Whenever I go away, whether for business or pleasure, I usually stay in a new hotel. The first impression I have when I enter my hotel room is usually the one I take away with me when I depart.
If my room is freshly made up, and the furnishings are modern and reflective of the hotel brand, I immediately feel a sense of belonging and contentment. It’s always the small things that the hotel implements, such as a bowl of fresh fruit, or complimentary vouchers for the day spa or some other special treat that the hotel provides that makes you feel welcomed and valued, and this ultimately makes it easy to choose a particular hotel brand to stay in when I travel to a new destination.
Most modern hotels have similar layouts. There is a main sleeping area, a desk and TV, and IT related technology appliances, a bar fridge and luggage rack, and some storage space to keep your belongings. So why is it that some hotels make us feel more comfortable and connected, while other leave us feeling isolated and disconnected?
Our experience with hotel operators and owners with regard to design, décor, and layout is very mixed. Some are happy with a pedestrian look, while others go all out for the ‘wow’ factor. When we talk to new clients and delve into what they are trying to achieve with their refurbishment, it amazes us how, all too often, they are only trying to recreate what they already have, whilst placing a new skin over the previous look. As a hotel proprietor, you need to take the time to understand your brand values, to take cognizance of your guests’ feedback, and to think about how you can provide that special point of difference by thinking ‘outside the box’. To begin a new design process, all the information you already have needs to be addressed, and then you can start to think about how you can improve what you have to offer and what needs to be done to achieve successful results. Together with technology and smart furniture design, you can create a special environment that takes your brand to a higher level, without the need to spend ridiculous amounts of money to achieve your goals. Allow yourself the time to research various designs, and test the waters before you settle on a final design choice. The time you spend investing in this stage will pay dividends for the duration that your project is expected to last. Here is a list of items we suggest you n focus on to try and maximize the success of your refurbishment project.
1. If you have a TV on the wall, consider building an enclosure for it so that it can also house your controls for other functions in the room. This can also provide a stylish look, as well as hide all the ugly cables.
2. It goes without question that good quality bedding and mattresses are a high priority for many reasons. These should be comfortable, durable, and pleasing to the eye. These are high cost items so it’s a good idea to try out some samples before making any large purchases. Quality bedding is one of the most important factors that contribute to your guests enjoying a pleasurable stay.
3. With regard to furnishing, try a design that incorporates the desk area, with the luggage rack, wardrobe and TV into one single unit. This will enable you to hide power points and cables, provide a compact area for remotes and pamphlets/stationary, while presenting a uniform style which will also be cost-effective.
4. Think about artwork as an expression of your hotel’s brand and the uniqueness of the location. Or maybe consider local landmarks that are popular with tourists. There is little need to use abstract art when your location has much to show off and which you want your guests to take notice of. The work of local artists could be mutually and financially beneficial.
5. Use lighting to promote mood. Warm light globes in floor and table lamps can be used at night, or add dimmer switches to reduce the bright ceiling lights, to help create that special, relaxing mood.
Use colors in your fabrics, finishes, and paintwork, that are representative of your brand and location. If you are going for a luxury look, try using golds and earth tones, with a hint of bright color in cushions and runners.
6. Make sure your bedside tables are set at the correct height. No one wants to have to lean down over the bed to pick up the phone or to switch off the alarm when it goes off.
7. Think about your typical guest, and what they are likely to be using the room for. If they are business folk, make sure there is good sized desk and comfortable chair where they can work with ease. If they are tourists, maybe they would like to sit back in a relaxing accent chair to read or watch TV.
8. My pet hate when staying in a hotel is when the kettle or urn cannot be filled from the tap in the bathroom basin as it does not fit. Coordinate the items you purchase to avoid little mistakes like this.
9. And lastly, make sure you think about the type of material you use on the furniture to maximize its life span. If you have children frequently staying in the rooms, laminates on key parts of your furniture might be a better option than timbers so that you do not end up with chips and scratches.
There are many other ideas and thoughts to consider, but too many to list in one post. But experience has taught us that when we design a guest room, it is not only the look and feel of it that makes a good first impression on your guests. By taking the time to think about your guests’ behavior and their needs, and by giving yourself adequate time to consider all the information you have, as well as testing a new room design, and ensuring that you always maintain a high standard, you will find that your guests will become repeat clients. You won’t need to spend endless amounts of money making frequent style changes if you address all these important aspects, together with developing your brand’s market position through careful and creative planning.
If you are starting a refurbishment project, and would like some tips on how to get started, you can click here to download our checklist which we are sure will help you.
Best of luck!