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Why great lighting design helps hotels grow

By Brent Shelly // Posted in

For hotels, there is one primary goal: create a lasting first impression that will have guests planning their next stay. Often, this is achieved by setting a tone in the space that will define the guests's entire stay.

Modern or comfortable? Clean lines or a more relaxed feel? An architect typically knows the intention of the hotel before the project begins. It's a lighting designers job to make sure the right fixtures complement that intention.

When the lighting design hits the mark — and contributes to the overall brand of the hotel — it can actually help hotels grow. After all, hotels are built on their brand. The more the brand resonates with guests, the more likely they are to return (and full rooms lead to more growth).

Hotels and lighting are undeniably intertwined, and there are four ways great lighting design helps hotels grow.

Setting the tone and environment of the hotel brand

Since first impressions are incredibly important at hotels, setting the tone and environment of the brand is key. The brand sets the expectation for customers. From the moment a guest steps inside a hotel, lighting can help define their experience. Whether it's a boutique modern hotel, a historic hotel, or a large conference hotel, the right lighting can reflect that tone from the beginning.

For this reason, we recommend spending a lot of time and attention on hotel lobbies. Guest rooms are important, but the guest experience starts from the very first interaction. Our lighting design team looks for unique opportunities to add that 'wow' factor into lobby designs.

There are plenty of other spaces where lighting design can reinforce the brand as well. A historic hotel needs the right fixtures for a cohesive look — a modern fixture might not make sense. Poor lighting in a conference center is not beneficial to the primary audience using the space. The lighting should be flexible enough to create the right space for both learning and relaxing.

Pictured below: Bally's in Las Vegas. The functional lights in the ballroom area can transform the space depending on the function.

Ballys Final 1 Ballys Final 15 Ballys Final 9

Attracting guests and giving them a relaxing and pleasant stay

Once guests are inside, the right lighting design can elevate the experience. As guests walk down the hall to their room, or stop in the restaurant for dinner, the lighting should be consistent with the brand. This is also your opportunity to say, "This is your home away from home." Warm, inviting lighting can ensure that guests enjoy their stay and don't feel overstimulated. Ultimately, you want them to leave saying, “I can’t wait to come back.”

The interior of the building is typically a focal point when discussing relaxing and enjoyable stays, but the parking lots and parking garage areas are equally as important. After all, safety is one of the top components as to whether or not a guest will return. All parking areas should be well lit, so guests can feel safe at any time of the day or night.

Pictured below: Hotel Indigo. The spaces inside were cohesively designed for a classy and inviting environment.

bar hallway lobby

Brand recognition from the outside

Brand recognition starts from the very first time a guest sees a hotel. Typically, that's as they are pulling up in the parking lot or to the front entrance. Exterior lighting sets the bar for brand recognition. Of course, that starts with the right well-lit signage. But lighting contributes to the brand even after the sun goes down. Are you going for a quiet, toned down effect or are you going for more Miami vibes? 

To see how our lighting design team used exterior lighting to enhance hotel property and attract guests, check out our work on The Florida Hotel (also pictured below). For more, check out this video of the dynamic exterior lighting in action at this hotel. 

Florida Hotel-1 Florida Hotel2-1

Knowing where to spend on lighting and how to save

As we've mentioned, there are obvious spaces in hotels where you want to give guests an unforgettable experience. Those are the areas where we'd recommend spending a little more to make a big splash. Since safety is also a top priority, areas like stairwells and parking lots should not be a focus for skimping on quality.

However, there are ways to make sure brand recognition is met while keeping budget in mind. A great lighting partner can help you know when to spend more on a statement lighting piece and where to go for lower-cost lighting that still performs well. Our lighting design team is unique because we can source the product we select. Our relationships with manufacturers allow us to find the products within the right timeline.

If you’re working on a hotel project or you’re a hotel brand looking to grow, we’re always here to help. To see our work, you can always check out our portfolio. And if you're curious the best point in a project to bring in a lighting designer, we explain the benefits of including one from the very beginning.

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