How to Make Music Work For Your Hotel

As a hotelier, your biggest concern is ensuring a great guest experience. Of course, that means providing excellent customer service and five-star amenities, but it also means creating the right atmosphere. People experience things with all of their senses, so ambiance matters. An overwhelming scent or off-putting lighting can tarnish a guest’s impression of your property. And the same goes for music. The right soundtrack has the power to change a person’s mood and influence their behavior, so you should be putting much thought into the music choices at your hotel.

While you should aim for music that reflects who you are, that doesn’t mean you should be playing the same playlist throughout your property. Context is important. What’s appropriate in the lobby is likely not the best choice for the onsite bar or hotel gym. Here are a few tips for choosing the right music for each space in your hotel.

In the lobby

The atmosphere in the lobby, more than any other space, should be a reflection of your brand identity. It’s the first experience a guest will have at your property, so it should set the tone for the rest of their stay. Look for music that expresses who you are. Is your property classic and elegant? An instrumental might be the way to go. Cool and trendy? A contemporary playlist of indie songs is likely more appropriate. If possible, incorporate a few local artists to celebrate your community.

You should also consider the tempo of your musical choices. Weary travelers will appreciate something calm and soothing when they arrive. Slower music will also make any wait times feel shorter and less stressful.

At your onsite restaurant and bar

Restaurants are dynamic spaces that can change a lot depending on the time of day, and day of the week. You’ll need a few different playlists to meet the varying needs of your restaurant. During the day, fun light tracks will create an upbeat atmosphere without interfering with lunchtime conversation. Happy hour, on the other hand, can be livened up with an energetic playlist of upbeat songs.

Music can also be used to influence behavior. If you’re hoping for patrons to linger (and spend more on drinks) a slower tempo will encourage customers to settle in and take their time. For high turnover, however, stick with fast and loud tracks that will motivate guests to act quickly.

In the gym

When it comes to a gym playlist, your guests need music that will get them in the zone. Typically, that means something energetic, with a good beat. Electronic and pop music are excellent choices for this space. Just remember to use the radio version of the songs you choose and keep the volume at an appropriate level. You’ll likely have guests that will want to listen to their own tunes (with headphones), and blaring background music will make that difficult to do.

In your guest rooms

The music in guest rooms should be entirely under the control of your guests. It’s their space, and you want them to feel comfortable. A bluetooth speaker they can connect to using their smartphone, makes a great addition to any room. Your guests will appreciate being able to bring their personal playlists with them.

Music is a powerful medium, with the ability to affect our experience and behavior. As such, it’s something that shouldn’t go overlooked by hoteliers. Putting together an effective playlist may sound intimidating, but you don’t have to do it yourself. There are several music-curating companies out there, like Soundsuit and Ambie, that have been used by hotels to strengthen their brand identity and improve guest experience.

5 Tips for Making the Most of Your Hotel Lobby

The lobby is one of the most important spaces of a lodging operation. Whether they’re checking in, checking out, or waiting to meet friends, every guest spends time there. It’s where they form their first and last impressions of your property. So ensuring optimal design and functionality should be a priority. Here are our top tips for making the most out of your hotel lobby:

Utilize an integrated lobby layout

First and foremost, you want your lobby to be welcoming. It should be a place guests feel inspired to sit down and spend some time. And it’s a positive feedback loop. A welcoming ambiance will encourage guests to linger, and people relaxing and enjoying the space will create a welcoming ambiance. But how do you get the ball rolling? A lot of it has to do with layout.

The key to an inviting lobby is integration. Instead of designing a traditional lobby with a front desk and little else, try to blend in other functional zones. Places to lounge, places to eat, places to work—a variety of seating options will turn your lobby into a dynamic space your guests can enjoy, instead of just pass through. And if your staff are equipped with a tablet, you can skip the traditional front desk altogether.

