Everyday Ways to Elevate Your Hotel Club Lounge
By Jeff Hart General Manager, Los Angeles Airport Marriott | March 08, 2020
What makes a great hotel lounge? This is a question the team at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott asked before embarking on a full property transformation. The project in full included the renovation of its guest rooms, meeting spaces, dining concepts, and the introduction of a new, state-of-the-art M Club Lounge.
The hotel club lounge as we know it, is getting an upgrade. From concierge access to exceptional views, and stellar food and beverage, hotels are finding that guests are willing to pay a premium to have access to a heightened hotel lounge experience. There is certainly a level of exclusivity and luxury that comes with club lounges, and around the world we are seeing exquisite amenities and access to VIP spaces being added to club lounges. While these sort of enhancements are great, there are many simple ways in which a club lounge experience can be elevated.
From where staff is stationed to the hours in which the facility is open, a few small adjustments can take the club lounge experience up several notches. When first introducing the M Club Lounge, several factors were considered as both small and grand touches that would make the space standout. By implementing these practices and enhancing everyday moments, a club lounge can quickly go from ordinary to extraordinary. This kind of shift ultimately creates brand zealots, keeps loyal customers coming back, and can birth a new generation of return travelers.
During its own club lounge renovation, the Los Angeles Airport Marriott sought out to create an inviting space that wasn't just good, but truly great with stand out features, sense of destination, and amenities suited to the most discerning guest. The goal? Change the perspective of a tired, traditional club lounge and create an environment that provides unprecedented value to guests, keeping them coming back again and again. Thinking beyond an experience that offered little to guests but so-so breakfast offerings, or a mediocre happy hour. The new lounge would feature chef-crafted cuisine, access to technology, added comforts, and elements of personalization.
To spruce up member areas and create a lounge experience that truly stands out to loyal members and travelers, consider implementing these features, amenities and unique touches.
Create a sense of familiarity and undivided attention to the area by dedicating staff and attendants to care for the lounge and its guests. Additionally, consider placing a team member outside of the space during peak times to interact with day-to-day traffic and serve as a guide to the space. By adding this team member, not only are guests greeted with a friendly face and given access to helpful information, they are also able to receive personalized attention that makes the experience unique to them.
Bring the Destination to Life
A club lounge gives another opportunity to provide a sense of place, and help tell the story of the destination. Through decor, food and beverage, aesthetic, and even music, guests can really experience the city, its character, and unique flavors. The club lounge should serve as an extension of the destination itself and give travelers a flavor of the city they are visiting.
For the early risers, road warriors, and guests coming into town after a long day of travel, offer extended hours and provide a place to be. For that cup of coffee before an early flight, spot to grab a late night cocktail, or meet the final deadline of the day; be the destination your guests need at any point in their journey. When possible, create a 24-hour space that gives ease of access all day. If logistically, 24-hour operation isn't feasible, consider extending by an hour or so earlier in the morning and/or later in the evening. Extended hours go a long way to meeting the needs and varying schedules of guests.
Food and beverage can make or break the club lounge experience. This is the area to really knock it out of the ballpark and should far exceed typical continental options. Provide convenient all day snacking options, both indulgent and healthy, access to still, sparkling and chilled water, and of course, coffee and espresso. Consider implementing unique and ever-changing breakfast offerings, fresh juices, hot and cold items, and grab-and-go bites. In the evenings, design a happy hour with beer, wine and even signature cocktail offerings.
During the happy hour, lights can be adjusted, the tone of music can change, and when space allows, even a bar can open with additional items available. A club lounge can become more than a place to go, it can and should become the place to be.
Lighting sets the mood of a space and should be reflective of the feeling you would like guest's to experience while there. Perhaps the feeling is one of energy, or brilliance, quiet, event hustle and bustle. Understand your customers and create a space that meets their needs. Too often, club lounges are dark, and even sometimes dreary, creating a feeling of seclusion. Consider flipping this idea on its head and opening up the space with windows and areas that provide natural lighting.
A lightened up atmosphere lifts the overall tone of the space and inspires guests and their most brilliant ideas. Does the mood in the space change throughout the day? Great! Adjust lighting as the tone of the space shifts from day to night.
Comfortable Seating and Ease of Access
Seating should be accessible and plentiful. Provide an array of comfortable seating and lounge options that give areas for groups, pairs and individuals to find reprieve or an opportunity to connect and socialize. Ample lights and electrical outlets are other simple touches that provide ease of access and make an impact on the experience the guest has in the space, how long they stay, and their readiness to come back. Business travelers and road warriors are logging hours, make it easy for them to meet deadlines and tackle their workload with desks, comfortable workstations, and areas to meet, brainstorm and tackle the day ahead.
Provide Interesting Views
Give lounge members access to unique and stunning views. This could be the ocean, mountains, nearby city, or a unique feature of the hotel. At the Los Angeles Airport Marriott, the M Club Lounge is located on the 18th floor of the hotel and provides sky-high views of the nearby runways of Los Angeles International Airport and the planes flying by. It provides an interesting vantage point and experience that cannot be had anywhere else in the hotel. The view alone invites conversation, a space for photos, and makes the upgrade to the lounge level worthwhile to many guests who may not be reward members.
Provide Upgrade Options
At its core, a club lounge provides a hotel's most loyal guests with an area that makes them feel at home and elevates their experience to the highest level. To provide a level of exclusivity but also approachability and friendliness, provide upgrade options to guests who may fall outside of the reward or point levels. This is another way to capture a guest and keep them on property to experience the hotel to its fullest. By earning that traveler's attention and providing something they may not have experienced otherwise, we receive another opportunity to exceed their expectations, and in turn, hopefully create another brand loyal traveler
The Los Angles Airport Marriott has recently completed a $50 million property-wide transformation, which included the redesign of 1,000 guest rooms, launch of a 4,000 square foot M Club Lounge with panoramic views of the LA skyline and Los Angeles International Airport runways, the introduction of new restaurants and dining concepts, and a complete overhaul of the property lobby.
Additionally, the renovation has included the redesign of its 50,000 square feet of meeting and event spaces. The new space supports the Los Angeles Airport Marriott's accelerated performance in meetings and events and solidifies its place as the premier West Coast airport property.
Offering an ideal setting for planners to coordinate convenient and impactful meetings near an international travel hub, the Los Angeles Airport Marriott's redesigned ballrooms and pre-function spaces feature a bold and innovative look. The property boasts more than 29 meeting rooms, including the 12,320 square-foot Marquis Ballroom, which can accommodate a variety of groups and events for up to 1,700 people.
The spaces, with a California-inspired design, feature re-imagined public areas designed for connection and collaboration. With rooms conveniently located all on one floor, meetings at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott offer ease of access and planning for groups, and are complete with state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems, RFID locks, and electronic reader boards.
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