HBG Design's Katie Toth Named IIDA SoCal President

We are so proud of our very own Katie Toth for being named President of the IIDA Southern California Chapter. We think she is a natural born leader and her passions for art and interior design are palpable.

Meet Katie Toth, President of IIDA SoCal


HBG Design Joins Victor Rocha for The New Normal Weekly Webcast

Join Dike Bacon and Victor Rocha as they discuss Tribal Gaming and The New Normal: The Business of Tribal Gaming During a Pandemic Presented by the National Indian Gaming Association.

Listen Now

See our new insights on navigating Covid-19 in Indian Gaming Magazine

See article in Indian Gaming Magazine

Insights from HBG Design Principal, Dike Bacon:

NAVIGATION: HBG Design has historically been able to navigate through industry challenges in a nimble fashion – and that hasn’t changed with COVID-19. Like many professional services firms around the country, we transitioned both our Memphis and San Diego offices to a work-from-home model in response to COVID-19. We were pro-active with this decision before local government directives required it. Our primary goal was and still is to keep our staff safe and healthy. Fortunately, we had plenty of very sophisticated technological platforms and accessible infrastructure in place to move swiftly and be fully operational in a matter of days.

Regarding our tribal clients, we have been fortunate in that much of our work has continued to progress. A number of our projects have continued through planning and design phases. It seems many clients have proactively decided to continue to advance their projects and get them ready for construction when the timing is right. We also have a number of projects that were in construction pre-COVID-19 and these have continued to progress through the pandemic. A big part of this success is attributed to construction companies that implemented numerous health and safety protocols in order to keep projects on schedule.

DRAWING CUSTOMERS: We have been studying the re-design of a number of the typical resort amenities. One of the most important has been food and beverage. We think that design solutions that respond to spacing requirements and COVID-19 restrictions should be flexible and adaptable as conditions continue to change and improve. This means more modular systems and easily modified seating arrangements that can actually create a feeling of luxury and exclusivity. The temporary re-use of existing conference and meeting space has been in recent discussions. The conference business will come back but in the interim these large spaces can creatively and temporarily be used for gaming space. Wiring, security and ingress/egress have to be addressed but it can work. In the right climates, increased outdoor activities may continue to be a very successful way to serve higher numbers of guests and keep the proper distances.

As Featured in Indian Gaming: Dike Bacon Talks Covid Casino Resort Design Solutions

Read the Indian Gaming Covid-19 Article Here

As history has proven time and again, calamity often brings opportunity. Some of the best ideas and solutions developed by mankind have been the result of adversity and necessity. Indian gaming will thrive again – but things will be different. How different remains to be seen.

What we already know is that guests and employees have an expectation that owners of hotels, casinos, restaurants, etc., are making cleanliness, health safety and wellness a top priority. As new health standards are integrated into a property, innovative design solutions can play a key role in influencing the perception or ‘optics’ of cleanliness and safety, without diminishing the sense of luxury expected in the hospitality experience. No one wants to stay in a hotel room that looks and feels clinical like a hospital. These design changes also don’t have to be inconvenient or even overt. Engaging designers to change the guest experience creatively and strategically to be healthier and more focused on their well-being is a clear property differentiator.

Of course, there isn’t one perfect formula for operating in the COVID-19 era. Protocols and regulations can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and tribe to tribe. What may work for a commercial gaming property might not work for an Indian Nation. There are distinct needs for short-term temporary fixes, but also long-term permanent solutions. This makes it even more important for operators and designers to partner together to ensure operational and design solutions are both durable and impervious from an aesthetic standpoint to meet the extended needs of guest safety and wellness.

Creative design solutions in the COVID-19 era reach beyond pure safety and wellness, they can also significantly impact a property’s bottom line – and increasing revenues is one of the most important objectives for owners right now. As an example, we’re currently developing a series of innovative design solutions for the casino floor to improve the guest experience and beat the current occupancy model. We’re also reimagining how guests are seated and served in restaurants to achieve social distancing and compartmentalization of spaces that will likely become the norm for the industry. Creative design can inform distancing of guests so that they perceive intimacy and exclusivity as opposed to separation. Small semi- private rooms and spaces and transparency of food preparation will become more commonplace. Buffets, of course, will change permanently, but the goal of a redesign is to maintain the original spirit of the buffet. Ideas such as conversions of buffets to food-hall type experiences is another example to explore.

The Indian gaming industry will rise out of this pandemic stronger than ever. It will flourish because of one fundamental premise – guests crave great experiences they can’t get anywhere else. They want to gamble and eat a great meal. They love to get away to see a show and stay at interesting hotels. They want to swim in a resort pool and be pampered in a luxurious spa. They want to get out of the house and be entertained. No matter what happens, that is never going to change.

HBG Design Weighs In: 'Pandemic brings new challenges to design concepts', by Hotel Business Magazine

In July’s Hotel Business Magazine, HBG Design Practice Leader, Rick Gardner, AIA, comments on recent challenges facing the hospitality and entertainment industry during these unprecedented times. The firm has been proactive in developing guest-oriented design solutions focused on health, safety and wellness.

