Hotel Redesign: How to Attract Guests to Your Place?

I often encounter the task of redesigning unused spaces in restaurants or hotels. Unused spaces mean missed opportunities for hospitality businesses to generate profit. This issue is especially relevant for large dining areas with buffet-style service or spacious restaurants that, for various reasons, have become inconvenient.

Unused or underutilized spaces can result from factors such as:

  • Lack of necessity
  • Poor planning
  • Unclear navigation for guests

This occurs when there is a decrease in guest flow, which can be related to changes in the target audience or misidentification of the target audience and their needs. You may notice that certain tables in a specific area of the restaurant are more occupied than others. It can also result from guests "wandering" into areas not meant for them, such as stumbling upon the staff dining room while looking for the à la carte restaurant. Some address this issue by stationing an employee to guide guests to the correct areas.

Arosa_3.jpg Project Demo hall and dining area "Arosa"

Utilizing unused spaces in hotels and restaurants can be beneficial and profitable for businesses. Spaces like buffet-style dining areas or large restaurants may become unattractive to guests for various reasons, such as improper planning, lack of necessary furniture and equipment, or inconvenience in navigation.

There are 3 design approaches when dealing with spaces that have lost their purpose during operation.

It happens that the target audience changes over time, and the means to capture their attention change as well. These means include design trends, materials, lighting, and furniture. The solution here is simple—keep your audience engaged by creating intuitive designs and updating the interior periodically or performing a full redesign every 5-10 years.

Terr_03_5.jpg Project Roof Terrace Restaurant

So, how do you start utilizing these spaces?

This is where architects and designers come in. There are three potential solutions, and one of them is sure to suit your needs:

  1. Homestaging
  2. Redesign
  3. Hotel (restaurant) navigation

1. Homestaging

One way to utilize unused spaces is through homestaging. This involves rearranging existing furniture and purchasing new pieces to create a new interior. The space itself doesn't change its purpose, but it can be divided into different zones with varying furniture and decor. For instance, a large restaurant can be divided into several cozy zones with different types of furniture and decor, thereby creating a more appealing atmosphere for guests.

Homestaging is the process of decorating and furnishing an interior to create a pleasant atmosphere and a comfortable space for guests in hotels or restaurants. Primarily, homestaging is used to attract guests and increase profits, as a cozy and stylish environment can enhance the appeal and competitiveness of the establishment.

The aim of homestaging is to create a pleasant and cozy atmosphere that will attract guests and contribute to their satisfaction. It can also help the hotel or restaurant stand out from competitors and increase brand recognition.

To use homestaging as a marketing tool, consider the following methods:

  1. Unique interior design: To catch the attention of visitors, create an interior design that is unique and memorable. Unconventional materials, non-standard color schemes, unique shapes, and more can be used.
  2. Comfortable interior: Homestaging aims to create a comfortable and hospitable atmosphere, which can attract a large number of guests. Comfortable furniture, soft pillows and throws, flowers, and pleasant scents all contribute to a sense of coziness and comfort.
  3. Convenience and functionality: Additionally, the hotel or restaurant interior should be functional and convenient for guests. All necessary interior elements should be provided to ensure visitors can comfortably navigate and stay in the area.
  4. Aesthetics and beauty: Homestaging helps create an interior that is not only comfortable and functional but also beautiful and aesthetic. Beautiful interior elements, thoughtful arrangement of elements and decor, and pleasing color schemes all create a sense of harmony and beauty.
    Interior design and subsequent room renovations can improve guests' impressions of the business and attract new clients.

2. Redesign

Redesigning spaces can help address issues related to improper zoning, lack of necessary furniture and equipment, and create new functional zones that may be more attractive to guests.

Functional zoning refers to architecturally and design-wise designated areas intended for specific activities. Zoning categorizes areas based on their intended functions, such as bar areas, seating areas, buffer zones, customer service areas, food preparation areas, waiting areas, relaxation areas, etc. There can be multiple zones.

Restaurant design
Example of a complete restaurant redesign, Alperi at the Areal Congress Hotel

2. Redesign (continued)

Functional zoning plays a crucial role in the success of a hotel or restaurant, and redesigning the space can be an effective way to optimize it. By reassessing the layout and purpose of the rooms, you can create a more efficient and attractive environment for both guests and staff.

The goal of a redesign is to improve the flow and functionality of the space, ensuring that each area serves its purpose effectively. For example, a large dining hall with a buffet can be divided into smaller, more intimate sections, each with its unique ambiance and menu offerings. This approach creates a sense of exclusivity and allows for more personalized service, making it more appealing to guests.

Additionally, a redesign can modernize the interior, updating it to align with current design trends and the preferences of the target audience. Emphasizing sustainability, natural materials, and a fresh color palette can breathe new life into the space and create a more inviting atmosphere.

By incorporating flexible design elements, such as movable partitions and modular furniture, you can adapt the space to accommodate different types of events and gatherings. This versatility enhances the appeal of the venue to various groups, from business meetings to private celebrations.

Moreover, the redesign process provides an opportunity to enhance the overall guest experience. By optimizing the acoustics, lighting, and ventilation, you can create a more pleasant and comfortable environment for diners. Adding strategic touches, such as artwork, greenery, and unique decor, can elevate the ambiance and leave a lasting impression on guests.

3. Hotel (Restaurant) Navigation

In some cases, the challenges associated with underutilized spaces may be resolved through improved navigation within the hotel or restaurant. Clear signage and wayfinding systems can help guide guests to their intended destinations and reduce the chances of accidental encounters with restricted areas.

