Changes in the Hotel Industry


“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.

Photo: Philip

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13 Comments / Post A Comment

EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

It’s really interesting that they see a connection between the use of mobile technology and the need for more social spaces. That’s sort of counter-intuitive but also encouraging?

amglory89 (#3,588)

@EvanDeSimone ‘I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.’ Einstein (or according to google, maybe not Einstein)

Stina (#686)

Advice to hotel chains: Never. get rid of the continental breakfast. That is my deciding factor when booking. This: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=st21dIMaGMs is my personal favorite Key and Peele sketch because that is me.

erinep (#4,236)

@Stina bonus points if they have a “make your own” waffle station!

Mike Dang (#2)

@erinep Make your own waffles, yes!

@erinep If the ratty-bedspread, moldy-shower Travelodge I stayed at in April can have a make-your-own waffle station, every hotel should have one. Also, true story: my husband met a couple of lady bounty hunters at that waffle station. Mr. Marriott, take note: waffles bring people together!

Stina (#686)

@erinep @MikeDang @cuminafterall
InDEED. Indeed.

Along the lines of smaller closets, I’ve also noticed that hotels don’t include dressers or tables with drawers (I’m blanking on what that piece of furniture is actually called). And a lot more hotels have (perhaps in place of a breakfast?) a happy hour in the lobby with free drinks.

Caitlin with a C (#3,578)

@missedconnections Ummm… where are these hotels with free drinks? The best I have ever seen are free cookies.

loren smith (#2,300)

@Caitlin with a C I have had free drinks at smaller, more “indie” hotels. Unfortunately never the same hotels that have the waffle station.

Noooooo don’t take away my closet space! As a lady traveling for business, I need my clothes to look pressed and ready to go-I need a closet! However, the one thing I really need that hotels rarely provide is a coat hook next to the door-I don’t want to hang my coat that probably smells of smoke and pizza in with all my fancy clothes.

As an aside: the last place I stayed was the Trump. BALLER. When work pays.

swirrlygrrl (#2,398)

@Jake Reinhardt AGREED! Unless I am staying for literally one night, I unpack – dresses get hung so the wrinkles come out, shoes get lined up, undies and tshirt and things get put in drawers. Part of this is, now that I am a carry-on only traveller most times, a duffel bag is not particularly conducive to living out of. Another part is that, for my job, I have on occassion had to stay in hotels for 6 weeks at a time. I need drawers and a closet for that – no question.

Fig. 1 (#632)

Unpack? Hang clothes? Use the desk?? I have been doing hotels wrong, it seems. I don’t even unpack at my relatives’ houses.

I feel like I’ve discovered forks after spending a third of my life eating with my fingers.

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