Hotel Interior Design: Not Just for Looks!
A hotel’s interior design can help make or break a guest’s experience. It creates a first impression for those who walk through a hotel’s doors--a well-designed lobby is an indicator of well-designed rooms. An outdated lobby with old furnishings can be a major turn-off for guests seeking clean, modern amenities, so it is important for everything to stay up to date.
We design our hotels in partnership with Ashley Sullivan at Hospitality Furnishings and Design. We personally collaborate with her on every selection from carpet to lighting, and we recently sat down with her to learn more about what goes into successful hotel interior design.
Here is Ashley, in her own words.
What are the first steps taken in determining the interior design/decorating of an individual hotel?
The first two questions I ask owners are: First, who is the type of consumer who will be staying at this hotel, and second, can you tell me a little about the area where this hotel is located?
Certain consumers expect more from a hotel than others. Is the hotel mainly used by business travelers who expect a plug in every table and corner of the hotel? Is the hotel mainly used by families visiting the area where there needs to be a lot of seating areas to lounge in the lobby?
The location, on the other hand, always helps develop a story in which the design narrative is formed. Is there a university nearby where the school spirit should be incorporated? The Witness Group’s Hampton Inn in Ashland, Ohio is a great example of this. Is there history about the area that can inspire the design concept? Is this a coastal property where the colors should reflect the ocean? And so on, and so on.
What role does color psychology play in the design of a hotel lobby and guest rooms?
The color concept of hotel design typically depends on the type of hotel, the type of consumer, and the location in which the hotel resides. Color placement, however, is crucial--for example, guest corridor colors need to be spot on. They can often look like a long, dark, and narrow hallway, or they can be way too bright and white/sterile looking. It’s the same with guest rooms. There is a unique aspect of wanting to make a guest feel at home using commercial grade goods and hospitality trends, which are not necessarily “homey.”
How often should the interior design be redone?
If you are asking an interior designer this question, then as soon as it looks dated! Everyone in today’s society looks at pictures online when booking a hotel to see if the space looks new and fresh. The more you stay up to date, the more people are interested in staying at your hotel.
How is interior design tailored to the hotel’s target demographic?
Different target demographics use hotel rooms differently. Most “branded” hotels (Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn, etc.) have done a lot of research to back this up. For example, the new Hilton brand Tru is aimed toward millennial users. They have strategically designed their prototype to have smaller rooms and a large lobby where people want to plug in, hang out, and meet new people; whereas the Homewood Suites brand is an extended stay hotel where the guest rooms are large, as the average stay is between 7-15 days.
How does design affect guest satisfaction?
The “newer” the space feels, the cleaner it feels. With today’s technology, people scope out online where they want to stay based on the design and price. Also, I always think about the social media aspect of things. If your hotel has a really cool unique feature (“Instagram Zone”), then the hotel is basically tagged and marketed for free. Once someone sees that their friend stayed in a cool hotel, then they will want to go too and take the same photo op.
How might poor design negatively affect a guest’s stay?
Poor design would affect a guest’s stay for various reasons. Have you ever stayed in a hotel that does not have a plug in the nightstand lamp, and you have to move the bed to find an outlet? Not fun! Have you ever stayed in a hotel where sound absorption was not thought of, and you can hear the TV show loud and clear of what your neighbor is watching? Have you ever sat at a table where the seat height of the chair was so high that you could not cross your legs? All of these small details make a huge impact with guests.
Is The Witness Group doing anything unique in regard to interior design?
CEO Ohm Patel has always had a passion for design. He really cares about how his guests will feel when they enter the space, and he wants them to be impressed. He is always pushing the limits when it comes to hotel designs, especially with the artwork packages.