As a previous AHEAD award winner for projects 1898 The Post and Omaanda Namibia and spanning even further back a recipient of the Hotel of the Year award for Phum Baitang at the AHDA (Asia Hotel Design Awards) in 2016, Geraldine Dohogne is no stranger when it comes to creating impressive and beautifully designed spaces.
Having graced our European judging panel for two consecutive year's now, we wanted to hear more about her experience with AHEAD and whether she could share some insider knowledge what about goes in to a winning project...
This is your second year on the AHEAD Europe judging panel, how have you found the experience?
It has been quite different compared to last year due to the current pandemic. However,
AHEAD judging is such a fulfilling experience, exchanging notes with the best professional experts from our industry and, each year, discovering new projects that adapt to the latest customer and market expectations. How could I not enjoy it? I’m just passionate about our industry!
How did judging days go?
I find it very interesting to listen to all the judges' comments and experiences of the shortlisted projects. The discussions are wide ranging and as a panel we all have different points of view, this reminds us that our industry relies on people and that everyone's customer experience is unique.
Judging behind a computer screen was new for me but I found it just as enriching as the face-to-face day.
Were there any particular projects that stood out?
One project that told its story through the design and the guest experiences that were on offer. Another property adapted to new customer expectations, using new design initiatives and food menus focused around sustainable sources…
I admire these projects, the ones that go a step further from what is available today... always pushing further.
As a judge, what is it that you look for in a winning project?
I can draw on my previous answer here, “going a step further”, but I also admire projects and design that anticipate future market expectations thus creating an experience which is ahead of how the industry will evolve.
Have you any insider tips for prospective entrants?
Capturing the WOW effect with photography that truly reflects the experience you find in the property is so important to the whole judging process.
What trends are you noticing across the Europe region?
The development of unique ways to attract customers.
A hotel is not simply a place to sleep anymore.
Hotels are offering so much in addition!