How guest behavior is driving hotel renovations

Designing a hotel's public space with functionality, experience and flexibility in mind can increase operational productivity

July 22, 2019

Hotel guest satisfaction is driven by well-designed public spaces as much as sleeping rooms and service quality. Investments prioritizing flexibility and functionality maximize revenue and keep escalating costs at bay. Several recent trends in guest behavior are outpacing the renovation cycle, encouraging owners to invest in public areas: 

  1. While the growth in brands is expected to continue, flexibility and diversity in public area design affords guests options to customize their experience beyond brand and room type. Today’s travelers combine work and leisure travel and are likely to return to a hotel that can adapt to their needs.
  2. A well-designed lobby is a differentiator that sets the tone for the entire stay. Spaces with diverse seating options equipped with technology and varying degrees of brightness, background noise and privacy encourage guests to stay longer and spend more.
  3. Traditional room service is less prevalent in favor of the choice and value of food delivery alternatives. Operators are responding by offering guests the convenience of pick-up and delivery options within the hotel. In hotels where room service adds value, operators are modifying operating hours and offerings to improve productivity.
  4. Executive lounges, once located on guest floors as a complimentary perk for elite guests, have been reimagined. Today’s lounges are often located in public spaces floor where they generate additional revenue with less operational constraints of a separate staff and location. Upgraded options mean more guests without loyalty status are willing to pay a premium for access.
  5. Small meetings often take place semi-private areas within the lobby as opposed to an isolated banquet room. More flexible space means hotels can accommodate last-minute groups. A trend towards packages featuring refreshments and all-inclusive A/V services further reduce the complexity of booking a meeting.

JLL considers the following when advising owners on renovation projects:

Observe guest behavior
Tour your property and competing hotels to observe how guests behave. Make note of areas with congestion or inactivity. Guests roaming the space in search of a place to settle in is a red flag that the space isn’t intuitive.

Analyze revenue by square foot
Understanding revenue as a function of space helps to ensure space is designed to maximize sales.  

Design with productivity in mind
Conduct a space planning and feasibility analysis before finalizing the design to ensure the space improves the process. Obtain feedback from those that use the space daily to understand the challenges.

Ensure FF&E components are functional
What looks great in renderings isn’t always the best choice long-term. Ensure the aesthetic value is balanced with functionality. Pieces that are difficult to clean, easily damaged, or difficult to replace should be eliminated from plans early on.

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