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!

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.