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3 Ways Tunable White Lighting Helps You Deliver a Standout Boutique Experience

When it comes to the future of boutique hospitality, light has a profound role to play—both in terms of guest experience and business operations. Hot...

When it comes to the future of boutique hospitality, light has a profound role to play—both in terms of guest experience and business operations. Hoteliers have long understood the importance of lighting for ambiance, but when lighting is designed to support the 24/7 operations of a hotel, it can be a key piece to driving more revenue.

Tunable white light is a burgeoning technology that enables boutique property owners and managers to craft unique experiences that delight guests and drive business. Rather than being limited to a fixed white hue, tunable white light allows you more control over the precise color temperature and intensity of the light from a given fixture—on a scale of warm (think the soft glow of a campfire) all the way to cool (picture the crisp blue bright of a conference room). With this flexibility, boutique properties can dial in the vibe of a given space with extreme specificity to create the perfect ambiance for whatever task, event, or mood is at hand. Let’s take a look at a few ways tunable white light creates new opportunities for boutique properties to curate standout guest experiences—while improving revenue.

Completely change the feel of lobby space with a tunable white lighting system | Photo Credit: Andrea Calo

1. Maximize your public spaces.

Picture this: As the sun rises, a soft white interior light floods the cafés, lobbies, and other public spaces in your hotel. It’s perfectly calibrated to blend with the daylight pouring in from the windows, promoting a positive feeling as guests greet the day. With the approach of the afternoon, the light shifts imperceptibly, cooling to a hue that’s brighter and more energizing—bringing a crispness to business conversations, conferences, negotiations, and other events of the workday. Later that evening, the light dims slightly, inviting your guests to set aside the cares of the day and wind down to enjoy a happy hour, working dinner, or treat themselves to a simple glass of wine after a busy day. Tunable white light enables you to create all these experiences with one light source. 

Boutique hotels all over the world are already implementing this technology. In LA’s NoMad Hotel, the lobby is used for three meals a day, and the lighting shifts accordingly, creating the right feel for each. At the Riggs Hotel in Washington, D.C., tunable white light is used to delineate the hotel’s open first floor into distinct lobby and restaurant spaces—and effortlessly shift the space from coffee to cocktails. In some cases, tunable white light can unlock new revenue that’s hiding in plain sight. For one hotel, a basement-level bar sat unoccupied during the day because it felt inappropriate for a daytime business meeting. But with tunable white, this unused bar turns into a viable option any time of day—giving the property more value out of an existing space.

A “wow” experience starts at check-in at the Riggs Hotel in Washington DC | Photo Credit: Jennifer Hughes

The benefits of such flexibility are numerous. When the space feels just right for the activity at hand, guests stay on-site longer and purchase more food and beverages— increasing the value of each stay. Your brand gets a boost for delivering an excellent guest experience, and so does your bottom line. Best of all, these lighting adjustments can be programmed to happen automatically, so you don’t have to spend any time or staffing resources to make it happen, and in many cases, these systems can be operated remotely for extra ease and convenience.

2. Support guest health and well-being.

As a culture, we’re paying more attention to well-being than ever—especially in the wake of the pandemic. Hotels are exploring a variety of new-age wellness-oriented offerings, from vitamin drips to private cooking classes to guided meditations. But well-being starts with the basics, like a good night’s sleep and energizing days.

Tunable white light enables you to generate lighting that supports your guests’ natural bodily rhythms. As natural daylight shifts in intensity and color temperature throughout the day, our bodies respond in kind. Tunable white light can mimic these ebbs and flows indoors, making guests feel more connected to their environment. As they open the shades each morning, bright, energizing white light fills the room, signaling that it’s time to start the day. In the evening, as they close the shades, the lights are warm and dim, setting the tone for a relaxing and restorative night of sleep. It all adds up to a more elevated experience that people will want to return to again and again.

Enhance the overall guest experience with a tunable white lighting system | Photo Credit: Frank Oudeman

3. Evoke the best of your aesthetic.

Guests select boutique properties because they offer a unique, one-of-a-kind setting— not a cookie-cutter hotel room. Much of this has to do with aesthetics—from the furnishings to the finishes to the artwork, every element comes together to tell a story, provide a sense of identity, and make a statement. Whether you’re conveying wistful nostalgia, rustic charm, or modern chic, carefully crafted lighting will play an important role in putting this vibe across.

Tunable white light allows you to construct layers of light that evoke the heart and soul of your chosen aesthetic—as well as reflect the surrounding city or landscape. By dialing in the just-right color temperature, you can highlight certain objects, enhance particular finishes or furnishings, and make art pieces look more vibrant.

Use tunable white technology to enchant your guests and forever set the stage for an Instagram-worthy moment. It’s a win-win for everyone: your guests enjoy the thrill of sharing a gorgeous visual on their feed, which in turn generates excellent, shareable content for your brand.

A new dimension for the boutique experience.

At the end of the day, tunable white light brings a new dimension to the boutique guest experience. From helping you get more use out of each space to curating moods that make your guests feel amazing to accenting all of the unique elements that make your hotel stand out, this is a technology that has only just begun to reshape the future of boutique hospitality.

Learn more about tunable white and Lutron’s full suite of hospitality solutions here.


Lutron is an Inner Circle Club member of BLLA – view their listing here!

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