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.

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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.

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

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Coming up in February 2019...

Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.