Digging into the details


Using smart design cues to generate profits

Design is about more than just aesthetics; it creates an experience. And, in the hospitality industry, experience is everything. When guests feel like they’ve received value, they’re more willing to pay a higher rate for their stay. This is why hoteliers must shift their mindset from treating customers as mere transactions to hosting guests who are yearning for a unique, authentic, and immersive experience.

One advantage independent hoteliers have is the ability to truly immerse their guests in the local community and culture through their hotel’s design. By adding modern touches and warm, inviting spaces, guests can relax and enjoy the hotel as more than just a place to sleep. For instance, designing a cozy lobby that resembles a cozy and inviting living room – complete with comfortable furniture and a welcoming public spaces that reflect the destination – can create a warm and inviting atmosphere that makes guests feel right at home.

These don’t always have to be grand gestures, either. Small touches like offering a small library of books, magazines, board games, and coffee table books also can add to the charm of the lobby or make guests feel the hotel is their home away from home. And, with motels making a major comeback since the pandemic, investing in a property’s design can yield a strong ROI while providing guests with an unforgettable experience.

To create a lasting, positive first impression, hoteliers should focus on improving the hotel’s curb appeal. A fresh coat of contrasting paint and beautiful landscaping can go a long way in attracting guests. And, for those with a bit more budget, inviting a local artist to create a large wall mural can create an Instagram-worthy spot that guests will love to share with their friends.

In addition to the lobby, public spaces like the pool area can also be designed to give guests a memorable experience. Adding a barbecue grill or a fire pit can create an inviting and cozy atmosphere that encourages guests to relax and socialize.

Guest rooms also can be designed to reflect the local culture and add value to the guest experience. Simply updating the artwork with local landmarks or iconic buildings can give the room a unique and personalized touch. Investing in higher quality bathroom amenities, such as shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hand lotion with pleasant fragrances, and softer, more luxurious towels can also make a significant impact. Finally, using a white comforter instead of dark patterns can create a sense of cleanliness and elegance that guests appreciate.

Ultimately, design can create a memorable experience and add value, which means guests often are more willing to pay higher room rates. By investing in design and creating a unique and memorable guest experience, hoteliers can increase their average nightly rates, gain guests’ loyalty, and increase revenues while ensuring their guests leave with positive memories and good reviews.

alpa patel

Alpa Patel has more than 16 years of experience in the areas of sales, marketing, and operations management of economy and midscale hotels and motels. She’s the founder and CEO of 9th House, an experience and hospitality design studio based in Los Angeles and has a passion for all things hospitality design, technology, marketing, and innovating on hospitality design to help hoteliers increase room rates, occupancy, their overall revenues and ultimately, maximize their bottom line.


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