Add more plants

There is a plethora of benefits associated with indoor plants. In addition to being aesthetically appealing, plants help filter pollutants out of the air, reduce noise levels, and alleviate stress. It’s the basis for the extremely popular trend of biophilic design. So add more plants to your lobby—it’ll be good for the wellbeing of your guests and staff alike.

Offer food and beverages

Nothing encourages people to sit down and relax quite like food and beverages. So consider having things to eat and drink on offer in your lobby space. It’ll go a long way in converting it from a simple transition space to the buzzing epicenter of your property.

Depending on the size and culture of your property this can take many different forms. Full cafe and bar service will make sense for some hotels while a complimentary tea and coffee station will be the most practical for others. Whatever you choose, try and a throw in a little taste of the local culture—that’s what most of your guests are there for after all.

Provide entertainment

In addition to offering things to eat and drink, providing entertainment can do a lot to make guests feel welcome in your lobby. Whether you go as big as hosting live music or as simple as providing board games and reading material, the presence of entertainment will tell your guests they’re welcome to kick back, relax, and enjoy the lobby.

Display useful information

As the hub of your hotel, your lobby is the perfect place to display information relevant to your guests. And including info about the hotel as well as the surrounding community will undoubtedly be appreciated by them. Consider presenting transportation information and weather conditions (near exits), content about hotel amenities and events (near the counter and elevator banks), and info about local attractions and businesses.

And in this day and age, you should consider doing it all digitally. Using screens to display content (instead of posters and brochures) will keep your property feeling current, allow you to make regular updates as things change, and reduce paper waste at your property.

 

Your lobby is an important space. Every single guest walks through it multiple times in a day. It sets the tone for the entire property, so make sure you do everything you can to get the most out of it.

 

 

Inspire with Art: 6 Tips for Choosing Pieces for Your Property

What travelers are looking for in a hotel has changed a lot over the years. While run-of-the-mill chain hotels were favored in the past (for a standardized experience you could count on), guests today are looking for something completely different. Unique spaces that inspire (and look good on social media posts) are a top priority for many. Generic decor just doesn’t cut it anymore.

So how do you deliver inspiring, one-of-a-kind design? The possibilities are only limited by your imagination. But one way to showcase your property’s individuality is through the artwork you display. Obviously, this means forgoing the mass-produced landscapes and floral still-lifes that filled hotel wall space in decades past, but there’s a lot more you need to think about. Here are a few tips for choosing the right artwork for your property.

Hire a consultant

Navigating the art scene can be intimidating. Luckily, finding the perfect pieces to display at your property is a burden you don’t have to bear alone. Consider working with an art consultant to help you with the job. Their connections can give you access to studios and galleries you might not know about, and their expertise and experience can help you choose pieces that compliment your brand. They’ll be able to find you unique art that you wouldn’t otherwise consider. It’s their job to stay abreast of upcoming trends and spot talented emerging artists after all.

Showcase your identity

Finding art for your hotel isn’t just about choosing pieces that are beautiful and interesting. That’s an excellent place to start, but the pieces you ultimately pick have to reflect and compliment your brand identity. A lively hotel in Las Vegas would (or should!) have very different artwork than a quiet beachfront inn. So know your hotel! What’s its story? Who are your guests? What’s the local narrative? These are questions that will influence the choices you make (and will undoubtedly be asked by your consultant).

Know your parameters

Before you start looking for artwork, you first need to know some important physical and financial parameters. Assess your property to determine how many pieces you need. And then make sure you take measurements, so you know how much space you have to work with. Taking pictures is also advisable, as they can help you (and your consultant) determine how well a piece will fit the space and compliment the color palette.

You should also have a budget in mind from the beginning. This will keep the search to pieces within your price range. And don’t worry if it isn’t extravagant. The price of a piece doesn’t define the impact it will have on your guests.

Consider alternative mediums

When you’re on the hunt for pieces, don’t limit your search to just traditional paintings. There’s so much more out there. Depending on your brand, anything from photography to sculpture to multi-media installations could be the perfect addition to a space (be it in the lobby, a guest room, or an outdoor garden).

