Making a lobby a comfortable experience to gather with others appeals to guests of all ages. And it brings them downstairs to be tempted by two additional revenue-generators: the hotel bar and restaurant.
Return on investment. That’s music to a hotel owner’s ears. Capital investment means big bucks, and sometimes that’s just not possible. What should the focus be on to see a return on investment when the budget doesn’t allow for a total revamp?
Fierce competition in the industry means your hotel must stay on top of design trends and technology advancements. Here are four areas where a focus can help you increase value to customers, which means an increase in the revenue stream.
Few companies today are willing to give their business – or submit their employees – to the numbing experience of a dull box of a meeting room. They’re also looking for a return on the investment, meaning engaged and invigorated meeting participants.
People aren’t just looking for a hotel meeting room anymore. They’re looking for a meeting experience. And, considering that many hotels now are seeing an increase in revenue as a result of providing more than just the physical room.
Experience, in this case, means investing in the appropriate technology and integrating it into a not-a-box design for these business function gathering spaces. The key to meeting customer expectations here is flexibility and versatility – without falling into the trap of looking too modular and assembly-like.
Renovation obstacles here tend to be external. Design and practicality have to find a middle ground so that there are ways to compensate for the acoustic impact of hard surfaces incorporated into new designs. Some of the event participants may only be attending virtually, so how light plays on tabletops can make a difference. The good news is that today’s technology lends itself to complementary design, rather than commanding attention.
Beautifully redesigned meeting rooms aren’t afraid to make a strong visual statement – but not at the cost of discomfort. Continuity comes to play where participants awaken from a dreamy bed and pillow and spend the day in ergonomically correct meeting room chairs that don’t cause backaches after 20 minutes of being seated. A focus on experience from arrival to departure creates more value and offers a bigger return on investment. It’s all about finding the balance of good-looking meeting rooms, and people feeling good in them.
Keep up with the technology times
Some décor transcends to timeless. The same cannot be said for technology. Thanks to Wi-Fi, we don’t have to worry too much about cables and connections. And for the most part, hotel guests aren’t looking for a hotel computer. They’ve got their own mobile devices which nowadays are computers in their own right.
What guests are likely looking for are things like lobby furniture layouts that are conducive to pulling out a laptop and doing a quick video chat while waiting for an Uber ride.
No matter what changes technology brings, one thing will remain the same. We need electrical outlets to recharge our mobile devices. And, not just up in our rooms. We’d like to do it while we’re at the bar, in the lobby, and even in the restaurant.
LED lights have gone from being expensive and clinical to warm and affordable. They can be used for every purpose throughout a hotel, and the minimum of a 30 percent energy savings means they really should be used everywhere. The EPA estimates that hotels in the United States spend more than $7.5 billion annually on energy, so LED is truly a design upgrade that provides a return on investment.
While LED can be beneficially bright, it’s not often the preferred effect. Hotel lighting trends currently favor layered lighting effects. It lets you highlight certain aspects of a room’s design or architectural features. LED makes for exceptional task lighting, as well. Any use of lighting that allows a guest to have a deeper personalized experience works in your favor.
Technology creeps in here, as well. Controls are just as important as the lighting. Switches are being replaced by interactive panels which have the added feature of sensing movement to turn on lights when guests arrive in the room. It’s an easy way to add a sense of expensive luxury to hotel rooms, and guests tend to appreciate the thoughtfulness – unless overly sophisticated controls leave them yearning for the days of the old-fashioned light switch.
Load up on the lobby
The lobby deserves priority treatment if a budget limits design ambitions. It creates the first impression, and it’s an opportunity to set expectations of the experience awaiting guests. This is where everybody meets. Is it a comfortable and inviting place for them?
A quarter of the nation’s population is millennials, and millennials are twice as likely to travel for business as the generation before them. They’re not interested in checking in to the hotel and chilling in their room. They’d rather congregate down in the lobby.
Hotel owners are aware of this, and that’s where they’re investing design dollars. The goal isn’t necessarily to design to appeal to millennials, but more about creating spaces conducive to the behaviors which have been pegged to them. Today’s redesigned lobbies offer a comfortable experience to gather with others, and this appeals to guests of all ages. It brings them down to be tempted by two important additional revenue-generators: the hotel bar and restaurant. Several hotels are using their bars to their advantage and made The World’s 50 Best Bars list for hotel bars in 2017. This is a great way to stand out and draw in a crowd of locals, appealing to more than just guests will provide an excellent ROI.
At Beachwood Customs, we have over 25 years’ experience in the hospitality industry. Contact us to learn more about how we can create a bespoke experience for your hotel design.