Hotel First Impressions and Interior Design

It doesn’t matter if you’ve booked a hotel for a single night, a week-long business trip, or an extended holiday – the moment you walk through the doors of a hotel, you inadvertently pick up and build a first impression in your head as to what you can expect from the rest of the space and the overall experience.

A hotel is more than just the room that you stay in, with the first impressions extending from your marketing material and online images to the reception and check-in area, the communal spaces and hallways, and of course the bedrooms themselves. With all this in mind, how do you use interior design to create a first impression that’s worthy of your business?

Here are some insights to help shape a positive first impression in your hotel.

Marketing and pre-arrival impression

If your guests book online, then the chances are that they will arrive on site with a first impression already formed – using any images they could find of your hotel online. Because of this, interior design and way you dress your hotel not only needs to make a good impact on arrival, but needs to translate well into your imagery and online marketing for a pre-arrival impression.

Some of the best ways to do this include not only focussing on the images you upload, but also creating areas within the hotel that are, in the eyes of guests, photo opportunities. By encouraging guests to take and share photos of certain areas of your hotel, you will build a portfolio of online images that are shared by other guests, which entice prospective bookings and promote excitement before they arrive.

If you can get that bit right, then it’s all about the first steps into your hotel and what they say about your business.

The hotel lobby

The hotel lobby is the reception / arrival space, where guests check in and where they enter and exit the hotel on a daily basis depending on their plans and schedule. It is also where guests go when there is an issue, which instantly tells us that the usage of the hotel lobby as a physical space is broad and varied, and that it needs to serve a number of different uses.

As such, the hotel lobby is usually a large and open plan space with different desks to serve different guest needs. The way you decide to lay this out is up to you and will depend on the experience you are offering – however, we tend to recommend a central main desk and a series of offshoots to serve specific needs or enquiries.

Once you’ve nailed down the layout and floor plan requirements of your lobby, you need to work out what will make it stand out – and that’s where we recommend bridging your branding with a focal point around which the rest of the space is designed. Floral arrangements in your brand colours can be a powerful centrepiece, with lighting and acoustics all contributing towards the aesthetic look and feel of the lobby.

The guest rooms

Hotel guest room first impression

Before you even arrive at the guest rooms themselves, you need to think about how easy they are to find – marrying your hotel lobby with the rooms through clear and concise signage. Once guests arrive at the rooms, they will want to feel relaxed and safe, with the best rooms combining neutral style with optimum practicality and function in the form of both layout and furnishings.

While it can be tempting to dress up each hotel room with characterful features and decorative accessories, remember that the plethora of guests you welcome will all have different tastes and so keeping it clean and simple ensures that your rooms are versatile for all.

In addition to accessories, you cannot overstate the importance of lighting in creating a relaxing atmosphere and environment, finding the right balance between practical and bright but also inviting and warm. Finally, be sure to consider the placement and comfort of all furnishings, and don’t forget the little details that guests appreciate – such as hangers, mirrors, and other amenities.

What kind of impression do your guests leave with?

The first impression of a hotel is gained in an instant, yet its impact can last for the entire stay and beyond – which is why it’s so important to the success of a hotel business. When designing your hotel, be sure to install features and consider interior details which marry function with style, and which reflect your branding and hotel business in a clear but enticing way.

For advice on bringing your own hotel project to life, speak to our team.

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