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How Light Impacts Psychology & Mood in Hospitality

Nov 26, 2021

Within the first few seconds after entering the lobby, guests have already formed their first opinions of your hotel. For travelers, the atmosphere of a hotel lobby sets their expectations and provides a glimpse of what’s to come in their guest rooms. If people are initially pleased, and if service measures up, too, chances are guests will book return accommodations in the future. If guests are not impressed, they’ll most likely find somewhere else to stay next time.

When it comes to atmosphere and mood, hotel spaces have to get everything right to win the loyalty of first-time and repeat guests. Interior design, color scheme, furniture style, and lighting choices all contribute to the general aesthetics that guests experience. Getting these elements to cohesively work at setting the right tone for your brand involves significant planning. Lighting is a subtle element that’s often overlooked, but it plays a vital role throughout the hotel.

Hotel lighting has numerous jobs to do, and these tasks all have different purposes, whether functional or emotional. Research has shown that lighting influences people’s emotions and behaviors in virtually every type of environment – the workplace, school, retail stores, and hotels. If you’re wondering how lighting can make your guests feel more comfortable, and less moody, continue reading to learn valuable insights about light, personality, and the hospitality industry. 

How Light Impacts Psychology & Mood in the Hospitality Industry

Guest satisfaction always takes top priority in the hospitality industry. Recognizing the aspects of your brand that guests find favorable and the ones that guests dislike is critical to maintaining a successful hotel. A well-planned lighting strategy does more than just functionally light up a space, it has the ability to set an intended mood and impact the way guests feel. 

For example, lighting in the lobby typically serves a different purpose from lighting in the restaurant and bar area. A lobby that’s too dim may cause guests to feel weary and unfocused during check-in. And a bar area that’s too bright after a long day may make guests feel anxious and irritable. To avoid minor mishaps like these, it’s helpful to understand how humans psychologically react to lighting in different situations and settings, or during various times of day.        

Impacting Mood in the Hospitality Industry

The guests at your hotel may have wide ranging priorities and interests, but your job remains the same for everyone – to make sure each guest enjoys his or her stay. Business travelers, families, wedding parties, and college teams are common types of hotel guests, each with very different expectations and needs. Despite their differences, these groups of people all react quite similarly when it comes to your hotel’s lighting. That’s because the way humans respond to light is something that’s controlled almost entirely by our subconscious minds. 

Lighting variances such as color temperature, brightness, and intensity have been proven to affect human emotions. People generally respond better to bright, cool-white light when it’s daytime, and in busier hotel settings, including conference rooms, gym facilities, and coffee shops. In the dark early morning and late evening hours, people typically prefer lighting that ranges a bit warmer, which allows for comfort and relaxation during quieter times of day.

The lighting in your guest rooms is what matters most to clientele. Guests are happier with lighting they can customize, so they can create the type of mood they want. If guests can’t dim or control their room’s lighting, or if lights simply don’t work properly, guests may become frustrated and choose another hotel next time.          

Lighting Functions & Opportunities

What’s the best way to select lighting for a hotel? Lighting designers with hospitality experience will say it’s important to first understand how each hotel space functions. The next step is to design the lighting based on the purpose of each space, while maintaining the atmosphere and integrity of the surrounding aesthetic details.

A small boutique hotel in a renovated, historic property may opt for warmer lighting that complements the quaint, cozy setting. While a sleek, modern hotel may choose crisp, cool lighting to emphasize the clean lines and contemporary finishes within the space.   

To establish the ideal atmosphere in your hotel, it helps to know the following lighting attributes and how they can work to your hospitality brand’s advantage. 

Lighting Colors

Color temperature refers to how warm or cool light appears to the human eye. This is measured on the Kelvin (K) scale, with higher temperatures producing brighter, cool-white light, and lower temperatures emitting warmer, yellow-hued white light. 

Each type of light influences mood differently. Warmer lights make the environment feel inviting and peaceful, while cooler lights help us feel energized and alert. Using appropriate color temperatures in your lighting plan increases positive feelings among guests, which improves brand loyalty and leads to repeat bookings.

Some hotel spaces may benefit from lights that emit an actual color – including blue, purple, red, or green. Color-changing bulbs make sense for restaurant and bar areas where an intimate, yet fun atmosphere creates a memorable and pleasant guest experience.

Lighting Brightness

During the typical course of a day, certain hotel spaces function better under bright light, then transition to warmer, more subdued lighting as evening approaches. Being able to adjust and customize lighting in the lobby, hallways, reception areas, and more allows your staff to appropriately control the mood for a better guest experience.

When guests are in their private rooms, give them full control of how bright or dim they prefer each light source to be. Business travelers may want crisp, bright task lighting when they’re working, and warm, ambient light when they’re relaxing. Dimmer switches, and bulbs in a variety of color temperatures are essential for every room and suite in your hotel. 

Multiple Sources of Light

The best and most effective hotel lighting plans rely on multiple light sources to create a well-balanced atmosphere. Public spaces and private rooms should feature ambient, task, and accent lighting. These three sources of light are especially important for guest rooms and suites. Travelers appreciate a cozy, home-away-from-home vibe in today’s hotel spaces. Providing a mix of recessed overhead lighting, floor lamps, vanity lighting, wall sconces, and dimming capabilities gives guests all the options they need to create the perfect mood. 

TCP Lighting in Hospitality Settings 

Lighting may be a subtle detail, but if it doesn’t function properly, or set the appropriate mood, guests may feel they could have had a better experience at another hotel. If you think it’s time to upgrade your hotel’s lighting system, the experts at TCP can help you start planning and choosing products. TCP has decades of experience manufacturing long lasting, energy efficient LED lighting.

Our broad range of lighting for hotels includes high-quality luminaires, recessed ceiling lights, and a variety of bulbs for hotel fixtures like floor lamps, wall sconces, and chandeliers. LED lighting uses far less energy than traditional fluorescent or incandescent lights, so you can save money with lower energy bills. 

Are you ready to start planning? Contact us today. Learn more about our hospitality lighting.

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