Energizing Hotel Lobbies

By Deborah Forrest President, ForrestPerkins | September 17, 2017

Hotel lobbies are undergoing an exciting evolution. Architects, designers, hotel owners, and operators are re-thinking hotel lobbies and transforming them into active social hubs that are becoming the heart of hotels. With flexible designs, professionals are creating spaces that support work and play, dining venues and bars that morph throughout the day, communal tables with computers, library settings for quiet reflections, and game rooms for pure play. In many cases, the goal is to make the lobby as interactive as possible and to attract visitors and locals alike. In some cases, such as the Fairmont Washington, D.C., where ForrestPerkins renovated the public spaces, activated lobbies can translate into increased ROI.

alt text
A sculptural Mural Provides the Backdrop for the Reception Desks at the Fairmont Washington, D.C., Georgetown

“With the redesign of the new lobby bar, we have increased food and beverage revenues in this area by 40 percent year-over-year,” says Christian Klaus, Director of Operations, Fairmont Washington, D.C., Georgetown.

As architect and interior designer, ForrestPerkins approached the public spaces including the entire lobby, loggia, outdoor courtyard garden, and Kennedy Ballroom, which is directly beneath the courtyard, with a detailed master plan. To activate the lobby, a two-story space adjacent to the courtyard, it was important to create a sense of drama, and simultaneously provide intimate places to gather. ForrestPerkins drew inspiration from an aerial view of Washington, DC, an undercurrent that runs throughout the design, to create a sense of place for visitors. To enhance the guest arrival experience, the firm created a new entry vestibule with a revolving door, which also mitigates outdoor air intrusion, and redesigned the lobby as a dynamic, multi-functional space that includes a focal bar and a variety of seating options to maximize food and beverage revenue.

A sculptural mural inspired by an archival map from the early 1800s, provides the backdrop for the new sleek white marble and polished bronze reception desks. ForrestPerkins collaborated with Kevin Barry Fine Art to create this mixed-metal mosaic mural of the city of DC, executed in warm golden tones of brushed, polished, and satin metals of varying heights that suggest the density and vibrancy of the city. The major streets as laid out by the original city planner, Pierre Charles L’Enfant, are shown in bronze, as are the National Mall and the White House grounds.

alt text
Creating an Immediate Connection to the Courtyard from the Lobby at the Fairmont Washington, D.C.

Hotel Newswire Headlines Feed  

Coming up in April 2018...

Guest Service: Empowering People

Excellent customer service is vitally important in all businesses but it is especially important for hotels where customer service is the lifeblood of the business. Outstanding customer service is essential in creating new customers, retaining existing customers, and cultivating referrals for future customers. Employees who meet and exceed guest expectations are critical to a hotel's success, and it begins with the hiring process. It is imperative for HR personnel to screen for and hire people who inherently possess customer-friendly traits - empathy, warmth and conscientiousness - which allow them to serve guests naturally and authentically. Trait-based hiring means considering more than just a candidate's technical skills and background; it means looking for and selecting employees who naturally desire to take care of people, who derive satisfaction and pleasure from fulfilling guests' needs, and who don't consider customer service to be a chore. Without the presence of these specific traits and attributes, it is difficult for an employee to provide genuine hospitality. Once that kind of employee has been hired, it is necessary to empower them. Some forward-thinking hotels empower their employees to proactively fix customer problems without having to wait for management approval. This employee empowerment—the permission to be creative, and even having the authority to spend money on a customer's behalf - is a resourceful way to resolve guest problems quickly and efficiently. When management places their faith in an employee's good judgment, it inspires a sense of trust and provides a sense of higher purpose beyond a simple paycheck. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.