As the building sector in Europe continues to struggle with low numbers of new houses and offices, there are still segments that show potential and strong growth. The leisure market is such a market.
Recently, ID/Lab Europe attended a seminar in The Netherlands, organised by ‘Building Leisure Buildings’, that gave a sneak peek into the rather closed world of the well-known Dutch hospitality family ‘Van der Valk’. A business with 64 Hotels in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain Bonaire and Curacao, where all management positions are taken by family members. This way the company is able to cherish and guard the strong culture and family rules that made it what it is today. A culture probably best illustrated by the saying of the founder of the company, grandfather Van der Valk: ‘Open your ears and eyes, keep your mouth shut and work like a devil’. The third generation of Van der Valk’s is taking over now, and it is interesting to see that it is able to renew itself. It guides the company into the future with one leading principle: A focus on user experiences.
Innovative concepts and building techniques are introduced that should make it all possible. Anticipating that interior trends will probably change every 5 years (if not faster) the interior and experience of the hotel and its rooms should be easy to adapt to. To make this possible the hotels are constructed with full flexibility in mind. Within the shell of the building the pre-fabricated rooms are installed, complete pre-fitted and with fully decorated walls, with pre-installed cables and plumbing and plug and play electronic appliances. This way of building allows the Dutch hotel chain to easily adapt to new trends, by simply replacing parts of the rooms with new fittings, or even taking the complete rooms out and replacing them.
Building Leisure Buildings with the future in mind. That is the learning we took out of it. The next inspiration session will be about The National Military Museum. We will keep you blogged.