Is biophilia the key to success post-lockdown?

If this year has shown us one thing, it is how versatile the hospitality sector can be when faced with challenges. But how can customers be made to feel safe as the industry opens once more?

Biophilic design could hold the key to increasing footfall, bookings and spend post-lockdown, according to Emily Vernon, Managing Director of phs Greenleaf:

“After over a year of social distancing and face masks, customers are naturally worried about returning to spaces such as restaurants, bars and hotels. Biophilic design looks to ease those concerns, making customers feel comfortable and willing to spend again.

“Biophilia is the concept that human beings have an innate connection to nature, something that has been heightened even further during the pandemic as we craved outside spaces like parks and beaches. Being with plants and nature is proven to make us feel calmer, happier and safer.

“Biophilic design taps into this psychology and uses plants and natural materials to create the same feelings.

“For example, attractive, thriving plants in a premise gives the impression of a clean, healthy, natural environment – somewhere that people can thrive too – and this reassures and comforts customers.

“And these kinds of feelings can translate into tangible benefits. Studies have also shown that customers spend longer and are more willing to pay higher prices in restaurants and bars that use biophilic design. It is the same reason that guests are willing to pay more for a sea view or garden view room at a hotel – they know they feel happier near nature and place a value on that feeling.

“Biophilic design can also be used to deal with new COVID measures in a more refined, purposeful way.  phs Greenleaf has developed a range of moveable planters and divider planting troughs that are helping businesses maintain social distancing without the need for garish signage or tape. These planters can also act as directional aids or social dividers, creating different zones or appropriate distance or barriers between tables, all whilst adding to the aesthetic and ambience, and creating a sense of well-being and calm that most conventional social distancing measures do not.

“And biophilia isn’t just for indoor spaces. We’re working with a number of national restaurant chains to rethink their outside spaces following lockdown. By extending your design outdoors, you create instant curb appeal, giving you the competitive edge, as well as creating flexible spaces that can quickly increase your number of covers.

“Biophilic design isn’t about spending lots of money on expensive plants or designer living walls, it’s about finding what is right for your customer and business – even small changes can make a big difference.”

phs Greenleaf has been providing planting and landscaping services to businesses for over 25 years, including indoor and outdoor plants, artificial and live planting, living walls, grounds maintenance and Christmas trees and decorations.