The travel industry as a whole is experiencing some pretty awesome growth. From air fare to touristy destinations and of course —hospitality. The meteoric rise is being met with more supply. Airlines, hot spots, and hoteliers are upping their game to acquire a bigger piece of the travel industry. Out-of-the-box style thinking is the new norm for newer builds. SOSS invisible hinges can be just what you need for that out of the box thinking.
At the early part of the growth, just making your hotel a bit more intimate and unique allowed you to slap the title “boutique” onto your name and that also meant having a younger crowd that filled your rooms. Fast forward to the present and that word is borderline cliché. It’s going to take some bigger ideas to make your location stand out among the toughening crowd.
This post focuses on one. Secret places and rooms.
Whether it’s the novelty factor or the theory that we never really grow up at heart, these secret rooms (where created) have been a headline feature for some hotels. You have to admit, if guests are on their favorite travel site comparing the options and a hotel has a hidden (and functional) space; you may just win their business over the competition.
Let’s go over some of the reasons and potential uses for a secret space in your hotel.
Reasons to Have One
We’ve already touched on differentiation, but there are several other reasons to put a hidden room or corridor in your lodging.
Word of Mouth
When you first build the space you may get some attention, but by and large, guests staying with you may not know about your room until they get there.
That’s perfectly fine.
In fact, it may be better that your “secret” place may not draw a ton of exposure through media and online thoroughfare. Guests finding out about your hidden features will feel like they’ve stumbled upon a bonus at arrival. It’s sure to leave an impression that they tell their friends and colleagues about.
Keeps Traffic Inside
Business travelers are in town for work, but there are several hours of leisure on most business trips. If there isn’t anything exciting in your hotel, they may look elsewhere for entertainment. This fact may be why you have a restaurant and other amenities.
Imagine if those features are hidden in your hotel. The foods good, but the atmosphere would be worth talking about (more on that in a minute).
Ideas for Using Them
A hidden room/hallway/space is only as good as it’s function. You can’t just throw some invisible hinges on a section of wall and expect people to push it open and see an empty space. A couple of points on this:
- The place you hide has to draw people in, being hidden only in physical nature, but well known in the mind of guests. Find inventive ways to lets your occupants know it’s there.
- There has to be a good use of the space. It can’t be a boring sitting area or empty space, it should be the coolest space on your property.
Here are a couple of ideas to help.
You could go full-fledged function with your hotel’s restaurant having a hidden entrance. However, we recommend having a bona fide opening to the public. This hidden spot could have a “regular” door and one hidden and only accessible to guests from inside the hotel. We want it to be fun, not drive away would be business.
Restaurant’s Watering Hole
We understand that some business folks love to have a night cap after a long day of travelling. How cool would it be to have a hidden space within the public restaurant? You have to pull on a bust of William Shakespeare to access the intimate room with the barkeep lovingly drying glasses upon entry.
Every time those guests are in town, you know where they’d be staying.
If you are a boutique and have some themed rooms, it could be a neat trick to have some secret passageways leading to the lobby or restaurant.
Fun Fact: The Sealbach in Louisville, KY use to frequent a popular gangster in the early part of the 1900’s. There was a secret passage built for him to escape from authorities if needed. Both the hotel and passageway are still there today (something to think about).
Choosing Style & Function
Getting your own secret space will take some planning, but here are some brief tips.
Pick a Style: There are a few ways to play with your new space.
- It could literally be underground by using less storage space in the basement of your hotel, or it could be made to look like it’s underground to take your guests into that mindset upon entry.
- You can choose a theme that goes along with it (e.g. Mafia, ancient cavern, Indiana Jones style). There are a lot of options here so get creative.
- Think about your clientele. If you have an older community, a 1920’s mafia style may make them nostalgic (a good thing). Take a look at your usual crowd and enhance their experience.
Pick a Function: Sure, the hidden room is out-of-the-box, but you can take it even further. Here are a few ideas.
- The obvious choices are still good. Your restaurant, a hidden path to a common area, use your current space more effectively and make it a huge selling point and not just a place that everyone else has.
- Use the places that people congregate. Pools and Jacuzzi areas are prime spots to make a hidden entrance, or even make the entire space an adventure.
- Or, you could make an entirely new feature. If you have a ton of unused space or a decent budget; you could go all out. Make a hidden room and turn it into an escape challenge (very popular). Experiential entertainment is growing faster than the hospitality industry. A fun place for guests (and locals) is sure to draw attention and some serious revenue.
Use Quality Products
Build it Well: If you are an independent hotel, we hope you understand the need for cleanliness and overall quality of the service and location. Nevertheless, here are our best tips to build an incredible hidden space.
- It needs to be a showstopper. Take your time with design and renderings. Make sure that the entrance is well hidden, but breathtaking once guests get inside. If the entrance is the coolest part, it will solely be a novelty. In this case, it’s both about the journey and the destination.
- Use quality materials. This should go without saying, but the materials and hardware need to handle the traffic you hope to achieve. Build it to last by using things like our invisible hinges. They’re perfect for building hidden entrances that will last decades under the pressure of popularity and high-traffic.
- Make it seamless. If it’s hidden, it needs to start out looking like everything else. Blended in with the features of your current design. That said, when they open it to the (insert your idea here), it should be like nothing else they’ve seen.
Now it’s time to take out a sheet of paper and go for a stroll around your property. Put on the child-like mind and be adventurous. If you need some help with the materials, check out one of our dealers or click here to find out more about our hinges.