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Minding Design.

Linking behavioral science and the design of spaces, services, and objects.

Hotels as public spaces

There’s an increased focus on creating spaces for social interactions in hotels.

“The lobby is the new public square,” said Aytan Litwin, founder and chief executive officer of White Space, a company that manages the manufacturing of custom interiors for hospitality and commercial spaces. Mr. Litwin points to Ace Hotel in New York, which opened in 2009, as the property that pushed the phenomenon into high gear.

“The trend emerged organically and accidentally,” he said. “The lobby seemed to be perpetually full with people talking, drinking and working. The Ace Hotel didn’t set out to create a co-working space — the term didn’t really exist at that point.””

For business travelers, loneliness can be a big problem.

Social spaces in hotels might help.

““In many cases, solo travel would mean working in a guest room, maybe hanging in the bar,” Mr. Stoeckl said. “But even if you’re alone, you want to be alone together, ideally making connections with locals that are actually hanging out in that public space.”

The Moxy brand now has over 80 hotels in the pipeline across the U.S., Europe and Asia. Marriott International brands that are focusing on revamped common spaces are expected to more than double in size by 2022, growing at a rate that is four times as high as that as the growth for the rest of the Marriott International portfolio.

Sheraton hotels will also be revamping some 450 existing lobbies, requiring each lobby to have something called the “productivity table.” The tables will have outlets, USB ports, and drawers that users can rent and lock. Lobbies will also have a private phone booth in the lobby, and meeting room spaces available for rent.”

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