Lounging in the Hotel Lounge
Hotel Business Review|September-October 2020
Be it an investment idea or a high profile deal, business travellers prefer to do it in the hotel lounge. No wonder the hotels are now laying emphasis on the overall décor of this space. In this period of maintaining social distance, lounges are becoming popular not only with business travelers but even with people who are visiting hotels for what has recently come to be known as staycations. Places where they do their office work. Today the connotation WFH has come to mean Work From Hotel instead of Work From Home. The result is that today the hotel lounge offers sleek couches gourmet hors d’oeuvres, etc. The young discerning business heads or entrepreneurs resorting to WFH have an eye for luxury. Ashok Malkani finds that lounges are not only limited to business travelers but are also catering to the families and leisure travellers preferring personalized services
Ashok Malkani

The corporate guest in a hotel today does not merely book a hotel room to sleep. He also looks at other amenities that will make his stay a pleasant and memorable experience. And one of the important amenities is a lounge!

Lounges in hotels have, over the years, gained popularity and today have become an essential segment of the property. Globally, lounges play a key role in helping luxury, as well as other category hotels, maintain high room occupancy and strengthen customer loyalty. They serve as the most utilitarian option for business travellers, as all their needs are conveniently met in one location.

A place to relax and work, the lounge also makes for a great change in scenery from stuffy boardrooms and meeting rooms. One can reserve a quiet place to work or simply to refresh, relax and leave the stress behind for a little while. Travellers also prefer lounges for personalized services as well as tailor made food and beverage choices.

Today, lounges are preferred over F&B outlets, which do not provide the kind of privacy a corporate client requires. Discerning guests, particularly corporate travelers, prefer club lounges over other dining options.

Shilpi Khanna, Director of Rooms, JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar, states that a club lounge is essential to make the guest’s stay a memorable one. However, she adds that at their hotel only platinum and above guests have access to the lounge.

Chandrakant Shetty, Group Director, The VITS Kamats Group, declares, “Hotels are always trying to find innovative ways to attract new customers. Attracting local business and day visitors is what we are focusing on which is the new trend. It is a great way of additional revenue generation where in we cater to the guests who look out for comfortable spaces to work on important presentations, meet with business associates/partners or even work on post meeting updates. It is also a great space where people have used it effectively for networking purposes during their stay at our properties.”

Abhisek Basu, Executive Assistant Manager, Food & Beverage, The Leela Mumbai , avers, “Club lounge helps in enhancing the guest experience. The quality of a club lounge can be a strong influencer for many high flyers.”

The Perfect Lounge

Club lounges are one of the staples for business travellers. There’s a fairly standard format for the perks that the hotel club lounge offers. The list includes access to the lounge from early morning to well into the night, with a buffet breakfast starting early in the morning, free cocktails and soft drinks, an ever-changing food buffet throughout the day, business services and access to a meeting room. An upmarket hotel might offer extra frills.

There are different amenities that different guests may crave for. So what exactly makes for a great hotel lounge?

Shilpi asserts, “A great product combined with an enthusiastic team focused on guests is the winning combination. This team helps in curating personalized experiences for guests. For example, the team makes it a point to remember if the guest likes his/her martini shaken or stirred.”

She adds, “It is important to have a good breakfast and evening snacks menu. Free flowing tea, coffee, cookies , bakeries are pre requisites which enable endless meetings/ concalls to continue without interruptions. Maintenance and upkeep of the lounge should be top notch and a great view is always an icing on the cake.”

Abhisek disclosed, “We, at The Leela Mumbai, strongly believe that a good club lounge not only has to be a home away from home but rather an office away from the office.”

He adds, “From exclusive check-ins to all-day refreshments and having different spaces for different needs makes the lounge stand out. To put it simply, a lounge needs to be a one stop shop for all personal and business needs.”

Chandrakant avers, “Hotel longue is very popular with guests as it offers various zones for relaxation, working and dining. It offers high speed internet facilities and some even offer desktops to catch up on quick work for those who are travelling without their own tech. Some hotels even offer lounges at higher floors with great views which creates a high rise office atmosphere but in a relaxed environment. It is also a great place for a quick snack which is open throughout the day.”

Reasons for Popularity of Lounges

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