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The Hotel "Social Lobby" Trend Goes Mainstream and Ceases to be a Competitive Advantage



A decade ago, hotels began differentiating themselves from their competition by reinventing their lobbies as social spaces, introducing unique f&b concepts, promoting lively lounge bars, and even reducing the size of the front desk to increase guest interaction.   These properties began to define their brands by their hotels' social lobby design; however, today's USA TODAY article Hotel lobbies become multi-use spaces details how every major brand now features "social lobbies".  Any hotel defining their brand by their "social lobbies" is no longer differentiated.  The "social lobby", just like the specialty beds of last decade, has gone from being a point of differentiation to being a point of parity.

The predecessor of the modern hotel were the Inns & Public Houses of years back--a place of social gathering for locals and travelers alike.  When Atlanta's Hyatt Regency Hotel opened in 1967, it was the first atrium hotel to be built, influencing hotel design for the following decade.  The opening of this hotel signaled the climax of hotels being a place of "social gathering".  This quickly changed in the 1980's as architectural and real estate efficiency became the name of the game, turning the hotel lobby into a check-in/check-out, transactional building feature.

The pendulum swung back a little over 10 years ago, when boutique hotels changed the traditional design of their lobbies, turning them into restaurants, bars, lounges, and general places of merriment.  W Hotels then branded this concept and rolled out hotels around the world, as the revenue potential was realized its parent company, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, and their competitors began redesigning their lobbies across multiple brands.  Based on past research and today's article--aside from a multitude of independent hotels--the following brands have already launched "social lobby" concepts:

Marriott:
Marriot Hotels
Courtyard
Starwood:
Sheraton
W Hotels
Le Meridien
   aLoft
   Element
IHG:
Holiday Inn
Hilton:
Hilton Hotels
Hilton Garden Inn
Hampton
Home2Suites
Hyatt:
Hyatt House

Hotel designers around the world have taken note and added "social lobby" as a required building specs.

READ MORE "social lobby" coverage on HospitalityBrand.com >>

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