«As a city»
You’re telling me, weren’t we supposed to talk about lobby? Sure, but let’s take it slow. I like to think of a Hotel as a big city. This is where the parallelism between urbanism and interior architecture lies. And if we can compare the private homes to the rooms of the Hotel, the streets to the corridors, we can also create a parallelism between the square (fulcrum of aggregation) and the lobby.
What a magnificent figure of speech.
The lobby, as well as the “square” of a city, is the central heart of the Hotel, the most important space that promotes aggregation, conviviality, a sense of belonging.
Needless to say, maybe because I have already said in a previous article (if you have not read it, run to do it and take as much time as you want, I wait for you here), that the first impression is what matters. And what is the guest’s first impression based on? Facades apart, on the first thing they meet; the lobby. And once judgment has formed it is difficult to change it.
But back to our parallelism. A square, as already mentioned, isn’t only a place of passage, but it’s a space, a place where people live experiences. And so the lobby, or rather it must be. That’s why I’m talking about “rethinking” this environment.
We must abandon (we have already done so) the old concept of a lobby as a transit space whose only purpose is to allow guests to check-in and check-out.
We need to give it deeper meaning. The “new” traveler expects something more from us, from you.
The needs of your guests are, today, extremely heterogeneous. They want to meet, relax, socialize, work, and the boundaries between work and relaxation therefore thin out.
And it’s important, I would say fundamental, to consider all this when we design a lobby. Only in this way, your guests will have the feeling, experiencing the space, that this place has been designed “tailored” for them and this creates a sense of well-being and confidence.
So, basically, to make a long story short, the lobby must be thought of as an experiential space, as part of the journey, as an inclusive and convivial place.
In the Victoria Hotel and Resort project we placed the emphasis on the concept of conviviality. The lobby is a lounge space, where the furniture, the writing on the walls invite guests to live moments of aggregation and encourage them to be together.
I’ll tell you more, these spaces, that before were just waiting or passing areas, are rediscovering a new life, becoming not only community hubs, but real levers of branding through which the brand can immediately communicate its philosophy and values. They can also reflect the image of the Hotel as a whole, what it represents and what it offers.
Yotel has been doing it for years. The lobby of its hotels perfectly communicate the distinctive features, values and standards of the brand. Luxury hotel accommodation, who use space smartly, allowing their guests to refresh, relax, connect and sleep, abandoning the traditional Hotel model of welcome > check-in > sleep > eat/drink > check-out. Design and architecture must not only respect the standards of the brand but must serve to create spaces capable of living the experiences desired by Yotel. In addition, there is a constant effort to innovate the guest experience through the use of technology.
Every space of a Hotel Yotel is characterized by this philosophy.
Considering the lobby, this environment isn’t only characterized by the colors of the brand that immediately create a memory and impact the mind of the customer (when he revises those colors will immediately associate them to the brand) but also by a series of technological services that perfectly reflect the DNA of the chain. Among these Yobot that replaces the traditional baggage concierge and then stores the luggage of the guests, check-in kiosks through which the guest can do check-in, designed to be easily located and visual, Phonebooths designed to allow solo travelers the opportunity to find a small private space to take a quiet conference call, finish pages for that new blog or do some private study, Digital Signage that provides guests with a constantly changing, modern approach to fresh, interactive signage and messaging, it can be used for a variety of reasons, for example, from indicating services and rates, to food/beverage, I put a stitch and then I continue.
Here, I keep telling you that I could continue for so long, but I stop, I think you have understood the essence: through the lobby you can communicate the characters, the philosophy of the brand and create important associations in the customer’s mind.
«The best is yet to come »
Come on, you didn’t think the article would just run out in 416 words. If you are our trusted reader, you already know that this is impossible. I already anticipate that there is still much to say, only at the end of the article I will have given you a comprehensive answer to the question “Why is it necessary to rethink the Hotel lobby?”. So yes, you have to read it to the end. I won’t bore you, promised.
Let’s add another piece to our issue. We must, by now it’s no longer fashionable, abandon the old concept of assigning each space of a hotel its intended use. This is not feasible, especially if a Hotel isn’t large, but even if it is, it would be impossible to create as many spaces as the needs of guests.