Analyze the layout and accessibility of the venue to identify potential points of confusion for guests. Strategically placed signs, both visual and textual, can help direct guests to the appropriate areas, such as the reception, restaurant, bar, and restrooms. Clear, intuitive pathways can be created to ensure smooth circulation throughout the premises.

Additionally, digital tools, such as interactive maps on mobile apps or tablets, can provide guests with real-time directions and information about the hotel or restaurant's amenities and services. Such technological solutions can enhance the overall guest experience and simplify their interactions with the space.

Furthermore, staff training plays a crucial role in ensuring seamless navigation for guests. Employees should be well-informed about the layout of the venue and be ready to provide assistance and directions to guests when needed.


Utilizing unused or underutilized spaces in hotels and restaurants is essential for maximizing revenue and creating a more attractive and competitive establishment. Whether through homestaging, redesign, or improved navigation, investing in the optimization of these spaces can significantly enhance the overall guest experience and contribute to the long-term success of the business.

Successful design approaches should take into account the changing needs and preferences of the target audience, keeping the interior fresh, functional, and aesthetically pleasing. By continuously adapting to evolving trends and engaging guests with innovative design concepts, hotels and restaurants can create a memorable and welcoming environment that keeps guests returning for more.

Frequency of Redesign and Renovation for Hospitality Spaces

The frequency of redesigning and renovating spaces can depend on various factors, such as changes in guest preferences, shifts in the target audience, budget considerations, and more. On average, it is recommended to undergo a redesign and renovation every 5-7 years to enhance the guest experience and maintain competitiveness.

When undertaking redesigns and renovations, it's essential to consider guest needs and interior design trends to create a cozy and comfortable atmosphere. Budgetary constraints should also be taken into account to optimize costs for materials and equipment.

In general, interior design and room renovations can help a business elevate its level of service and attract new clients. Regular room renovations are necessary to sustain the business's competitiveness and leave a positive impression on guests.

Redesigning and Homestaging

Redesigning a hotel involves changing the interior design to improve functionality, aesthetics, and create a unique ambiance for guests. This process often includes furniture replacement, updating wall and ceiling finishes, and other changes necessary to achieve the desired effect.

On the other hand, homestaging is a stylistic approach to decorating a hotel using elements and details reminiscent of home to create a cozy and homey atmosphere. This may involve the use of textiles, pillows, throws, decorative items, candles, and other elements that evoke a sense of familiarity.

Thus, hotel redesign and homestaging are two different approaches to creating a unique atmosphere in hotel spaces. Redesign focuses on making changes, while homestaging involves decorative techniques. However, these two approaches can complement each other and be used together to achieve the best results.

In other words, homestaging is when you fill all your hotel rooms with carpets and antique furniture from your basement, and redesign is when you hire an interior designer to throw it all out and start from scratch (just kidding).

3. Navigation

Another solution to addressing unused spaces can be navigation.

This is often tackled head-on with signs and pointers, which also need to be implemented. However, it is better to guide guests through interior design, making pathways to the elevator or staircase, dining areas, or à la carte restaurants more intuitive. Navigation can be integrated into the interior design or achieved through functional zoning with appropriate furniture selection.

Example of navigation we designed for a sports center, GYMPA.

If the buffet-style dining area operates like a flow-through establishment (eat and leave, freeing up space for the next guests), the à la carte restaurant is a place where guests can linger. You can manage these flows using different approaches, such as using rigid chairs and benches in one case and comfortable soft armchairs and sofas in the other. Incorporating navigation into the interior design of spaces like the lobby and reception will help guests orient themselves more quickly within the hotel. Signage and pointers can also be used to direct guests to the desired spaces or zones.

Various reasons can cause previously utilized spaces to become poorly utilized by guests, such as changes in the audience or shifts in guest preferences. If a business fails to address these changes and adapt to them, unused spaces can become inconvenient for guests and inefficient for the business. Therefore, it is essential to monitor changes in the audience and adjust interior design and navigation accordingly.

Navigation within a hotel or restaurant is a crucial part of successful business operations. Intuitively understandable navigation helps guests find the necessary rooms and zones more quickly and easily, leading to higher guest satisfaction. The layout and arrangement of furniture are the most common design tasks. The layout begins with functional zoning, followed by the placement of appropriate furniture for each zone.

A navigation project is an essential tool for easing orientation within the hotel or restaurant premises and enhancing visitor convenience. If your establishment has multiple different zones, halls, or rooms, navigation becomes even more critical.
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Example of navigation we designed for a sports center, GYMPA.

When Should You Order a Navigation Project?

It's best to begin designing navigation during the creation of the interior to consider all peculiarities and avoid misunderstandings. But if you haven't thought about it during the design phase, it's better late than never.

Does a navigation project fall under graphic design? In a sense, yes. A navigation project includes creating room plans, designing signs and indicators, selecting fonts and color schemes. Therefore, both logic and aesthetics are essential for effective navigation.

A navigation project includes: room layout with furniture and equipment arrangement, description of movement routes, signs and pointers, information boards, and other elements that help guests orient themselves on the premises.

For example, in a hotel where I recently stayed, the navigation was so good that I easily found my way to my room despite being there for the first time. They also used a humorous sign directing guests to the pool - "Swim or go home," which added to the mood and brought smiles to guests' faces. So, besides its practical benefits, a navigation project can also become a branding element that helps your hotel or restaurant stand out from competitors.

For information on how to do homestaging on your own, read HERE.

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