Hotel Lobby Design Trends
When it comes to designing a hotel, you should never overlook the lobby. A hotel’s lobby is the first impression that a hotel guests receive upon coming to stay with you. It helps to set the mood for the rest of the hotel itself and for your guest’s stay. Read on to discover some of the emerging trends in hotel lobby design.
In the hospitality industry, you don’t often get a second chance to make a first impression. Furniture, design, art, colour, texture and attention to detail all go into making a great first impression.
What exactly is a “lifestyle lobby”? Hotel lobbies are moving in a new direction, towards this idea of a lifestyle lobby. They are being designed to be more comfortable and welcoming– closer to your living room than to lobbies of years past, hence the name. They are designed for a lifestyle, rather than as an impressive pass-through space.
The Comforts of Home
Lobbies are now being redesigned, both in form and function, in order to make them appear more inviting. They are being designed to resemble modern living rooms, meant for interacting and socializing.
This is a departure from the previous hotel lobby design, where the primary function was to get the guests checked in and then move them out of the lobby, rather than encouraging them to linger and to interact with the space.
This is achieved by implementing the furniture and home accessories more similar to those you might find in someone’s home. Soft furnishings in approachable shapes, for example, are reminiscent of a person’s lounge space or living room at home. A gallery wall can resemble a similar feel as to one in your home. The emerging furniture style is tailored, but cozy offering guest comfortable lounge seating.
This also allows for a more communal, comfortable feel in the lobby, which is so important because it turns the lobby into a working space for business travelers to utilize. As opposed to generic artworks, the typical decor is now more personal or artistic– for example, ceramics and plants decorate these hotel spaces tastefully.
Lifestyle lobbies are not only cozy but interactive as well. This fosters more community in the lobby area and makes it more available as a common space, as opposed to a space to travel through on the way to your room. Often, a lobby is now set up with a common space, which may be an adjoining area or simply an additional space on an open floor plan. This area can be dedicated to the more interactive parts of the lobby and include more lounge furniture as being apart of the hotel design trends..
For example, video game stations and screens can be options explored to heighten engagement with guests and the hotel lobby. Another way to implement this interactive aspect is to make board games, such as Jenga or Scrabble, available in the lobby.
Certain areas or tables dedicated to interactive activities also help to solidify the lobby as a fun, modern common area which can include colorful lounge chairs.
Functionality Over Form
It is about the guest experience, so it is crucial that your hotel lobby be functional and designed accordingly– you want it to be attractive, but it must be designed with its purpose in mind first. If a space is beautiful but is not functional, it will not feel welcoming.
Segmenting the Hotel Lobby Space
To successfully design a multi-functional lobby, many hotels utilize a structure that segments the space into different zones. Each zone is designed for a particular purpose. This does not mean that the zones are defined by walls, rather, the spaces can be defined by furniture or other creative options such as plant walls or screens. Having these segments in the lobby also increases the time spent in the space, as well as the quality of guest engagement with it.
For example, different zones could be designed for the check-in process, a waiting area, or social hangout space. Organize these spaces based on the natural flow through the lobby that you want to encourage. You would likely want your waiting zone to be close to the check-in area, and would want to decorate each area according to its purpose. A waiting area would benefit from a television screen or coffee table books so that guests can occupy themselves until it is time to move over to the check-in zone.
Technology in the Lobby
We are now seeing a change in tech for hotel lobbies. It is becoming increasingly important to implement smart technology into the check-in process and more. However, it is key that the technology does not overtake the experience and detract from the personal feel that is so important to convey to a guest.
Smart technology is being put to use in the lobby during the checkout process as well as later on during guests’ stay. The use of mobile door keys is increasing, making it quicker and easier to check-in guests. It also serves as a convenience for guests throughout their time at the hotel– as long as guests have their phone, they run no risk of losing their hotel room key!
Many hotels are also implementing a messaging system, so that, rather than calling the front desk, guests can message hotel staff with their questions or needs. This is convenient for the guest as well as for the front desk staff. This keeps the phone lines free and saves the hotel time and money. The smart technology being brought into the hotel lobby experience increases interactions and efficiency.
Keeping the Human Element
While the implementation of new technologies is exciting and has a functional aspect to it, it is also important to keep the human element of the lobby experience as well. This is a careful balance that must be examined and taken into account. Technology offers many opportunities for innovation, but when it comes to hospitality, the human experience and connection are also key.
Many hotels are balancing the two by putting different spots at the forefront of the hotel lobby.
For example, if the hotel is using self-check-in screens, the design of the space moves away from the front desk as the focal point. Instead, stations that focus on social hospitality are placed as the central point. This could look like a complimentary champagne toast as guests enter the lobby for the arrival experience, or another such station.
Ultimately a good hotel lobby design focuses on how it makes people feel and what it encourages people to do while they’re there.