When a guest walks into a hotel, they make an initial assessment of the property as a whole. They judge the hotel based on how the lobby looks and feels. This first impression sets the tone for the entire stay, and may be the reason why they will or won’t come back or refer friends to the property.

So, the details in a lobby can’t be overlooked. The space can’t be ignored.

The hotel lobby needs to make an impressive first impression, wow guests, and make them feel comfortable and welcome. So if you manage a hotel property, make sure you use these tips to improve your hotel lobby, upgrade your guests’ overall experience, and get them to come back again and again.

Match Your Lobby to Your Guests’ Needs

Before you make any changes to your hotel lobby, take some time to look at the demographics and needs of your guests. The type of guest that typically visits your property will dictate the design elements and uses of your lobby space.

For example, a resort that caters to families will have a very different lobby from a hotel that caters to business travelers and conference attendees.

Start your process to improve your hotel lobby, by carefully looking at your guest demographics.

Ask yourself:

  • Who are my guests? What is their age, job, gender, income level, etc.?
  • What are my guests’ habits? What activities are they doing while staying at the hotel?
  • How long are my guests staying? What is the average length of their stay?

As you answer these questions, put yourself in your guests’ shoes to identify what they need during their stay. Compile a list of what would improve their stay, and determine what elements can be added to your lobby space.

Create “Zones” in Your Lobby

Guests want to feel at home while they are at a hotel, so set up your lobby as a comfortable, inviting living space.

Stop thinking about your lobby as a transition space — an interval between the entrance and guest rooms. Start thinking about it as a destination space that has multiple “zones” for different uses.  

Place check-in counters along the edge of the room, and use the center of the space to add a variety of seating areas that welcome both individuals and groups to relax and hang out.

Create zones for groups by placing semi-circles of couches around coffee tables. Set up furniture seating zones for individuals by using high-back seats around small tables that welcome guests to work in the lobby. And, provide multiple types of seating arrangements to give options to visitors.

Display Engaging, Useful Guest Information

You want to make your guests’ stay as comfortable and as convenient as possible. That means making sure they have everything they need from creature comforts and amenities to information.

During their stay, guests need information about the area around the hotel and the hotel itself. Use your lobby as an opportunity to give them the resources they need.

Share information on:

  • Hotel events
  • Local attractions
  • Local restaurants and businesses
  • Local maps
  • Hotel amenities (spas, restaurants, pools, gyms, business centers, etc.)
  • Transportation information (public transportation and hotel transportation options)
  • Weather forecasts and outdoor conditions (especially important for beach and ski resorts)

Upgrade the way your provide this information by choosing to use digital screens instead of flat brochures.

Display screens throughout the lobby in places where guests need it most. Place information on hotel events and amenities near the check-in counter and elevator banks. Position screens with weather, transportation information, and maps near exits and cab stations.

Take it one step further by providing interactive way-finding maps that give exact directions to an intended location and user-controlled digital screens that allow guests to pick the content they want to see.

Cater to Cravings & Thirsts

Catering to all of your guests’ needs means offering refreshments and food options. You may have food options in your hotel or information about local restaurants, but don’t forget to maximize the potential of serving guests in your lobby.  

Offer guests food, coffee, and even a full bar in your lobby.

Depending on the size of your lobby, consider providing:

  • A complimentary water station with one or two pitches of ice or fruit-infused waters.
  • A complimentary coffee station with mugs that welcome guests to enjoy their drink in the lobby and to-go cups they can take with them.
  • Treats such as cookies and fruit at the front desk.
  • Cafe and bar service to guests spending time in your lobby.
  • Full-service food options to guests in the lobby

Providing guests with food and drinks in the lobby makes the space feel more welcoming and comfortable and less like a transition space. Plus, it creates an additional revenue stream for your property.

Provide Guest-Appropriate Entertainment

Another way to turn your lobby from a transition space to a useful element of your hotel property is providing entertainment in the room.

The type of entertainment you provide will vary heavily based on your unique guest demographic. For example, entertainment for a family-friendly hotel would be very different from the type of entertainment provided at a resort that caters to honeymooning couples.

Carefully think about who stays at your hotel and what entertainment they might like to enjoy in your lobby.

A few options of entertainment may include:

  • Live music from full bands to soft solo instrumentals
  • Live entertainers
  • Screens with short video clips, trivia, and social media streams
  • Interactive video games that allow guests to play along
  • Animal exhibits such as fish tank to parrots (for tropical destinations)
  • Live demonstrations or exhibits that share local culture
  • Local art displays

Use your imagination when it comes to entertainment. It could be anything that helps guest pass the time and feel engaged with their surroundings.

Your lobby is both your guest’s first and last impression of your property. So, make a space worth remembering. Use these tips to upgrade and improve your hotel lobby, turn it into a destination space, and give your guests a memorable experience that will leave them wanting to come back again.

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