“We like to think about change in hotel design in a post-pandemic world like this — if you were to pick up a hotel room and literally turn it upside down, everything that falls to the floor goes away. This means all the soft goods like bolster pillows, bed throws, etc. are eliminated; we’re leaning toward a clear simplification of materials, along with reducing non-washable materials – that could include shifting from curtains to washable blinds; using anti-viral and antimicrobial fabrics in the guestroom; and anti-microbial grout in the bathrooms. Surfaces will change and transform — we’re looking at LVT instead of carpet; new and improved filtration systems and air handling; and making touchpoints touchless, using technology like Alexa and Google to a greater extent – leveraging voice control to reduce need for surface contact to turn on lights, the TV, the shower, etc.”

Nathan Peak Joins Other Industry Experts for GGB's Webinar: 'What Will a Casino Resort Look Like in the Wake of Covid-19?'

Global Gaming Business, The Innovation Group and Regulatory Management Counselors P.C. (RMC) present a national webinar series for the gaming industry

‘Gaming in Crisis: The Path Back’ 

featuring insights from

HBG Design
Nathan Peak, AIA, Leed GA
Principal & Design Director

In the May 28 ‘Gaming in Crisis’ Webinar Series - Episode 5, Design Changes: What Will a Casino Resort Look Like in the Wake of Covid-19?, Nathan Peak joins a panel of industry experts in casino operations and hospitality design to discuss the type of facility planning and design changes that may be implemented in casinos, food and beverage venues and hotels as properties reopen in the wake of Covid-19.

“Whether on the gaming floor or in the guestroom, the first touch point for every guest must provide a sense of well-being and safety both physically and mentally, without detracting from the allure and luxury of the hospitality environment,” says Peak. 


‘Gaming in Crisis’ Webinar Series - Episode 5, Design Changes: What Will a Casino Resort Look Like in the Wake of Covid-19? 

Michael Soll, The Innovation Group - Moderator
Frank Freedman, Chief Operating Officer, Four Winds Casinos - Speaker
Nathan Peak, AIA, LEED GA, Principal/Design Director, HBG Design - Speaker
Robert Gdowski, AIA, Principal, JCJ Architecture  - Speaker

View more webinars in the Gaming in Crisis: The Path Back Series Here.

New Insights: Sportsbook Design as seen in Tribal Government Gaming




From 2 Offices to 100 Virtual Home Offices Practically Overnight!

Our HBG Design Family is collaborating remotely from over 100 unique locations across San Diego and Memphis while we continue to advance our projects and respond to our clients' needs.

The support and commitment our employees have shown to each other, to our clients and our communities during these extraordinary times continues to demonstrate why we’re consistently ranked as a top workplace.  Thanks to every member of our team for your extraordinary measures in these unprecedented times.

You can continue to reach us through our main office numbers (Memphis 901.525.2557/ San Diego 619.858.7888) or email/call our employees directly.

We’re looking forward to being back together soon!


HBG Design's 2020 Predictions for Hospitality & Gaming Industry

As published in Indian Gaming Magazine's Ask the Experts Column titled "Spotlight on 2020 and Beyond"

Dike Bacon, HBG Design Principal/Partner

Big data and the leverage of big data will continue to have a huge impact on Indian Gaming and the entertainment and hospitality industry for years to come.  Data is such a significant part of our everyday lives and the management and analysis of big data by AI (artificial intelligence) is stunning if not a bit shocking.  Like it or not, big data is watching you.  Virtually every digital interaction we choose to make – things like internet engagement and behavior, tele-communications, electronic/card transactional history, social media activity, etc. – leaves a digital trail that is collected and stored.  Similarly, location-based services and cell phone connections track our physical moves, from major travel activity to simple everyday actions like walking down the street or migrating through a store or a casino.  Our movements are mapped and stored.  It’s virtually impossible to hide.  There’s certainly no hiding from the steady improvements in facial recognition software or even parking lot license plate readers.  Cameras are literally everywhere.  Law enforcement agencies, security companies, retailers, and casinos are implementing these new technologies that instantly connect a face or a car to a person and then to a huge wealth of data.

Big data has become a significant tool in creating competitive advantage, having a profound and positive impact on Indian Gaming.  When a gaming operation knows what its guest wants; when they know what their personal preferences and spending habits are; that enterprise is much better positioned to create tailored products, services, and experiences and deliver them in very personal and memorable ways.  When a guest gets what he wants, he’ll spend more, patronize more, and in many instances, drive further for the personalized experience. It’s been said that the most successful brands have an emotional connection to their customers.  Big data can provide insight into demographic, behavioral and psychographic attributes like values, attitudes, and beliefs that resonate personally and culturally. Big data offers casino resorts the opportunity to create real value that connects directly to their customer base.  And by the same example, when a casino knows very detailed demographic and psychographic information about the customers that it doesn’t have, the casino is much better equipped to design and deliver very targeted and tailored amenities with higher projected returns and success rates.

At HBG Design, we have been exploring and leveraging demographic, behavioral and psychographic data in order to enlighten our clients about its impact on competitiveness. Data can inform planning and design decisions that are targeted and specific.  Generally, most existing casino operators know their guests through loyalty programs and surveys; which are often narrow and depend upon guest participation.  By diving deeper and studying information such as detailed spending habits, income levels, travel habits, casino visitation, etc., we can improve decision-making, and uncover valuable insights that influence program, quality levels and price points. The benefits of big data are still unfolding in our industry, but the results of leveraging this kind resource are clear: higher guest satisfaction, competitive advantage, and of course higher profits.