What Does Your Reception and Lobby Say to Guests?

What do you look at when you walk into someone’s home? Is it the flooring, the paint, the artwork? What you are doing in those moments is making a judgment on the space you’ve entered and how you feel in it.

As a hospitality provider, you are hosting your guests’ home away from home. They may stay for just the evening or perhaps a few weeks, but their first few moments in your space can make or break their impression of your business for the remainder of their stay.

The Significance of a Thoughtfully Designed Lobby

Within the first seven seconds of meeting, people will have a solid impression of who you are – and some research suggests a tenth of a second is all it takes to start determining traits like trustworthiness.

– Forbes

It’s all about your visitors. Your lobby is the first place your guests have will have contact with the face of your company, and as such, plays a significant role in influencing the first impression they make of your business. Make them feel welcome!

Consider what they are stepping into –the heart of your space. Your lobby and reception space is a place for them to check-in and out, socialize, relax, wait for a ride, or catch up on some work. Encouraging these connective activities by ensuring the space is designed with comfort, quality, appeal, and functionality can communicate that this space was created for them.

But you do have to ask, what design elements in your lobby will invoke these welcoming feelings?

What Should Your Lobby Look Like?

Do you have a trendy hotel restaurant, a family-friendly resort, or an experiential bar? To secure satisfaction amongst your guests you must stimulate their imagination in relation to your brand and what you do through your design.

Whether you are building from scratch or looking to enhance your lobby space, start by asking yourself these questions in relevance to who you are as a company:

  • Who is my clientele? Who are the people you need to connect with? Aim to connect with them on a multitude of sensory levels (i.e., eyesight, touch, smell, sound) through the design of your space. Remember to consider their abilities and factor accessibility and functionality into your design.  
  • What emotions do you want to provoke in your guests? Are you wanting your guests to feel curious, excited, cheery, amused, relaxed, etc.?
  • How would you like to capture their attention? Is it with an out-of-the-box wow factor, cozy furniture, a grand roaring fireplace, sleek decor, or mood lighting?
  • What expectations do you want to establish? How should guests expect to feel heading into your establishment after their encounter in your welcome area, or what can they be sure to experience if they choose to return?

Once you have established these elements, you can add your design flair to show them who you are.

Speaking of that flare, let’s talk about ways that you can weave your brand into your lobby space.

Benefits of a Recognizable and Branded Themed Lobby

Build a space that forges lasting emotional connections between you and your customers by adding brand activations.

A brand activation is an interaction with your brand that is intentionally implemented to create awareness and connect with your target audience on an exclusive level. Brand activations are an experience.

Prime Marketing puts it best…

Brand activation allows a brand to have a privileged moment with the consumer one-on-one to showcase the features and advantages of a product.

Creating lasting emotional connections between you and your customers gives them a memory they can take with them.

Here is a noteworthy example:

Lipton Iced Tea’s Slip & Slide in London

Take a peek at this Lipton Tea slip & slide that was assembled in downtown London early on a Friday morning. It was set up to encourage commuters to #BeADaybreaker, have a bit fun of on their way to work, and take a slip down the slide. This brought a ton of smiles to sliders’ faces, gave them a fun interaction on a Friday morning, and a memory associated with the Lipton brand to take with them.

This is an extreme example of course. Basically, if a consumer is physically engaging with a brand in any way, such as interacting with a photo op or getting swag from the team on a parade float, you have created an experience for your audience.

The IDS team created the Skip the Dishes parade float.

Depending on the vibe of your business, you can subtly mesh brand activations into your guest experience or go big!

Let’s take it slow and build up to the showstoppers…

Branded Items

Take your guest experience to the next level with some customization of the products that guests will use while checking in, having continental breakfast, or lounging while waiting for an Uber.

Add your branding to things like:

  • Pens
  • Coasters
  • Napkins
  • Water bottle labels

Create branded swag that guests can keep or purchase from your gift shop.

  • Tote bags
  • Mugs and tumblers
  • Lip balm
  • Sun hats and ball caps
  • Sunglasses

Encouraging guests to keep some swag as a memory of their trip is a thoughtful way to remind them of their time in your space.

Immersive Wall Murals

Transform your space into some special, something they wouldn’t see anywhere else. Wall murals are a great extension of your brand presence as they can be designed to fit the story of who you are – a cozy hideaway, a chic hangout, or a family-friendly escape. Why not liven up your space with a custom addition that will have guests oohing and awing!

Consider a contemporary and chic addition that brings a simplistic color pallet that appeals to a wide range of ages.

For a family-friendly location, try something more fun. An age-old game we all have a hard time passing up is I spy with my little eye. Hide various brand elements throughout the game for your guests to find while they relax in your lobby area. Also great for family rooms or play areas where kids and their parents can spend some time after a day of activities.

Themed Reception Desks

There is incredible value in staffing your waiting area with a wonderful individual or team to greet your visitors. Their bright smiles can elevate your visitor’s first moments in your space by giving them a moment to personally connect with those who represent your brand.

Why not elevate the location guests are directed to be greeted by turning it into an awe-inspiring centerpiece?

These modern reception desks are vibrantly chic. This refreshing design communicates luxury and relaxation.

These reception desks are fun and eye-catching and set the mood for an extraordinary experience.

Creative Lobby Seating

Functionality is a key factor in providing a comfortable sanctuary for your guests. Your visitors could be checking in after a long day on the road or returning from wandering the local tourist spots. Either way, they will appreciate a comfortable place to grab a moment of rest.

But who said functionality and comfort mean you have to sacrifice interesting design? Check out these practical and stylish seating solutions.

This bench seating is elegantly eye-catching. Make this coral sculpture the pearl of your lobby. Its sleek and luminous design elements will have guests feeling refreshed when they take a moment to rest their feet.

Guests can join these friendly seals perched in this cozy corner. Don’t forget to snap a picture! Your guests will have something to show their friends when they tell them they got to hang out with these friendly sea creatures.

In fact, give your visitors ample opportunity to snap the vacation away with these unforgettable photo ops…

Photo Opportunities

Encourage your guests to take home a memory – a picture with a branded photo op. This is the perfect addition to your lobby or reception area because as discussed above, it is a space that they will spend time in at various points during their stay. If guests are on a leisurely trip, stopping to snap a picture will seem enticing.

Cozy up in this lodge lobby and snap a memory with this bear cub… keep an eye out for mamma bear though.

Surfs up with this little shredding pup mascot. Guests can hop on the board and practice their skills before they hit the wave pool with their friends or family!

Speaking of the pool, what about a friendly lifeguard shark character leading from the lobby to the pool? The logo on his chest makes for a great social media promo when guests take their pictures with this charming character.

Eye-catching Centerpieces

Wow your guests with out-of-the-box dimension and creativity.

Eye-catching centerpieces can be monumental additions to your space. Your visitors will start associating you and your business with the memorable item that took their breath away the moment they walked into your space.

This remarkable sculpted whale soars above this modern designed lobby. Its impressive size and carefully crafted features are the perfect attention-grabbing recipe to make an impactful first impression.

These tree sculpted supporting beams turned this lobby into a contemporary forest. These could have been plain structural beams, but instead, guests are consistently wowed by the thoughtfully unique detail. 

First impressions count, so show your guests you are excited to invite them into a space that reflects who you are as a company. Tell your guests that you’re friendly, fun, and interactive! Go crazy or keep it simple, but strive to produce a reaction that makes your guests feel welcomed.

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