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Making Old New Again (Part 2)

It’s time to goose your lobby to reflect shifting consumer trends. Here’s exactly what to do.

Monday, December 22, 2014
Cherryl Marie
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Be sure to check out the first part of this amazing article here.

Your lobby is your livelihood and if you haven’t activated it make it more social you’re leaving money on the table. And we most definitely want you folks making money and boosting that customer loyalty. Here’s some more ideas how to make your lobby relevant and profitable.

Designing the lobby the right way is paramount. Whether you have a designer in-house, or you hire a contractor, make sure you do your research and that whoever is designing your lobby ensures that your brand image doesn’t get lost between the lines (or in this case, between the walls).

A way to people’s hearts is through their stomachs so why not win them over as soon as they walk in? Allocate room for a lobby bar that offers small bites paired with signature concoctions – maybe have your lead mixologist mix up nostalgic cocktails from the first year your hotel opened and equip your staff with those stories to tell guests when the timing is appropriate (they also make for great media hooks).

At Hilton Nashville Downtown, their recently renovated lobby will invite guests to try Trattoria Il Mulino when it opens in February 2015, and is a name that any true authentic foodie is familiar with. “The menu currently in the lobby bar is seasonally based and features items locally sourced,” said Will Freeman, General Manager. “The extensive beverage menu now offers Tennessee Whiskeys and Kentucky Bourbons – served with an oversized single ice cube.” Not only does this gain Hilton Nashville Downtown brownie points for sourcing right from their “neighborhood” but it serves as a reminder to the importance of showcasing products unique to your city.

When you’re making a sound investment in elevating your hotel’s focal gathering point, make sure it’s also music to people’s ears. If you have a concert venue, what better music to play than that of musicians playing that weekend? Maybe it’s a live band in the lobby that attracts the crowds “after hours” with mellow jazz or piano tunes. Maybe you’re simply looking to welcome your guests with the calming sound of water cascading from behind the front desk.

Hear us out – if you set up guests’ experiences the proper way, the sound of “cha-ching” will be music to your ears.

Lobbies still serve as waiting areas for guests so make sure your furniture is inviting. The newest kid on the block in Miami belongs to the Marriott family, The Miami Beach EDITION, a very thoughtful remake of the landmark 1955 Seville Hotel.

“Filled with a variety of comfortable seating groupings and intimate lounging areas, the lobby will embody the EDITION's next-generation spirit, a place where the lines between work and play, socializing and networking, begin to blur.”

Consider the material and color of your furniture when picking it out for your newly decorated space. White suede may look great at first, but with that much foot traffic coming through this area, you may regret that decision a few months from installation. Comfort is king, so while it may please aesthetically, make sure it receives a top rating for functionality and comfort too. Test out fabrics and textures and make sure they look and feel right with the rest of the hotel.

Be mindful of the proximity of the lobby to the main street because this could be a game changer for you and the crowd you attract. Lobbies draw in a large number of people who aren’t even there to stay.

“Our new lobby provides new venues for guests visiting downtown attractions and events like the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, concerts at the Bridgestone Arena & Ryman Auditorium and the Music City Center,” explained Freeman.

If there is a huge convention in town, make sure your lobby attractions are looking their best and that your staff is ready to take on the extra volume of people. Expect that your lobby will serve as a gathering and meeting area for business professionals, or a bachelor party or even a family reunion. This is just another window to sell them food, drinks and entertainment.

When it’s all said and done, you have to, and should, show it off. Take advantage of your new bragging rights by tapping into your social media outlets. Communicate the new space through images on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Blog about it on your hotel website and reveal the changes from start to finish. Produce a press release and invite media to tour the new areas. If you’re so inclined, throw a party!

Freeman couldn’t have said it better when he shared, “the lobby of a hotel is really the heart and soul of a hotel. It is the gathering room for your guests and it has to make the statement for the personality of your property.”

Times sure are changing, so there’s no better way to keep up with the demand of travelers than to welcome the future and accept the challenge. Don’t have the budget to conduct a complete do-over? Well the lobby is a great place to start. Small steps turn into big strides and as long as you are making an effort and demonstrating your ambition to guests, you’re already way ahead of your game.

Credit
Cherryl Marie
Author
Hotel Interactive® Editorial Division
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