If we get this right, it translates into a better outcome, a happier guest and greater spend.
The importance of light is often overlooked. It's subtle and it's complex. But when we combine the qualities of light with directionality and layering different light sources, we can create beautiful hospitality spaces. Only through the interplay of illuminated surfaces and careful balancing of light levels can we start to engage a guest and elicit an emotional response that contributes to their overall experience. If we get this right, it translates into a better outcome, a happier guest and greater spend.
Hotelintel.co asked architectural lighting design experts 'Nulty', to share some of their top intel with us on how to use lighting to communicate your brand. Here's what they told us:
Lighting Emotionally Connects People and Place
Architectural lighting design can be the catalyst that facilitates the relationship between an individual and how they experience a brand. Lighting provides an opportunity to control a person's perception of a space (and the material objects that fill it). Post Covid-19, the challenge is to create spaces where people can absorb a brand and provide compelling reasons for customers to engage and interact. A successful commercial project is about so much more than aesthetics, it's about taking a person on a journey -- a multi-sensory journey that brings that particular space to life.
Lighting Enables Personalization
Bespoke guest experiences in the hospitality sector are becoming more common, with technology allowing hotel guests to check in and access their rooms via a mobile device. It's now also possible, with the right technology, to pre-set the lighting for a guest before they even enter their hotel room. The system could also be linked to a guest's local time zone to determine whether they are likely to be suffering from jet lag upon arrival to the hotel. The system could adjust the lighting to help ease the impact of this before the guest enters their room. Once a profile has been created, the system could also be used for repeat customers making their transition from travel to hotel even easier. This type of innovation and detail helps provide a personally tailored guest experience.
Managing a Healthy Diet of 'Light'
Light can directly alter mood, influence our focus and dictate an individual's productivity. The body's natural circadian rhythm helps to regulate our sleep patterns enforcing a strong correlation with our physical and mental wellbeing. Lighting, whether natural or artificial, plays an essential role in triggering the release of hormones which subsequently impacts our circadian rhythm. The more we observe the impact light has on our hormonal function, the better we can design lighting systems that cater to each individual.
Ultimately when designing lighting schemes for the hotel sector, it's important to follow the natural rhythm and ethos of the hotel. Considering the way light is used through corridors and lobbies in hotels is important as this can either help with a gentle morning wake up or encourage guests to slow down and prepare for sleep.
A business hotel might use bright artificial lighting to 'jumpstart' a guest, however, a wellness facility might choose to create a more relaxed ambience through informal and forgiving lighting.
As lighting designers it's our job to carefully consider the different lighting components within a space to create different moods and schemes. The key to all of this is balancing light levels, directionality, color rendering and flexibility according to the type of atmosphere you want to create; which in turn is often linked to the experience and quite possibly brand messaging.
This means that we need to create different moods and ambiances, and also design flexible schemes that allow spaces to be reconfigured as needs change. Lighting and lighting control play a key role in achieving this functional transition, making what might have been an intimate, low uniformity, high contrast restaurant into a bright and comfortable location to work or relax in during the day.
Light and Exterior Spaces
One of the biggest takeaways from this year is that open roomy spaces will provide the greatest comfort and sense of security to those coming back to the office, booking a hotel break or enjoying a bite to eat with friends. People will now likely seek to congregate on rooftop terraces or outdoor areas, so setting this ambience is more important than ever to reflect the operator's brand and maximize guest comfort. Designing a mindful outdoor space can increase footfall and enhance the guest experience. Through innovative design and creative lighting solutions, projects can capitalize on their external spaces.
Lighting is a great way to create an atmosphere and can be used to manipulate a space to feel cosy and warm, even if being used in an outdoor area. Lighting external spaces should be sensitively done, with awareness to light spill on neighboring buildings and the surrounding ecology via sustainable solutions (such as shielded light sources with good glare control).
Nulty Bangkok is an architectural lighting design consultancy with a healthy selection of awards and diverse roster of clients. Nulty teams up with partners in a variety of industries -- from hotels and residences to retail, hospitality and light art -- to create designs that delight, excite and inspire those who use them.
Photo Credit Hakkasan Terrace, Abu Dhabi, Alex Jeffries Photography