Long before the pandemic, refreshing the food and beverage offerings at any hotel was on the rise, as property owners looked to compete with successful boutique hotels. However, the ongoing success of boutique hotels has paved the way for lifestyle hotels. By incorporating the best elements of boutiques—small, intimate, artful, and modern—hotel brands are hoping to attract a combination of locals and the modern-day traveler by revitalizing and activating existing spaces within their properties.
While travel continues to lag due to the Omicron variant outbreak, hoteliers recognize that their lobbies and restaurants are attractions for local residents bogged down due to travel restrictions. As lobbies set the tone and aesthetic of any establishment, hospitality designers are incorporating hyper-localized design elements to reflect the community’s culture and demographics. This strategy not only displays the surrounding environment to travelers, but also provides a sense of familiarity and connection to locals. For people residing near a hotel, a thoughtfully curated lobby can become an escape after repeating the same night-out routine for almost two years now. Simply sitting in a hotel lobby can emulate a vacation feel and is a place to meet a mix of travelers and fellow residents.
Becoming the living room of the community
While lobbies are a great asset, many in their current set-up are not conducive to hosting remote workers and serving food. Hoteliers need to look at ways to refurbish their lobbies before opening them up to locals. Rearranging a lobby should go beyond moving furniture; it can also mean changing the floor plan. Spatial technology is a great tool to forecast how a space will look if a wall was removed or if the lobby was extended to a different space. Spatial analytics can also help beyond the redesign of an area and improve monetization by monitoring staff and guest flow.
For hotels, this technology can determine that moving a kitchen door can increase profits. If a major change is necessary, one of the best ways to undertake the task is to use prefabrication. Off-site construction significantly reduces noise and time spent on the project. By prefabricating the back bar, booth seating elements, wall panels, and screens at the Boulud Sud restaurant at the JW Marriott Marquis in Miami, the turnaround was eight weeks for the renovation of this fine-dining establishment.