A Guide to Hotel Design Pt 16: Reception – Make it Smiles Better
Reception should be the friendly face of the hotel. The space needs a smile, so the interior created must be welcoming, warm, and friendly. Unfortunately, the designer has no influence over the staff, who must also smile their welcome. A famous hotelier once said to me that they could not understand anyone being in the hospitality industry if they could not smile a welcome at guests.
As a designer, I tried to imagine a guest arriving in the hotel. So come with me whilst I imagine, and see how it leads to a set of criteria for the design.
Imagine it is November. Imagine yourself as a salesperson that has not had a good day. Your car is full of samples, and no one has liked them. Much as you might want them all to be stolen overnight, your first requirement is that they are safe in the hotel car park, so as you arrive you look for the most secure place to park. It is dark and pouring with rain so as you run to the door into the hotel, you are looking for a welcome, perhaps a nice fire to dry off in front of and a welcoming armchair to sink into. A drink put in your hand would be nice, together with some slippers and a menu for a good restaurant. You have been here before so recognition would be good, along with someone taking your bag to your room and making you feel as at home as you ever are on your travels.
Is this fantasy? Not really, some hotels are able to use computing power to achieve this. Others dispense with a reception desk altogether and greet and register with a hand held tablet computer, putting a guest at their ease and sitting them down to register them. If a guest is a regular then make them feel welcome back. Use your geography, the layout of the hotel to help deliver the surprise and pleasure of a proper welcome.