When it comes to designing a hotel, there is certainly a lot to think about; however, one of the most important aspects that should never be overlooked is the wayfinding design. More than just a basic system of arrows, wayfinding design is a complex, artistic undertaking that can completely transform a space.
To discover more about what it can do for you, keep reading to learn about wayfinding design and why it should be your hotel’s main priority.
What is hotel wayfinding design?
Wayfinding design considers people’s movement and their relationship to a space. The principles of this art and science have to be understood to create an efficient, accessible, safe, and aesthetically pleasing wayfinding environment. Especially crucial in hotel environments, wayfinding design ensures that the appropriate visual cues (signs, paths, landmarks, etc.) are available to ensure that visitors can navigate themselves to their destinations. In other words, wayfinding design is a system of design elements that support a visitor’s orientation.
Why should wayfinding design be your hotel’s main priority?
Now that you understand what wayfinding design is, you may wonder why your hotel needs to focus on it. While many industries can significantly benefit from professional wayfinding design, the hotel industry is at the top of that list. Almost all of the benefits that wayfinding design offers are also integral to providing guests with a high-quality and memorable experience.
1. It improves guests’ experience.
Every decision you make related to the hotel has to – in some way – improve a guest’s experience. One of the essential reasons why wayfinding design is vital for hotels is because it has a significant impact on how a guest experiences the space.
For example, the best exterior wayfinding signage welcomes guests from the moment they step onto the premises and then continues to direct them as they start to navigate themselves around the unfamiliar surroundings. These exterior wayfinding signage solutions may include directional signs, directory signs, landmark signs, and entrance signs. Similarly, upon making their way to the reception, guests should be welcomed with an inviting sign informing them that they arrived at the correct destination.
When considering your wayfinding design, you want to think of each wayfinding touchpoint as being an attendant. Think about where guests would have a question or would need to make an inquiry, and then place a sign there with the answer. Ascertaining where these wayfinding decision points are is a crucial step in your wayfinding design strategy.
Moreover, all of these wayfinding signage elements must be designed with your brand in mind and manufactured to high standards. These are the first touchpoints where guests interact with your brand, so you want to demonstrate that they are going to be well looked after for their stay.
2. It organizes the space.
As mentioned before, the purpose of wayfinding design is to create a navigational space for all. For this reason, wayfinding design plays a significant role in an individual’s spatial orientation; for example, all hotel entry points must be clearly established, accessible, free from hazards, and suitable for that purpose. For each of these points, all usage must be considered, including guests, staff, goods deliveries, garbage removal, etc.
Therefore, when designing wayfinding hotel signs, it’s essential to thoroughly consider what necessary information must be communicated to visitors in the space. In some instances, the wayfinding signs will have to direct visitors to certain areas, while the purpose of other ones will be to communicate area names. Other wayfinding signs will provide additional information about the hotel’s unique areas or exciting material that enhances a visitor’s experience.
It is essential to understand that every hotel’s wayfinding design needs are different. Therefore, make sure you are designing and implementing a system that works for your hotel, the environment, and your brand. For example, you may need external wayfinding, internal wayfinding, meeting room wayfinding signage, and statutory signage. Whatever your needs, to ensure that you are providing a seamless experience for your guests, all wayfinding touch points should be coordinated.
3. It reinforces your brand’s image.
There are plenty of hotel options for customers to choose from, so how do they make a decision about where they are going to stay? In many cases, it comes down to branding. Generally, consumers opt for brands that they believe reflect their desired status. This is especially true of hotels as guests want to feel at home and taken care of when they stay somewhere new.
Wayfinding design is one of the most effective ways to reinforce your hotel brand’s image throughout your space. In addition to helping you connect with guests, wayfinding signage can extend your brand image in subtle ways. With a well-designed wayfinding system, you will be able to support, shape, and strengthen your branding to ensure that every guest and visitor has an experience that represents who you are.
After all, for first-time visitors, your wayfinding system is the first sense of hospitality they encounter on your premises. And, don’t underestimate how much first impressions matter. Therefore, your entire wayfinding system must help guests connect with the space while also demonstrating your brand values and aesthetics. When designing the wayfinding system, always consider how the hotel’s brand identity translates.
There is no denying that creating an effective wayfinding system is a challenge. Attempting to balance the aesthetic desires with the practical necessities is a hard dance to learn and requires experts if it is going to be designed and implemented effectively. Unfortunately, a poorly designed wayfinding system is even worse than having none at all.
For this reason, it is highly recommended that you work with the best signage solutions in Dubai. With years of experience in creating unique yet practical hotel wayfinding, they know what it takes to make your system stand out from the crowd.
Is your hotel looking to upgrade its wayfinding design this year? What do you think are the most essential elements of a successful hotel wayfinding system? Let us know your thoughts and any other relevant experiences in the comments below.
Zak Zakaria is a Waymaker at dezigntechnic in Dubai who also previously worked as the company’s Graphic Designer and Art Director. Zak is a creative with work experience in multiple multinational agencies such as JWT and Saatchi & Saatchi. Signage design is a family business, making Zak’s personal experience with signage his longest professional commitment.