Look locally

We mentioned earlier that your artwork should showcase your property’s identity. And part of that identity is your locality. Choosing pieces by local artists is a great way to pay homage to where you are. And considering your guests are choosing to visit your part of the world, they’ll appreciate the local flavor.

Ensure proper installation

Once you’ve chosen the perfect pieces, there are a few more things to think about. Installation is an important piece of the puzzle. You need to consider height (pieces should be hung with their center at approximately eye level), lighting, framing, spacing, and maintenance.

 

Artwork can be a powerful tool for inspiring guests and conveying your property’s culture. Make sure you’re choosing the right pieces by following these six tips. Good luck!

7 Tips for a Work-Friendly Property

As more and more of the workforce has begun telecommuting (at least part-time), a new demographic has emerged in the travel industry. No longer tethered to the office, these remote workers have the ability to do their jobs from anywhere in the world. It’s a freedom many are taking advantage of—taking extended trips to exciting destinations without any time-constraints. But their newfound freedom doesn’t mean ditching their responsibilities altogether. They still need to do their jobs, and that requires finding accommodation that can serve as a comfortable and productive workspace.

Here are some tips for ensuring your property is ready for the remote workforce so you can capitalize on this growing market:

Design

Make it bright and beautiful >> Remote workers are going to be spending a lot of time at the accommodation they book, so they’ll want an inviting atmosphere. Ensure there’s lots of natural light, and unique design touches—which will enhance both productivity and creativity respectively. And try to infuse some local flavor into the decor. It’ll connect guests with their destination even when they’re stuck working indoors.

Feature multiple work-friendly spaces >> While you’ll likely have one space designed specifically for working, try and highlight some secondary areas that a guest might want to work from. Whether it’s a cozy armchair with a side-table, a chaise lounge on the patio or a comfortable bar chair at a breakfast counter, remote workers want to know they have options for moving around throughout the day.

Workspace

Provide the fundamentals >> Whatever spaces you design to serve as workstations require a couple of key pieces. In addition to a chair and tabletop, you’ll need to ensure there is a nearby electrical outlet, flexible lighting options, and a strong WiFi signal. And if possible, it’s preferable for the primary work area to be its own distinct space—as opposed to doubling as the kitchen table, for example—so guests can leave their work materials set up for the entirety of their stay.

Use ergonomic furniture >> For guests that are going to be working hours at a time it’s important to have furniture that is functional and comfortable.  Chairs should be sturdy, with good back support and tables should have a smooth surface with enough space for a laptop, coffee, and a book or two.

Get rid of clutter >> While a few unique design pieces can be useful for inspiring creativity, too many things lying around can be distracting. Make sure to avoid clutter so your guests can be at their most productive while on the job.

Special touches

Include local insights >> If you provide a local guide for your guests, consider including info specifically for your remote-working clientele. This could include recommendations for cafes to work at during the day as well as the nearest post offices and printing shops. They’ll appreciate the gesture.

Provide the supplies >> If you really want to impress your telecommuting guests, you can also include a few office essentials. A basket of pens and pencils, notepads, and post-its is a nice touch that won’t go unnoticed by your customers. And it won’t break the bank either.

 

Telecommuting is on the rise, and many people are seizing the opportunity to travel more and work-on-the-go. There’s a whole new segment of travelers looking for vacation accommodation that can double as a home office. Make sure you’re doing everything you can to catch the eye of these potential guests. They’re a growing cohort with the flexibility to book extended stays and return regularly. So don’t miss out!

Beyond the Bedroom: Hotel Design Trends for 2018

Today’s savvy nomad has realized that the hotel experience is an integral aspect of travel. Hotels are no longer merely the place of a morning departure and evening return, the place to shower and sleep, the place just to hang one’s hat; many guests expect their hotel to be an experience and an extension of its locale. Services and amenities continue to be important, and a beautiful space is essential, but travelers are increasingly choosing and returning to hotels based on ambiance. In other words, how your space feels is as important as what your hotel offers. Many recommend that a hotel create a home away from home, and that’s certainly important in the sense of comfort. A hotel should aim to be as comfortable as a home, but shouldn’t it offer more ease? In a sense, a hotel’s space should aspire to feel like the ideal home.

