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Bait and Switch - Public vs. Guestrooms

Chuck Thrift   |   10 Dec 2018
I’m addicted to reading Trip Advisor reviews of hotels in my area. One of the biggest complaints I read
about hotels is "their guestrooms didn’t match the lobby" or "The lobby was beautiful, but when I got to
my room it was a huge letdown". It’s like completely taking the wind out of the sails of the guest.

There are tons of reasons why hotels have incredible lobbies only to have dated guestrooms. I hear "it
wasn’t in the budget" and "Our lobby is the first impression of the guest" and both of these are true.
Honestly there are many reasons why sometimes the lobby and public areas are always more up to date
with interiors than guestrooms.

In full-service and resort hotels, guests spend the majority of their time outside of their rooms whether
it be working remotely from the lobby or enjoying the restaurant or bar. If you are in your room all the
time, you can’t be downstairs spending money. This trend has even trickled down to select service.
More and more select service hotels have bars or markets in the lobby. Franchise developers are making
hotel guestrooms smaller than ever before and this isn’t by accident. Lobbies have become communal
spaces where guests work, play, eat and just hang out.

Another reason developers, architects, and designers are spending time and money making public
spaces unforgettable is because it costs much less to do a major lobby renovation than it does a major
room renovation. A million dollars goes a lot further with lobbies than it does in multiple guestrooms.
You definitely get more bang for your buck with lobby renovations, which is what owners and
developers want when planning a renovation of any kind. I don’t see this tend changing any time soon.

One thing hotel owners can’t do is completely ignore their guestrooms. They can have the most
beautiful lobby in the world, but if the guestrooms are extremely dated, you are ultimately going to
have unhappy guests. Hotels will be judged by whatever makes the biggest impression. Franchises do a
good job of requiring hotel owners to complete PIPs (Property Improvement Plan) every 4-6 years. For
non-franchised hotels, resorts, and boutique hotels, the owners must take it upon themselves to closely
monitor their room furnishings and design to keep up with their lobbies.
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