“Today,” says Mr Marriott, “guests check in, they go to their room, drop their stuff. Then they go back to the lobby and hang out with friends or work on their computer.”
As a result, lobby designs must now accommodate what he calls “this new desire to connect”. Take Courtyard, for example, one of the company’s cheaper brands. “In an old Courtyard hotel, two or three years ago, there was nothing going on in the lobby,” says Mr Marriott. “Today we have a bistro. And we have a lot of cubby places where people can get together.”
Bill Marriott has spent 60 years working for his family hotel group and talked to The Economist about how he’s seen the industry change. Besides making the lobby a more exciting place to hang out, Marriott says they’ve made desks smaller in hotel rooms to provide more space and because people just like working from bed. Also: guests don’t really use the closet and just grab things from their suitcases on the luggage rack.
The not unpacking of the suitcase is definitely true (for me at least). All of the hotels I’ve stayed at in the last two years were for weddings, and the main reasons for hanging out in the lobby were because it was the place that made the most sense to meet before heading out, and because they were always handing out free cookies. Suggestion to hotels: more free cookies, please.