Rethink Ambiance

Travelers have eclectic tastes and strong expectations; still, it’s possible to enthuse them with unexpected features. The details of these features will depend on the brand you want to portray and story you want to tell – and make no mistake; ambiance tells a story. Decor continues to trend towards minimalism; however, simplicity can be executed in many ways. Some are choosing to mix neutral colors with soft blues, greens, and yellows. Others showcase one bold color – like a deep blue, red, or purple – set against softer creams and whites. Still others include urban art (like graffiti) as a striking visual statement. Mix and match tones, textures, and styles to produce unpredictable and engaging results.

One of the unique aspects your hotel has at its disposal is… itself. What is the history of the hotel? The building? If newly built, what is the inspiration behind its design? What is the history of the community? Every hotel has a story. Tell it through the traditional mediums of photographs, art, and displays, but also in the furniture you choose and the overall mood you set. Including pieces from local artists and artisans is a great way to tell your and your community’s story, and can also give your guests a unique glimpse at local ways of seeing the broader world.

This year many hoteliers will also rethink the function of their spaces.

Lobbies >> Front desks are increasingly being replaced with sit-down concierge desks where guests sip on coffee or wine while the check-in is conducted by staff with iPads. The lobby is your guest’s first interaction with a hotel’s physical space. It should be inviting, not pragmatic. Many hotels already have cafes, restaurants, or bars connected to their lobbies. Others are thinking beyond those mainstays, incorporating specialized bookstores, galleries, and libraries into their lobbies, opening a space for community members and guests to interact.

Rooms >> How often do guests use all the drawers in hotel rooms? Or hang a full closet of clothes? If your hotel caters to short stay visitors (and most do), the trend in room design is moving towards simplification with furniture designed especially for hotel rooms, including wall racks for hanging clothes, bed frames that enable a guest to slide their luggage underneath, and nightstands that double for desks. This trend is particularly appealing to hoteliers in urban markets where square footage is limited. Simplified furniture lends a spacious feel without needing as much space. Also, by designing variations in layout and differences in decor (through wall treatments, rugs, and lighting), hotels are increasingly providing a more distinct, fresh, and memorable experience, one that guests will be inspired to relive.

Incorporate Nature

Including natural elements in hotel design is not new in 2018, but it has recently gained a new name, and with that comes a whole philosophy for rebuilding a relationship between humans and their environment. Biophilic Design will be on many designers minds this year. Biophilic Design seeks to remedy the discord between our lifestyle (especially urban) and our innate desire to connect with nature. Designers with this mindset aim to integrate buildings into their surroundings, incorporate natural elements like large plants, wood and stone, and maximize natural light. In a hotel’s communal spaces, designers are incorporating vertical gardens and multi-level terraces. At resorts, room sizes are decreasing to make room for larger balconies and verandas. In urban and rural hotels alike, expansive windows enable the local foliage and panoramic views to become part of a room’s ambiance.

The Human Spaces report into the Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace suggests that having a view of nature can trigger a dopamine response, and that contact with nature “has a restorative effect,” reducing stress and contributing to overall well-being.  Designing spaces that incorporate elements from nature encourages an emotional connection with our environment, which will not only provide a sense of experience in your guests but also contribute to the productivity of your staff.

Embrace Technology

We crave more interaction with nature and people, but we’re also not willing to relinquish our electronic devices. Hotels should design bedrooms, boardrooms, and communal spaces that allow guests to stay connected.