So? So let’s move away from the old compartments of environments and embrace the idea of multifunctionality and flexibility.
We give to the spaces, especially to the lobby, that remind you to be the fulcrum of the Hotel, these characteristics.
We create a space that offers guests a complete experience. We incorporate in this environment a multitude of functions, so that, even if the Hotel doesn’t have large dimensions and therefore it would be impossible to create a waiting, a work, a relaxing space, we can also meet all the needs of the customer. And even if your facility is large, let’s do the same, so you can use the multitude of spaces for other uses. What uses? Well I refer you to this article.
Let’s go back to our lobby. How to make it a multifunctional space? Through the design and setting up, easy isn’t it? Through the use of a good design and accessories, furniture, colors that make it easy and allow at the same time to relax, meet, socialize, work and much more.
Lounge furniture helps to design an equipped lobby, combining aesthetics and comfort, meeting the new needs of new areas used for work, communication, aggregation.
At the Crowne Plaza Geneva we have moved in this direction. In the 2019 project that concerned the two lower floors, which is accessed directly from the outside, we recreated, in front of the conference room, a real “lobby” in which spaces for relaxation and work perfectly coexist. This is to meet the guests’ needs to work but at the same time to be able to relax between meetings and enjoy a few moments of rest. The combinations of seats present in the environment also encourage conviviality while the high tables allow both co-working and the work individually.
At the Hotel N’Vy, to resume the discussion of abandoning compartmentalization and designing hybrid and complete spaces, the lobby is perfectly integrated and contaminates/ mixes with other environments, creating, almost, a single large area. They differ only in style, which, overall, creates a perfect boho-chic theme, with artwork extraordinarily integrated into the spaces.
«..I got to cut ties»
Let’s abandon, today is a day of abandonment, even the old concept that lobby must be different according to the category of the Hotel.
Today this categorization is somewhat lacking.
The boundaries between business, lifestyle and luxury Hotels are narrowing and it is no longer possible to make a clear distinction. This is because the styles, the basic concepts, the design, are mixed with the sole objective of creating experiential spaces in which the guest can “feel good”.
So, who’s to say that the lobby of a luxury Hotel must be designed in a certain way while that of a business hotel in another? None.
Of course, it is always important to listen and understand the needs of the guest and design suitable spaces for him (on this I open a parenthesis later). But I’m talking about style. Not necessarily the lobby of a luxury Hotel must be marked by rare marbles, expensive finishes, “immaculate” furnishings, to be clear.
For example, for the Crowne Plaza Zurich, despite being considered a business Hotel, we tried to break this concept a little, designing a lobby with a more modern and different style, as requested by the customer.
Not being able to change the size, given the presence of two elevators in the lobby (a must for a business Hotel), we created inside the lobby mini lounges that meet different needs (work, relax, socialize etc.) underlining them with different floorings than the one used in the whole space. The furniture and furnishings of each living room are also different depending on the intended use of the space. We have included furniture such as colored lamps designed to contaminate the environment and also assign them a character tending to the “lifestyle”.
But yes, I go back a moment, here is the parenthesis I was talking about before, keep in mind who will “live” in the spaces, it is fundamental. As I said at the beginning the guest must have the impression that that particular environment was designed for him, as we would say here in Italy must feel that “calza a pennello“, but let’s say it in English “fit perfectly”.
For example, if the target of your Hotel is young or you have to design a Hotel of this type, in this case the lobby, and in general the entire Hotel, must be eclectic spaces and meeting places for people of every where, all united by the desire to get to know each other and exchange ideas.
Creative environments, therefore, where the best ideas and meetings can be born.
Aesthetics also play a fundamental role for this target. In fact, the concept of “instagrammable” comes into play, the more a space will incorporate features that encourage guests to take photos, the more your property will be on display on online channels. The guests will then become ambassadors of your brand.
In conclusion, we have reached the end, rethinking the lobby of a Hotel means conceiving it as a space of aggregation, conviviality, experiential, usable as a branding lever, multifunctional, flexible, creative, abandoning preconceptions and categorizations.
If you’re anxious after all these words, contact us, we’ll find a way to bring them all together in your lobby.
Author: Elisabetta Boldrini
Position: Commercial Manager