By Kacey Bradley
Today’s consumer is flooded with choice when it comes to finding the perfect lodging. It could be a hotel, or it could be a rental property, and either would be simple to preview and book online.
One huge advantage that hotels have over personal property rentals — think: Airbnb — is that they tend to have larger budgets to provide the updates consumers crave. Both interior design and technology fall under the umbrella of a place’s overall style, and a boost in this realm can make your property much more appealing to potential customers. With better guest experiences and reviews, a hotel’s prestige can grow, too.
These are the top four ways that hotels are enhancing their style this year:
A Focus on Local
The reason why so many people use Airbnb — the site forecasted more than 100 million stays in 2017 alone — is because it puts customers in the heart of the local area. Rather than feel like outsiders or tourists, guests can instead stay in a real person’s home and live life as though they, too, are a resident.
Hotels can’t provide as bespoke of a living situation, but they can shift their focus from a uniform experience from location to location. Now, it’s all about incorporating a local feel into your property or properties. You can undoubtedly do this through the décor, too, by working with local artisans to bring in furniture, artwork and other elements made by those in the town or city.
To complete the picture, your staff should be knowledgeable about the area and its gems, chain restaurants and shops not included. Infuse your on-site dining or drinking options with local flavors and favorites, too.
A Dressing Down of the Lobby
Take a look at the décor in your lobby. Does it seem comfortable, lived-in and inviting for guests? Or does it seem a little too perfect to entice anyone to have a seat? In many hotels, the latter is true — and this is a huge mistake. One of the quickest ways to elevate your guests’ experience in your hotel is to make the lobby a place that’s casual enough to be a hangout for guests.
To do so, many hotels have ditched the idea of the formal check-in counter for smaller desks. Others have provided staff with tablets so they can roam the room, chat with guests and digitally check them in. Along with less stuffy-looking furniture, you might consider adding more outlets or plugs for customers who might want to recharge themselves and their technology in the lobby. Free WiFi allows them to reconnect with family and friends, too, thus making them feel even more at home.
A Serious Love of Nature
Biophilia — our inherent desire to seek out and surround ourselves with the Earth’s outdoor wonders — is sweeping the world of hotel design. Of course, you can’t quite bring a mountain range into the lobby or open windows to an ocean view if you’re in middle America. Still, there are ways to make any space feel more natural in a way that will appeal to potential guests.
For starters, let as much sunlight flood into your property as possible. These rays make people feel happier, as they have been shown to fight depression, induce calm and promote restful sleep. Plus, throwing back curtains gives a view to the outdoors and, even if it’s not a breathtaking vista, trees, grass and other green elements can inspire a similar sentiment of serenity.
Taking things a step further, you could also install a living wall, which is covered entirely in grass and other greens that live and grow indoors. A selection of houseplants could give a smaller-scale feel if your place doesn’t have the space for a full on wall. And, as you decorate your lobby and hotel rooms, be sure to use as many sustainable elements as possible. These may not look natural or rustic like the other elements in your room, but then inspire the same vibes because they’re easy on the planet.
A Co-Working Potential
If business travelers make up the bulk of your profits, listen up. Today’s workers do more and more work on their computers, and they need a space to get it done even when they’re not in the office. You may be thinking, “Each of our rooms has a desk,” and that’s a great place to start. But your customers will want a space where they can work with their colleagues who are on the road with them.
As such, many hotels have begun to transform their lobbies into this sort of collaborative working environment. This set-up wouldn’t be a good fit everywhere — not all lodgings have a business traveler focus — but it can be a huge bonus for those who check in for work purposes. And, if you can’t dedicate the entire lobby to business professionals, try and find a smaller unused space to add a table, multiple plugs and chairs for everyone who needs to work together under your roof.
A Look of the Future
Times change, and so will the look and feel of your hotel. But these four updates are going to be important elements for your property to have in the coming months and years. Investing in just one modern element could be all it takes to bestow a look of the future — a look that your customers will appreciate, and for which they will return.