In hotel management, the burden of making a great first impression falls on the shoulders of your lobby. The responsibility of instantly making guests feel like they’re in the right place is no easy task. These days, the lobby is no longer simply a place where guests just check in or out. Design trends in recent years have completely changed the hotel lobby and its function. It’s now an opportunity to make a real impact on guests’ perceptions as soon as you walk through the door.
For managers who find themselves considering a lobby redesign, just the thought of it can be overwhelming. But with the right approach and planning, understanding the challenges of a hotel lobby redesign and how to overcome them can help reduce the stress involved with the project.
First things first: Do you even need to redesign your lobby?
It’s easy to go chasing current trends simply because everyone else is doing it. But redesigning the lobby is a big project, so it’s important to really consider the reasons for doing it. Does it need a complete makeover? Or will a few small changes suffice? Some questions to get you thinking include:
- Is there enough room for guests to gather comfortably?
- What kind of food and beverage options are currently available?
- Are there enough electrical outlets and wifi?
Before taking any real action, you should first evaluate your current lobby. Evaluating your current lobby design before taking any real action can help prevent any wasted time and money. If your evaluation leads you to deciding to redesign the whole lobby, there are challenges you need to be prepared for.
Hotel Lobby Redesign Challenges & How to Overcome Them
Redesigning your lobby has its challenges, no doubt, but if you prepare yourself and your staff for the undertaking the project should run as smoothly as it possibly can. That’s not to say there won’t be issues sprung upon you at that last minute. That’s a given with any construction project. But understanding the challenges will help you get over those hurdles.
Challenge #1: Budget
Redesigning the lobby can be expensive, so it’s important to establish a budget and stick to it. To help you determine the cost, write down all of the ideas you have for the project. Your wants and needs and expectations. Next, get some rough estimates for the project. What you should strive for is an equal balance between price, quality, and schedule. Just be sure to steer clear of anything done too fast at a cheap price.
Challenge #2: Planning & Strategy
Once you’ve established a budget, you’ll need to layout a plan for how you’re going to manage the project. That means organizing the right group of people and making sure everyone is on the same page, from the hotel owner to management to front-desk staff, and (if you’re part of a hotel management group) your brand and design team.
Challenge #3: Choosing Firm
For hotels not part of a management group that might already have its own design resources, the assistance of an interior design firm is invaluable. Here are some tips to help you choose the right firm for your hotel lobby redesign:
- Research a list of firms that specialize in commercial design.
- Create a design brief or a request for proposal (RFP).
- Discuss the project in detail and decide.
Not using a design firm will save you money, but the quality of the project will be much better having had a professional design your lobby.
Challenge #4: Managing Construction
During the construction phase of your hotel lobby redesign, it’s essential to stay on top of progress and keep in regular communication with the construction team. This is especially true if your hotel will remain open during the project. If necessary, you can have the work done in phases to minimize the disruption it will cause guests.
Key Trends in Hotel Lobby Design
The days of pragmatic hotel lobbies are over. Guests expect the lobby to be an space where they can gather and socialize. This means designing your lobby to be a social hub where dining and recreation take precedence over a business-like atmosphere. Features like plush furniture for comfort and unique food and beverage options, such as a hotel pantry, are in demand.