The ability to stay ahead of the curve by understanding guests' needs and knowing the latest trends is vital for hospitality designers in the current lodging environment. Renovations and new-build projects are abundant, so given a heavier workload, turnaround time is becoming more of a factor.

"We found [our clients] are more aggressively renovating their properties than they were five or 10 years ago," said Jeffrey Ornstein, principal, J/Brice Design International. "Renovations that were planned at five- and seven-year cycles are now three- and five-year cycles."

Despite the need to have the finished product quicker, Ornstein said he's noticed a trend of clients being less hands-on during the design process.

"We're finding there's a more relaxed path [and] approach in terms of the method - how we get from concept to reality - and also there's a more open feeling to be experimental," he said.

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