Hotel owners have the unique challenge of balancing guest happiness and the profitability of the hotel simultaneously.
Owners may worry about how to keep a destination current and profitable for longevity, or could be preparing the property for sale. Regardless of the need, there are ways to create value in a hotel by improving the ambience, layout, and function of the lobby. Here is a look at how all types of hotels from major brands to boutique luxury hotels, have shaped their lobbies into spaces that are accommodating and inviting.
Focus 1: Integrated Lobby Layout
What used to be the traditional lobby space with compartmentalized lounge space and the reception area has become a place to socialize, experience local culture, and to see and be seen. Owners can consider implementing an integrated layout—a lobby where dining areas flow into lounge areas. Lobby and food and beverage areas are merged into one fluid space so that guests and visitors can make choices about where they would be most comfortable while experiencing great service anywhere.
Choice is the new hallmark of luxury. Seating, lighting, new menus, and service strategies are needed to pull this off successfully, but the results are worth it – a dynamic destination lobby for guests and in-towners where business and pleasure can co-exist.
Focus 2: Food & Beverage
Thirty-nine million U.S. travelers choose a destination based on the availability of culinary activities, while another 35 million seek out culinary activities after a destination is chosen.
Hotel restaurants, bars, and other dining experiences that provide guests with a taste of local culture are perfect for your hotel guests, but they’re also an attractive destination for locals. In many cases, it is the rave reviews of local diners, made accessible through social media platforms, that guests crave.
Many hotels have called upon famous chefs to set up shop in their venue, but that isn’t the immediate answer for some. Consider creating a menu that showcases local fare, cocktails with culturally- inspired names, or even locally sourced ingredients. By giving guests a place to break bread together, they’ll be sure to linger in the integrated lobby during their stay.
Focus 3: Create Sales Opportunities
Out of a survey of 1,500 travelers, 66 percent answered that having free Internet access at hotels strongly informs their decision of where to stay. Tech amenities are one of the most important factors in choosing a hotel these days, so technology that is fast, easy to use with apps and services integrated into the brand are a must.
Creating opportunities for hotel guests to stay longer and enjoy the space creates more sales opportunities for a hotel. By integrating the lobby layout, hoteliers can also create room for vendors to serve guests needs. Not only will this make guests feel taken care of, but it can also increase revenue.
Focus 4: Lighting the Way
The best lighting complements and enhances whatever it touches, and for hotels, it can create an ambience that lures guests in and invites them to linger. Proper lighting can be used to draw attention to important places in a hotel lobby. It creates a wayfinding tool that directs guests where they need to go, which is especially important in an integrated lobby layout where less compartmentalization and more open space reigns supreme. For the best value, choose LED lighting that requires less energy and lasts longer.
Potential interruptions of services can make planning for a lobby renovation a daunting task. Careful planning, timing, and phasing of changes can take the sting out of the experience and get a hotelier on their way to crafting the “it” space in their neighborhood.
With a few layout tweaks, enhanced service, and specific attention to guests’ memory-making senses, hoteliers can increase the value of their hotel without leaving the lobby.
About the Author
Renee Chiarelli is tvsdesign’s Associate Principal.