Designers are creating clever ways to hide charging stations and preserve the décor of a room. Seamless doors in desks or nightstands open or lift to reveal USB ports and electrical outlets, enabling the modern guest to quickly plug in for work or play. Other designers are creating innovative ways to incorporate ports and outlets into the design of their headboards and other pieces. Hotels are also providing ports to enable guests to connect to their own media (Netflix, Apple TV, Google Play and YouTube) to watch their own content on the bigger screen. This is especially attractive for families who desire immediate access to cartoons and other programming for their young children, but many of us live in a world where we’re used to having our media at the tips of our thumbs. Offering access to our own media is one more way to offer the comforts of home, and offering access through innovative designs has the potential to elevate those home comforts.

Hotels are continuing to adopt smart technology like solar panels and personalized tablets to control room temperature and room service, but hotels are also ushering us into the future by embracing dynamic design features like wallpaper that changes color or pattern based on light and temperature. The hotels that deliver the most memorable experiences in 2018 will fuse innovation, design, and storytelling with comfort, leaving guests to return home to tell not only of their adventuring in your community, but of the experience they enjoyed throughout your hotel.

 

Start the New Year Right: Hospitality Trends for 2018

And just like that, 2017 has passed! We hope you had a wonderful (and profitable!) holiday season, and are excited about the year to come. January is a month for resolutions—an opportunity to reflect on the past year and think of ways to improve in the next. This is just as true for businesses as it is for individuals. We all have room for improvement. So if you’re looking to make some changes at your lodging operation, and are in need of inspiration, here are the top hospitality trends in design, technology, and operations, for 2018.

Design

Biophilic design >> Based on the idea that humans have an innate desire to be surrounded by nature, biophilic design is the newest trend in architecture and interior decor. It’s an aesthetic that—through the incorporation of natural elements—seeks to alleviate stress and improve wellness. As the hospitality industry is forever endeavoring to enhance the guest experience, it’s not a surprise that biophilic design is beginning to garner the interest of hoteliers across the globe. And to good effect; a study conducted by Terrapin Bright Green found that 36% more guests spend time in a lobby with biophilic design features. So what makes a space biophilic? Anything that creates a direct or indirect experience of nature. That includes the incorporation of plant and water features, maximizing natural lighting and using natural colors and materials (just to name a few).

Public spaces >> An emphasis on shared space is the current trend in hotel design. Inspired by the preferences of millenials who spend less time in their rooms and seek out places where they can socialize and collaborate—properties have shifted the focus from in-room amenities to curating comfortable and inviting shared spaces. Many are ditching the front-desk for living-room style lobbies where staff (equipped with iPads) can engage with customers more authentically, and guests can spend time working, reading and socializing.

Technology

Smart rooms >> From phones to socks, it seems like everything we use these days is getting a smart iteration. As the ubiquity of these devices grows, the technology is naturally finding its way into the hospitality industry. This means equipping rooms with things like smart TVs (so customers can stream their favorite content) to personalized climate and lighting control. Guests expect properties to have the same comforts and conveniences they’ve grown accustomed to at home.

Personalization >>Guest loyalty is won by hoteliers that go above and beyond. Now more than ever that means personalization like free wi-fi for the frequent business traveler or cafe recommendations for the coffee lover. Hotels today are using technological solutions to track customer habits and preferences in order to surprise and delight.

Operations

Community connections >>Another characteristic of millennials that is changing the hospitality game? The prioritization of experience over things. Travelers these days are highly motivated to engage with the communities they travel to. For hoteliers, this means it’s a good idea to do the same. Showcasing local artwork, collaborating with local businesses and ensuring staff is knowledgeable about local experiences will create the authentic experience these guests are looking for.

Going green >> Most people these days are concerned for the environment. And in addition to making changes to go green at home, travelers are prioritizing eco-friendly accommodation when on the road. There’s a lot hoteliers can do to fit this bill. Whether the changes are simple (like using more efficient light bulbs) or extensive (like installing a grey-water recycling system), environmentally conscious guests (and the earth!) will appreciate the effort.

 

It’s the beginning of a new year; the perfect time to consider new ways to improve your business. And if you’re in need of inspiration, why not start with these ideas for design, tech, and operations in hospitality. They’re a few of the biggest trends for 2018.