What's Trending in Hotel Lobby and Public Space Designs?

By Samuel J. Cicero Sr. Founder, Cicero's Development Corporation | November 27, 2016

We have all been there. After a long day of travel, exhaustion kicks in and you can hardly wait to reach the hotel. When the front desk attendant hands over the key, you can finally take a deep breath and get set for the fun-filled days ahead. For the business traveler, whose stay is less casual and more formal, a room key means it's time to relax and prepare for the next important meeting or to celebrate a success.

Lobbies

First things first: Every traveler deserves lobbies and public spaces that warmly welcomes them and awakens their senses, something more than a passageway to the front desk for expediting check-in and check-out. Economic pressures have caused lobbies to shrink down to a fraction of what they used to be. But now the lobby is back, the bigger the better.

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Lobbies are gradually evolving into hybrid areas, where families, young couples or friends, and business people can coexist. The multifunctional lobby of today includes diverse areas like quieter lounge spaces, full bookcases next to small coffee rooms, maybe a large piano for soft entertainment or even a kids’ corner. These trends are driving the hotel industry’s major brands to redefine what a “lobby” is in an all-out effort to connect with their guests on an emotional level from the moment they step inside.

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Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.