Yale School of Management | Spring 2018 | Jessica Helfand

Cape Town Design Practicum

Partners: Keia Barua, Shelby Layne, Valentine Quadrat

Working with three students from the Yale School of Management, we formed a multidisciplinary team with backgrounds in architecture, business, and graphic design to help the Radisson hotel chain in Cape Town navigate the water crisis. We conducted over 58 interviews across the hospitality sector, ethnographic fieldwork at five hotels – including Hotel Verde “Africa’s Greenest Hotel,” and explored analogous systems, such as coffee shops, residential housing, and tourism bureaus to understand their approaches to water saving.

‘Chain’ Solutions to the Cape Town Water Crisis

To study the response of chain hotels in Cape Town to the water crisis, we honed in on the perspectives of the hotel and the guest. Keeping these perspectives in mind the vision for our project was how to inspire guests to save more water in a way that preserves the luxury experience. Our suggested approach consists of tracking and minimizing water usage and incentivizing behavior through a comprehensive program which includes:

1) A fitbit for water that we dubbed ‘TAP-RED’

2) Promoting awareness through a water usage display on the front desk

3) A hotel ‘Green’ Rewards program to incentivize guest water conservation practices


an exploration of Signage at the Radison Red

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We initially studied the bold signage and existing water conservation techniques for the uniquely branded Radison RED concept hotel


Hotel Brand tokens received at check-in

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Travel Dopp kit

A collection of toiletry items branded with reminders for techniques to conserve utilities in one’s daily routine


SmartPhone App

Designed to alert guests when they have surpassed the hotel’s average daily usage

We brainstormed a series of items received upon check-in that would not only serve guests throughout their stay, but also provide a constant reminder to conserve utilities


Introducing the TAP_RED tracking band

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Our team explored how might we facilitate and incentivize water savings among hotel guests and promote a sustainable traveler mindset. We envisioned a redesign of the traditional hotel keycard at the Radisson Red Hotel into a “water fitbit” wearable that can turn water taps on and off and track usage.


ways to Track and Save

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Sensors placed throughout the hotel would allow guests to activate various functions and utilities throughout their stay


TAP_RED Green Rewards Program

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Concept for front desk ‘water usage display’ at Radison RED check in desks would allow guests to monitor their comparative usage on their TAP_RED band display for the chance to win special rewards and hotel credit at the end of their stay