5 Tips for Making the Most of Your Hotel Lobby

Your hotel’s lobby is the heart of your hotel. Could it be doing more for your bottom line and your guests? With a little forethought and planning, your property’s lobby could be much more than just a place to check in. Here are five tips to make the most of your lobby and transform it from a transitional space into a haven of hospitality full of activity, warmth, and welcome.

1. Attitude is Everything: Greeting Guests with a Smile

Picture this: you step into the lobby after a long journey, luggage in hand and weariness in your bones. What do you want to see? A friendly face, a warm smile, a genuine welcome. It isn’t rocket science. Attitude truly is everything. Greeting guests with a smile sets the tone for their entire stay. It’s the first impression, and as they say, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Train all staff to treat guests in a friendly and helpful manner.

2. Self Check-in Options: Embracing Convenience

In this modern age of convenience, why not allow guests to check themselves in? Self-serve kiosks and mobile apps offer a seamless experience, allowing guests to bypass queues and take control of their check-in process. Some guests prefer the autonomy and efficiency of self-service, so why not cater to their preferences? Bonus: it shortens check-in queues and takes pressure off front desk staff!

Pro tip: There are a variety of self-service hotel applications to consider, including online check-in, keyless entry, and a digital concierge—all of which can help streamline your front desk duties, freeing up time for other hospitality initiatives.

As smiling guest walks through a charming lobby, using her mobile phone for self check-in.
Shift the focus with guest self check-in!

3. Pass the Vibe Check: Setting the Ambiance

Walking into a dead-quiet hotel lobby with just the sound of the agent clicking on a keyboard feels awkward as heck. Your hotel lobby has the opportunity to set the tone for your guests’ overall experience. Does it pass the vibe check?

The decor, the music, and the overall vibe should be aligned with your brand and the preferences of your guests. Comfortable seating, stand-up tables, soothing music—these are the ingredients for creating an inviting atmosphere where guests feel at ease. Your lobby is also a great space for showcasing artwork by local artists and, as you see in some coffee shops, your walls could be ideal for rotating works for sale.

4. Utilize the Space: Beyond Check-in Queues

Why limit the lobby to check-in queues? Depending on its size, this space can serve multiple purposes. Don’t just let it be a transient space; let it be an experience, an extension of the warmth and hospitality your hotel exudes. After all, a memorable lobby sets the tone for an unforgettable stay. Here are some ideas for maximizing your lobby space, depending on your guest base:

  • Multi-functionality: Consider your lobby as a chameleon, ready to adapt to the needs and desires of your guests. It could morph into a venue for cocktail hours, showcasing local artwork, or hosting lectures and literary evenings. Tailor it to your target market, making it an irresistible magnet for those you aim to serve. Don’t forget to think local and double your money.
  • Ambient Vibes: Imagine a local DJ spinning a laid-back set while patrons sip on sophisticated non-alcoholic cocktails. It’s the perfect prelude to an evening of relaxation and unwinding. Let the music melt away the day’s stresses as your guests settle into the rhythm of the evening.
  • Morning Meets: Mornings are sacred, especially when accompanied by the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and the promise of a continental breakfast. Picture a spread of muffins, croissants, and an array of coffees and teas, beckoning guests to start their day on the right note. Yes, please indeed!
  • Workations and Co-working Stations: This one is perfect if you cater to business types who are already harnessing your superfast Wi-Fi for work. Create hotel workstations with tables and accessible outlets, and encourage guests out of their rooms and into your lobby.
Workationers utilize the hotel lobby.
Great Wi-Fi, great coffee, and great snacks will entice guests out of their rooms and into your lobby.

Pro tip: Running the numbers before implementing new initiatives goes without saying, then tracking your ROI. These services needn’t be free and could go a long way to increasing TRevPAR.

5. Increase Your Revenue: The Art of Upselling

As you focus on creative ways of transforming your lobby into a hub, use it as an opportunity to inform and inspire your guests to seize everything your hotel has to offer. From room upgrades and in-room treats to spa packages and restaurant deals, help guests get the most out of their stay to boost ancillary revenue. 

Pro Tip: Provide a frictionless purchase experience for your guests with WebRezPro PMS at the helm. WebRezPro integrates with Point-of-Sale (POS) systems to make it easy to charge restaurant and retail purchases to a guest’s room, automatically verifying the guest, room number, and credit limit, and posting the charge to the reservation. It’s convenient for guests and for you. 

The lobby is more than just a place to check in; it’s the beating heart of the hotel experience. With the right attitude, amenities, and ambiance, you can transform this transitional space into a welcoming oasis where guests feel valued, comfortable, and eager to return. So go forth and create the perfect lobby—your guests will thank you for it.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published August 2018 and last updated May 2024.