Hospitality In Secondary Markets

Our team recently attended The Americas Lodging Investment Summit, also known as ALIS, where we networked with brands, developers, operators, and manufacturers and chatted about current trends in hospitality. At ALIS, we gained some insight into where hospitality development is headed, and we are excited!

Residential Booms

It’s become clear to us that in the luxury sector, hotel developers and brands are increasingly evaluating where and when the residential booms are happening and using this data to decide where to open their next enterprise. Interestingly, these residential booms are primarily in “secondary” mid-size cities with sizable industry. We’re talking about cities like Park City, UT or Chattanooga, TN.

The theory is that by tracking the rising home prices in these areas, you’ll find that it’s often an accurate indicator of where demand will follow for travel destinations. With the rise of domestic tourism in the past year and travelers foregoing air travel for drivable destinations like in these secondary markets, this is becoming even more prevalent. So, for brands and developers who see themselves as being on the cutting edge, this is something to take note of!

Location-Centric Design

You may be wondering, “what does this mean for design?” Well, Banko Design has always taken cues from residential trends when designing a new project. Even though our projects are commercially focused, our end user wants their experience to feel comfortable like a home. This holds true for boutique hotel guests who also expect that their stay will feel authentic to their destination. We’ve found that guests like when their hotel’s aesthetic is rooted in the fabric of the city that they’re visiting. 

Unique experiences and one-of-a-kind discovery moments in hospitality design are more important than ever before. Reports show that even before the pandemic, boutique hotels received the majority of their business from domestic travelers. With domestic travel (especially to drivable destinations) on the rise due to vaccinations and loosening restrictions, there is a heightened demand for boutique properties that are in secondary markets. They allow guests the opportunity to find something “off the beaten path” and experience something new and unique. I think we can all agree that we love to feel like we’ve experienced something special that perhaps not everyone knows about. A well-designed boutique hotel in these secondary markets can check all of those boxes!

Our ethos is that a hotel’s design should authentically reflect the city, culture, and community in which it’s built. We pride ourselves on doing just that by providing hallmarks in the design details that relate to the city or people of the area. This could be a handrail detail that is similar to a prominent landmark in town, or a fabric pattern that highlights the state flower, or even a custom mural from a local artist. Our ultimate goal is to help owners tell the story for their property and its city through unique features and fantastic programming. 

To keep it short and sweet, we believe we will begin to see an increase in hospitality development in secondary markets. And when it happens, we’ll be ready to design your hotel so that it will provide your guests with a personalized and luxurious experience.

Interested in learning more about how we can help? Reach out to Steph or Brittany, our Business Development team, at and


Senior Living and Hospitality Specs: A Whole Lot In Common

For our first ever monthly, vertical-specific blog, we’re talking hospitality. More specifically, we’re chatting about how senior living design should inform smart hospitality specification.

For many individuals and industries, 2020 incentivized us to re-think and reassess our own health and wellness practices where we live, work and play. Fortunately, because of Melissa Banko’s 15+ years of experience in senior living design, Banko Design has always designed for health and hygiene in every vertical we’ve entered. As a pioneer in the senior living design space, our firm’s designers know that there are many senior living design components that should be translated into other verticals, and this is something that Banko Design excels in.

One of the most important translations is specifying finishes and furniture with longevity and vigorous use in mind. As you would suspect in senior living, it is essential to specify items and materials that are durable and easy to clean, so why wouldn’t we do this in our hospitality designs as well? For both senior living and hospitality projects, we ALWAYS specify materials that are bleach-cleanable and have a tough double rub quality. Something else that may not immediately come to mind when specifying for health and wellness is off-gassing. Cheaper is not always better! We will never choose low-grade materials or furniture that would emote toxins into the air of your property.

Sure, healthy spaces are absolutely those that are physically clean, but we also consider the mental health of those using the space too. In senior living design, we design for the senior residents and aim to make their space feel like an inviting home where they can find solace and comfort. We apply this same tenet to hospitality. We think about how a space will make visitors feel rather than JUST how it looks. Is it programmed to promote ease of use, comfort, warmth and hygiene? Every aspect affects user experience!

Great design can and should do all of these things in any vertical! We have helped owners, developers and operators in all verticals create standards and programs focused on endurance and health from the beginning. Listen, we’re not going to give away all the tricks of the trade in specifying smart; you’ll have to call us for that. Let’s create healthy and beautiful spaces for people to thrive in together!

Interested? Reach out to our Business Development team at and