s a large garden for everyone to enjoy, guests love to be outside to enjoy the sun and sip their drinks.
Outdoor furniture needs to reflect what an establishment is all about, whether it be classic white, contemporary, sleek metal, or zany and colourful.
The colours and designs that managers choose should tie into the rest of a property’s feel so that guests receive a seamless design experience regardless of where they are sitting otherwise, it can create a jarring result that doesn’t sit right.
What’s the weather like?
Its effect on outdoor furniture can have a big bearing on what managers choose. If the chairs and tables are made from wood and left outside in the wind, rain, or even snow, it can increase rot.
If placed somewhere that sees the sun for most of the year, then it’s not such an issue, unless the furniture is metal, which can become as hot as a barbecue grill in the Australian summer sun.
Jason Condon, Proprietor, of Daydream Leisure said: “Hospitality outdoor furniture must be durable, made to withstand the elements. Resin, polypropylene or aluminium are the materials of choice but purchasing decisions should be based on value for money, durability, and low maintenance.”
Materials such as wood and iron will need a lot of care to ensure it looks good all year round.
Dean Gesterkamp from Kudos Outdoor Furniture, Australia recommends using “new polypropylene because it is long-lasting, tough and inexpensive”.
He also stressed the importance of shade and said, “Outdoor spaces that offer shade are popular among guests, especially in tropical climates.”
Pergolas and shade sails are effective but wide, colourful umbrellas should also be considered. Because not only do they help protect from sun and rain but when matched with funky chairs can provide guests with great Instagram opportunities and the accommodation with social media exposure.
“Comfort is key’, according to Mr Gesterkamp he explained hard seats can be unpleasant, especially for older guests.
Guests often prefer lounge chairs, armchairs, and sofas that are cushioned and provide support for their backs. And if it’s a beach property, sun lounges are an absolute must, as guests will want to laze around on them. It’s best that they have wheels and be easy to manoeuvre.
Good quality hard-wearing outdoor cushions can be a welcome addition to add comfort, texture, colour, and style.
Mr Condon advises that “cushions should be a high-grade synthetic canvas”.
He warned: “Beware of the zips, fill and inner linings. Make sure replacements can be procured.”
Overall, hotel guests appreciate outdoor furniture that is comfortable, functional, and stylish, and that allows them to enjoy the outdoor environment in a relaxing and enjoyable way.
Think about offering tables of different sizes, small ones for couples and larger ones for families, and make sure they are not placed too tightly so guests need to squeeze around each other, or waiters have difficulty serving food and drinks.
It’s a great idea to provide outdoor furniture that can be easily moved and rearranged. Modular sofas, ottomans, and chairs that can be arranged in different configurations will cater to the seating needs of various groups of guests and also create the perfect ambience for different events. For staff and guests to easily move furniture around, remember to think about size and weight.
Today many accommodations are creating outdoor spaces that feel more like indoor living rooms, with comfortable sofas, coffee tables, and even outdoor rugs. This trend is designed to create a cosy and welcoming environment for guests to relax and socialise.
Outdoor furniture with bright and bold accents, such as cushions, throws, or umbrellas, is becoming increasingly popular.
This trend adds a pop of colour and personality to the outdoor space and can help create a fun and lively atmosphere.
Fire pits, outdoor fireplaces, and other fire features are becoming more common in hospitality outdoor spaces. Not just for cooler days and nights but to add warmth, ambience, and beauty.
And there are the eco-friendly considerations…
Products made from acacia wood and bamboo are environmentally friendly since both grow extremely quickly. Acacia doesn’t need fertiliser and rarely needs pesticides while the tensile strength of bamboo makes it stronger than steel. Both are among the best trees on the planet for absorbing carbon dioxide.
As time goes on, trends change and new ones are likely to emerge as accommodation providers look to create a point of difference. Guests will expect even more inviting and memorable outdoor spaces from their accommodation experience.
Grantlee Kieza OAM has won three Queensland Media Awards, two Australian Sports Commission Awards and has been a finalist for the Walkley and News Awards and for the Harry Gordon Award for Australian sports journalist of the year. In 2019 he received the Medal of the Order of Australia for his writing. You can find more of his work in our AccomNews & Resort News print magazines.
He has written 22 acclaimed books, including bestsellers Hudson Fysh, The Kelly Hunters, Lawson, Banks, Macquarie, Banjo, Mrs Kelly, Monash, Sons of the Southern Cross and Bert Hinkler.