How Hotel Design Can Create a More Memorable Stay

A Sense of Place

By Brian Obie Founder, Obie Hospitality | November 19, 2017

A hotelís design plays a major role in making a traveler feel welcome to their destination. Itís important that the buildingís exterior communicate that straight away. I like to see balconies and terraces with large flower pots and sunny umbrellasÖ something with personality thatís inviting and a little different. Itís crucial to me to convey a sense of uniqueness in this age of sterile, square roof lines that dominate many of our cities. From the exterior outset, I want something that makes a guest say ďOh, I hope I have one of those rooms; Iíd like to experience that.Ē It sets people up for an expectation of a great and memorable stay.

Along with a memorable exterior, we try to bring the destination inside the walls of the hotel in a variety of ways, including using local art and artists, designing themed rooms that celebrate the local culture and uniqueness of the region, as well as positioning windows throughout the property that constantly encourage our guests to look outside and be reminded of exactly where they are.

We design our hotels with the expected modern comforts (double sinks and large showers and of course great bed linens), but we also want something that goes a little above and beyond the usual to make for a better stay, like improving upon the ice machine or making business centers a place you actually want to hang out. People love to be treated to something more than they expect.

Iíve had a lifetime of travels and time away from home, so thatís why I appreciate it so much when thereís a differentiation that you donít find very often in a hotel, especially one that helps you remember your trip. You feel taken care of and as though the hotel cares about you as a guest, which means you want to go back and see them again.

Themed Rooms and Memorable Guest Rooms

We have a large selection of themed rooms, which most of our guests seem to enjoy. For example, at our hotel in Boise, we highlight the Basque heritage of the region (and nearby Basque Block) with themed rooms that tell this story and offer specifics for guests wanting to learn more. It goes beyond fun and whimsical design elements to an actual educational experience. Similarly, our Boise Art Museum rooms were curated by museum staff to present meaningful works and convey a mini museum experience within the guest room, directing guests further to the nearby museum itself, which is a fantastic resource.

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Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.