Why the hotel lobby is the perfect antidote to Airbnb

Skift take

The power of a large lobby is a huge differentiator in hospitality. Hotels should not forget its power. In fact, they should double.

Colin Nagy, Skift

Savvy observers of the hotel space are obsessed with Airbnb and every business move it makes. The strategic departments of traditional hotel groups are working overtime to understand the differentiation, as many of their paid leisure customers have fled to the well-designed and savvy millennial platform. And, with its new offering, Airbnb Plus, it now meets the needs of a well-heeled business traveler with claims of consistency night after night, a need often cited for the category.

But hotels have a beautifully simple and obvious answer as they frantically search for ways to tackle the much-loved platform. And that’s at the heart of the essence of what they do.

I wrote earlier about the Japanese bookstore working with residential developers to create attractive and friendly spaces that people want to spend time in. There is magic in the right space that makes you want to linger and transform your brain from digitally distracted trance into a state of being receptive and aware.

The hotel lobby, when done like magic, is a reason to avoid a rented apartment and choose a more traditional accommodation option.

Airbnb can be isolating: you are an island all to yourself. Arrive late at night to an unfamiliar building which hopefully lives up to the stylized photos. In a good hotel, the lobby serves as an inviting welcome and experience the central nervous system. Where even if you are alone, you can be surrounded by other people in an ambient sense. We are humans, after all, and love to be around others (although we can pretend we don’t). The atmosphere counts for a lot.

An excellent hotel lobby is like a coral reef, refreshed daily or even hourly with new and amazing fish. There is magic in the anonymity of the people watching, there is serendipity, there is socialization and there is celebration.

Making this space as attractive as possible makes it a reason to stay. And hotels need to redouble their efforts and figure out how to continue to make this space increasingly appealing across categories from the Claridges to the Midwest Courtyard Inn.

Here are some of the secrets as well as the properties that do it well:

1. Multi-use and day / night transitions

Although this space is not suitable for everyone, the As New York the lobby transforms from a morning reading room to a vibrant workplace to a place of celebration throughout the day. As you walk through there is a feeling of electricity and vibrancy that adds to your stay.

2. Socialize

One of my favorite things about my time in the Middle East is the large and generous seating areas. Since not everyone socializes around alcohol, more space is allocated to the beautifully appointed areas for socializing and meeting. The St. Regis in Abu Dhabi on the Corniche does it in a particularly splendid way.

3. Elegance

Something in a perfectly polished lobby makes you want to stand tall. The Carlyle in New York and The Bristol in Paris are two examples of beautiful halls where the great and the good meet.

4. Intangibles

In my interview with Austin hotelier Liz Lambert, she mentioned a quote that inspired her: “Let people be the color of the bedroom”. When it comes to design, it’s an incredible guide. Let the fascinating character coral reef be the color, and the space design should support and frame that.

5. Versatile feeding

The Girandole lobby at Park Hyatt Tokyo

Girandole at Park Hyatt Tokyo is an incredible example of a perfect hotel lobby restaurant: it is elegant and can be dressed or dressed. This is the perfect location for a more formal evening meeting or a late Sunday breakfast. The service is polite and impeccable.

6. Anticipation

A lobby must be at the service of its customers. Small details like cold water bottles placed outside to welcome runners early in the morning and great local training cards are a plus. The Peninsula Tokyo does it well.

7. Community and intelligence

the Upper room The Hong Kong team regularly hosts trade shows and conversations on the worlds of fashion, literature, design and beyond. They have a particularly well-heeled guest who can have what they want in life and the hotel rightly realizes that if they can make people smarter, have a conversation, or bring like-minded people together. , it’s incredibly constructive.

8. Pure admiration

The lobby of the Middle House in Shanghai

Hotel lobbies can also be incredible centerpieces that evoke the true vibrancy and romance of travel. the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok is a timeless and excellent example of this. You don’t know what time you are actually living, in the best possible way, surrounded by flowers, scents and interesting people from all over the world. On the newly opened facade, the entrance to the Middle House in Shanghai has a beautiful chandelier that prompts customers to stop, gaze, and linger for a while before heading out during the day. We are far from arriving in a distant Airbnb.

By the way, the systematic removal of printed papers from properties around the world must end. A large lobby is a place to savor a printed copy of the FT Weekend or the South China Morning Post and not be distracted by notifications and disturbances from a device. No efficiency amount or PressReader applications can replace this.

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