The Five Most Important Areas of Your Hotel: Paying Attention to Focal Points Will Pay Big Dividends

By Amy Locke Director, Interior Design, Hatchett Hospitality | November 21, 2010

Every hotel renovation or new build involves plenty of "to do" lists. Here's one that's short and should help the finished project succeed – spectacularly.


Research shows that it takes as little as three seconds for us to form our impression of a new person or place. This first impression is nearly impossible to change and it sets the tone for the remainder of the relationship.

That's why your lobby is important – because it's where guests start their visit and where they learn what to expect in every space of your hotel. It's also where guests end their visit, so the lobby may determine IF the guest intends to return at all.

The lobby is among an owners' – and a designer's – toughest challenges because it must present a look that carefully blends brand standards, geographic location, and client mix, without forgetting the budget. So how can your lobby create a "WOW" factor with visitors? Consider these ideas:

  • Use architectural elements to interest the eye and create a dramatic look. Examples include arches that are trimmed with thick wood molding, columns covered in marble or exotic woods, and dome or barrel ceilings featuring a mural.
  • Use design features to convey a comfortable feeling that welcomes and soothes. For example, create the appeal of an outdoor atrium by strategically combining a skylight with lots of greenery and open space. Or have a cozy courtyard by using greenery to surround a fountain or other water element. Other options are a floor-to-ceiling stacked stone wall, a dramatic over-sized fireplace, or a large waterfall.
  • Use upscale trim materials such as woodwork, stone, and granite to create eye-popping appeal on wall panels, front desk, and buffet/beverage bar. Be creative with both the materials you use and where you use them. And for the budget-conscious, there are many great looking "faux" options.
  • Use space and furniture to design a living room-like lobby which has some open space, but also plenty of alcoves for privacy. Today's lobby serves as part business center, part meeting place, and part meal area. This type of multi-purpose lobby appeals to travelers who want to work with colleagues or socialize with friends without going to a guest room.
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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.