With a Sense of Style: you can use the 5 Senses to bring lasting impressions to your lobby guests! Come to your Senses with low budget trends for sprucing up your lobby!
text: Laura Myers, Stefan Wagner // photography: istock
We have all been there …. you open the door, fluorescent lights glaring, a bit of an echo as you pull your carry-on across the floor, the light waft of chlorine hanging in the air. Behind the counter stands a frazzled hotel clerk staring at the computer as you wait patiently, scanning the lobby for friendliness and warmth.
The door opens to muted sounds of music, laughter and conversation while whiffs of a woody, airy scent greets your guest. Some guests are relaxing in secluded nooks with steaming lattes poised on an end-table, perusing their phones or tapping on their laptops. Others are chatting with friends while nibbling on cheese and crackers and drinking an infused mint tea.
It is often the little things, or a combination, that can change everything. But what are those little things? How do they change the guest’s impression upon arrival? Bob Kraemer, co-founder of the Kraemer Design Group, a hotel architectural and interior design firm in Detroit, says that “an individual property needs to create a sense of welcome … to be warm and inviting.” He indicates a hotel should be visually clean and not have worn or dirty furnishings. A combination of soft and hard surfaces should be mixed into the décor; think throw pillows and wooden case goods. Productivity outlets for various media devices are a given and should be widely dispersed throughout the social areas and sleeping rooms.
Your lobby is the first visual impression. Be eclectic in your décor selections. Create different zones. Professor Stephani Robson, a senior lecturer at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration an expert in consumer behavior and hotel design, recommends “using a variety of different seating for the individual and socializing guest. Select mid-century modern furnishings, combining soft and hard pieces that don’t collect dust.” Mix sectional couches with unique chairs. End-tables and case goods are convenient for casual eating and drinking, and don’t forget to provide ample media recharging outlets. This will create an inviting, casual atmosphere that allows your guests to also get some work done.
Decorate with local artwork in the form of photography of regional landmarks, national parks or festivals. Think about murals on vinyl that depict the destination of a property. Some boutique hotels have rotating art exhibitions or graffiti in their social areas. Interior designer Kraemer suggests, “Local boutique gift shops are good sources for curating local destination coffee-table books, accent items, or small, handmade art knickknacks.”
noise from other guests
too few electrical outlets
Color is one of the most visible elements in interior design. “Paint is cheap,” says interior designer Kraemer. Light colors evoke an airy and spacious atmosphere. Dark colors create sophistication and intimacy. Choosing a color scheme for social areas has immediate impact. Red is a stimulating color often chosen in communal areas. “Try using natural colors with one very saturated color on a feature wall,” advises Robson.
Replace mounted fluorescent lighting. Be subtle, smart and inventive. A bright, cheery atmosphere instills a sense of security. Increasingly, properties are using a variety of lighting fixtures to create a homey atmosphere. Unique tabletop lamps, sconces, pendant fixtures with geometric shapes, and bold, mid-century patterned lights enliven the surroundings.
The lobby sets the tone for your guest’s stay, unpleasant or loud sounds need to dissipate quickly. Acoustics in a large area can be a problem. Use of lightweight, porous materials such as textiles and artwork, acoustic panels, carpets, curtains, and upholstery absorb sound. Dense, hard objects such as concrete, glass or steel will reflect and scatter sound. Be the ear of your guest and determine what is best.
Music affects the emotions. It makes sense, to provide in social spaces, mood-setting sounds throughout the day. Depending on your guests and type of property, you can cater the music for the perfect ambiance. Professional sound track brand companies can help you find the balance.
Scents evoke positive or negative experiences in our brain. Of the five senses, scent is the strongest tied to memory and emotion. Different scents evoke different meanings. “A pleasant, light, earthy smell can lead to a guest lingering longer and cause return visits based on a subconscious experience,” says Farah Abassi, founder of Aroma360, a scent marketing company based in New York City. Choose from a library of scents or create one’s own signature scent. She indicates that “creating a signature scent uses the identity and goals of a property to capture the essence of the hotel.” Diffusers use the HVAC system to disperse the selected scent consistently throughout your hotel space.
1. View your property critically, like a guest
2. Incorporate your hotel’s identity
3. Go for Clean & Bright
4. Friendly & Relaxed