NATIONAL REPORT—Few buzzwords have dominated the hospitality industry like the current focus on “experiential travel.” But while the first wave of the mega-trend saw hotels looking for ways to connect their guests with authentic experiences outside their walls, today, one of the hottest topics in the hospitality industry is how to turn the hotel lobby into center-stage for immersive guest experiences, delivering experiential travel from the inside out.
Guests Want More than a Great Room
Research from Booking.com shows that about two-thirds of travelers today place greater value on experiences than material things. How does this impact their booking decisions? They want richer experiences that make them feel connected and engaged—and they know that means getting out of their rooms. Today’s travelers are looking for modern lobbies that offer a variety of spaces to suit their needs—whether it’s relaxing in a semi-private lounge, or socializing in a buzzing lobby bar.
Business Travelers are Leading the Lobby Revolution
It’s not just leisure travelers seeking elevated lobbies. Today’s hyperconnected business travelers can work anywhere, and they increasingly want to work outside their rooms. Moreover, 69% of business travelers also do leisure-related activities during their stay, and two-thirds of business travelers regularly extend business trips with leisure activities. The rapidly rising “bleisure travel” trend means business travelers are looking for lodging options that allow them to seamlessly move from work to play—to close their laptops and order a cocktail. As reported in the Gensler Hospitality Experience Index 2018, “The best hotels support business, leisure, and the growing blur between them.”
Lobbies Present High-ROI Opportunity
The 2018 Gensler report showed that the more activities a guest does at the hotel during their stay, the higher they rate the value and the guest experience—and the more likely they are to recommend the hotel to friends and family. Moreover, lobbies present the opportunity for high-ROI improvements in many hotels. Gensler’s research also showed that guests typically rate common areas lower than hotel rooms. In other words, if executed well, investing in building a next-generation lobby allows a hotel to take a low-performing, low-value feature and turn it into a stand-out differentiator that brings guests in the door and drives revenue.
The Key to ROI: Getting the Basics Right
To maximize their ROI, hotels must first sift through countless design fads and identify the lobby design trends that best capture guest expectations. But building the next-generation lobby is just the start. The most critical—and often overlooked—aspect of any hotel improvement project is putting the logistical plans in place to support and maintain new, elevated spaces and amenities—from keeping new features, new furniture and new materials looking their best, to keeping up with vastly different guest traffic patterns. Without this fundamental foundation in place, seemingly small issues can quickly cloud the guest experience and overshadow even the most luxe of lobbies. After all, as the Gensler Experience Index sums up, “When basics miss the mark, ‘wow’ moments fall flat.”
Lean on Trusted Service Partner Expertise, So You Can Focus on Your Core Business
Hotels bring in a long list of specialists to help with the design and build-out of renovation projects like adding a lobby bar or a new lounge space. That’s because hotels are in the hospitality business—not interior design, architecture, construction, etc. The same principle applies to tackling the logistical challenges of supporting and maintaining your lobby spaces: Leaning on trusted service partners gives you direct access to specialized expertise in areas like cleaning and sanitation, food safety and pest management. This consultative expertise mitigates risks and ensures your lobby investments are delivering maximum ROI, while freeing you and your staff to focus on your own specific contributions to outstanding guest experiences.
Start Here: Get Insider Tips to Get More Value from Your Lobby
A new eBook from Ecolab tackles the challenge of unraveling the key trends in next-generation lobby design — and gives you actionable tips for how to make sure you’re prepared to support your new and improved lobby spaces.