At the SOLD OUT BITAC WEST
Hotel Conference, October 14-16, 2012, there were some great panel discussions on today’s hotel needs and issues. Glenn Haussman, Editor in Chief, Hotel Interactive, wrote an exciting article
called “Unlocking Lobby Potential” which was published on October 18, 2012 after BITC WEST 2012. The design-driven, skilled panelists included: David Dunphy the Principal of Studio Hirsch Bedner Associates; Sara Pickard the President of Sarah Pickard Design Studio; Robert Lee the Vice President of The Hotel Group; and Glenn Haussman as facilitator and contributor.
In the ever changing hotel industry, we all must be aware of the trends that create new opportunities, attract more guests, and add revenue to the hotel bottom line.
Hotel lobbies have changed over time and now include one interactive space to heighten social experiences; to give guests a place where they can be alone or together; and it gives the hotel a place to sell more food and drink. Take Starbucks as an example, who as of 2009 had 16,706 locations, in 55 countries.
The re-design of the lobby keeps guests from walking out the door to go elsewhere. Many guests crave continual social interaction. Many hotel lobbies are integrating the business center with an open bar concept while continuing to meet the needs of those who want a quiet space to use their computers.
In hotel lobby design, it is imperative to create separate, multiple zones for social networking while including areas for those people that want to be alone. It is not that hard to accomplish this feat. Simple things like planning electric plug outlets and seating
sections that include sofas, can be incorporated.
Hotel check-in areas are also evolving by eliminating boundaries between the guests and the front desks. Hotel clerks are getting more mobile through the use of iPads or desks.
As I always said, “there is no excuse for poor taste or bad design” in hotels. Timeless designs can be accomplished on a budget. Like all of us, we are always looking for “extraordinary”.
The Hilton Garden Inn has been busy requiring implementation of the “Project Grow” scenarios into their hotels. Project Grow focuses on the public space in their hotels. It is used to encourage guests to dine, socialize or to stay connected within the hotel during their stay. With this in mind, Interior IIG (www.interiorimagegroup.com
), Patti Tritschler and her team, a leading architectural design firm, was retained to create an atmosphere within the public space that would benefit the business traveler. This space focused on guests as they dined, worked and entertained, as well as the weekend traveler. Incorporating several small meeting areas, along with semi private divided areas to plug in to work and to conference was a requirement. In addition, at the end of a long travel or work day, the dining and lounge areas must come alive to provide areas for guests to socialize. The bar and chef’s table offer a dual purpose, in the morning a buffet for breakfast and in the evening a place to order an appetizer, drink, and to socialize. With brightly colored, patterned fabrics and a dual-sided electric fireplace, the lounge seating
areas provide a comfortable place to gather. Ottomans placed within the seating
area provide a comfy, updated look. What amazed me about the Hilton Garden Inn Lobby remodel is how all of it was accomplished within budget.
In addition to incorporating the Hilton Garden Inn Project Grow requirements, the property decided to further enhance the space with a new expanded bar, dual sided electric fireplace, and check in desk. The glow of 3form back lit onyx and marble countertops provides a welcoming experience for guests. The “welcome to the garden” graphic and artwork enhance the space along with lanterns and greenery which provide a modern rustic environment.
This particular Hilton Garden Inn is seven years old, located near the Buffalo International Airport in New York. It is owned by Buffalo Lodging Associates, who owns over 70 properties across the USA and Canada. This property serves a business and leisure travel audience and this modernization project will be finished in the Spring of 2013. Interior Image Group has also worked with several other Buffalo Lodging properties as well as some Hilton Properties.