The front desk/lobby area is the only chance you have to make a good first impression. How can your lobby “dress to impress” and set the tone for the rest of your facility? The number one requirement, of course, is cleanliness. Even a small amount of dust in a lobby can lead guests to wonder about the upkeep of their room. Cleanliness is expected and most likely unnoticed by most guests, but a lack of it will draw attention. There is a real challenge here for housekeeping because this is a high traffic area. Depending on the location and services offered, hotel managers need to be vigilant about the individual cleanliness requirements. For instance, in a snowy environment or a facility with an indoor pool, special attention is paid to keeping floors dry and carpets mildew free. Scent plays an important role, as well. A pleasant scent will reinforce the impression of cleanliness, and certain smells can affect the comfort, mood, and overall satisfaction of your guests. No matter the style and décor of your lobby, good lighting is important. Lighting focuses attention without intruding on the senses, and can produce the same effects as scent on mood. Keep your particular guests’ needs in mind when choosing a lighting style. If your lobby serves as a library and workspace, guests will appreciate a brighter atmosphere. Low-key and understated lighting is best for areas used for entertainment or relaxation. Guests must feel comfortable from the moment they walk in the door. I once walked into a hotel where the front desk was hidden behind a stand of trees in the lobby. While the décor was breathtaking, I was tired and not impressed with the need to go searching for staff. Every lobby should include a courteous (and easy to find) staff, as well as information on hotel amenities, nearby attractions and services, and access to any guests require while traveling. What makes a great first impression in your lobby?