The Lively Lobby
The Lively Lobby
In the early days, the hotel lobby was a place to see and be seen. Think traveling aristocrats gathering in the 18th-century hotel salons, the fictional grandeur of the Grand Budapest Hotel, or Cary Grant at the hotel bar in the Plaza in North by Northwest.
Over time, the hotel lobby lost its’ luster and often served only as a functional space to check in or out, park luggage, or as a kind of dead space to linger in limbo.
But recent years have seen the hotel lobby evolve back into a vibrant social scene, a hybrid of work and play, and even a destination spot. With advancements in technology and the changing needs of travelers, hotels are investing more in putting life into their lobbies.
The current evolution of the hotel lobby is driven by several factors:
Technology advancements – Smartphones, Wi-Fi, and communal workspaces have helped transform the hotel lobby into a connected and interactive space.
Digital nomads and bleisure travel – The continued growth of combining business with leisure, and the ability to work from anywhere make the tech-savvy lobby an attractive space for meeting, working, or relaxing.
The changing needs of travelers – The post-pandemic traveler has a renewed desire for authentic experiences and social interaction.
By transforming their lobbies, hotels create a more memorable and welcoming environment. They can attract new business and differentiate themselves from the competition.
Hotel Lobby Goals
First impressions are lasting. Your lobby sets the mood for the guest experience. These are some considerations for livening up your lobby:
- Design for comfort and style. Whether your hotel is mid-century modern, vintage velvet, urban funky, or eclectic cowboy, find your unique style and set the mood. Make sure to have a variety of comfortable seating, functional tables, and soft lighting. Consider playing ambient background music and incorporating subtle scents for a more inviting and memorable atmosphere.
- Offer work-friendly options. Designate workstations with desks, chairs, power outlets, and task lighting. Include free high-speed internet access and both private and communal workspaces.
- Up your food and beverage game. Whether you have a great lobby bar, a charming little coffee cafe’ or a self-serve kiosk, drinking and dining options entice guests to linger longer.
- Create social gathering spaces. These can include book nooks or game tables, outdoor seating, picnic tables, fire pits, and more.
- Go for glam. Curate conversation-making art and sculpture or a well-appointed library.
- Partner with local businesses. Collaborate with local shops and artisans to showcase their products or services with lobby retail space. This helps create a unique sense of place for your guests.
- Hosts events and workshops. This can include live music and performances, art exhibits, book readings, cooking classes, and more.
- Add more plants. Not only aesthetically appealing, plants help clean the air, reduce noise levels, and often have a calming effect on people.
Reasons to be Cheerful
A positive lobby experience can lead to:
- Increased guest satisfaction, positive feedback, word-of-mouth public relations
- Enhanced brand reputation
- Increased foot traffic and possible revenue from lobby amenities
- Partnerships with local businesses and community leaders
By investing in these improvements, hotels can invigorate their lobbies into dynamic and welcoming social spaces that enhance the guest experience, improve brand recognition, and bring in new revenue opportunities.