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Could Hotel Exterior Corridors Make a Comeback post-pandemic?

The exterior corridor was a staple in the 1960's when road trips and car traveling were at their peak. Travelers loved the easy access to the outside where they could have a smoke or just get to their cars faster so they could continue on their pilgrimage/road trip. Since then, air travel took over as it was faster and sometimes more efficient then putting the whole family in a car. But since the pandemic, families have had to find new-old ways of getting out of the house and enjoying time off.

So we enter a new time where the road trip is gaining popularity again for it's aesthetic as well as it's safety. With the road trip comes the hotel but there are still concerns regarding too much contact with other travelers. We're in a time now where being too close to people can cause guests to feel uncomfortable or unsafe. With this in mind we can't help but think that hotel design will begin to take this into account. Will hotel brands begin to include design aspects from the 60's like exterior corridors and room entrances?

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Photo by Athena from Pexels

Since the major hotel brands took over the industry, exterior corridors & entrances have been a trademark of roadside motels & have given them the reputation of being dangerous & unappealing making major brands stay away from them.

But could this all change as we enter a time where sometimes, being outside is safer than being inside? A time when a door right to the parking lot, courtyard or exterior corridor is safer than a hallway or lobby filled with people?

We certainly think this change is possible in the hotel design industry.

We’re moving away from the ideology of exterior entrances & corridors being red flags or symbols of just the humble motel. Now the exterior corridor can mean safe & trendy.

Don’t just take it from us though, other experts have been speculating on the comeback and have also noticed peaks in motel occupancy during Covid. In November of 2020, Hotel News Now published an article on how hotels were seeing business come from marketing their exterior corridors.

In their article: Hotels See Business From Marketing Exterior Corridors, they quote David Sangree, President of Hotel & Leisure Advisors “Exterior-corridor hotels have a situational advantage during the COVID-19 pandemic, by giving the guest the ability to reduce touchpoints, avoid elevator rides, and be a more self-contained traveler,”.

Read the full article here:

David makes a great point in the article by acknowledging that guests are more aware of all the touchpoints in hotels that they once may not have noticed as much. Because of this phenomenon, eliminating as many touchpoints & close contact situations (i.e. buttons, lobbies, elevators, hallways) will make guests feel more comfortable staying in that hotel.

We asked a small sample size of people how they felt about exterior vs interior hotel corridors and entrances, here are some of our questions & their answers:

Question: Given the current pandemic climate, If your hotel room had an exterior entrance & and an Interior entrance which entrance would you use & why?

Answers (Ages ranging from 18-34):

“The exterior entrance so I can easily access my car and can stay away from other people”

“Depends on the weather, but probably Exterior”

“Exterior - less risk of contact with other guests compared to indoors “

Answers (Ages ranging from 35-54):

“Exterior - less contact”

“Either. I feel fine with both”

“Depends on what we’re doing or where we’re going”

“Exterior, more airflow”

Answers (Ages ranging from 55 & over):


“Exterior because it’s quicker to get to your car and you usually don’t see any people”

Question: Given the current pandemic climate, which do you feel is a more socially acceptable place to gather/relax: an exterior courtyard or in an interior lobby?

70.6% of ur poll-takers said that they believe exterior courtyards are more socially acceptable while 17.6% chose an interior lobby and 11.8% said neither.

Question: Given the current pandemic climate, would you feel safer/more comfortable if hotels/motels had an exterior room entrance?

56.3% of our poll-takers said that they would feel safer/more comfortable if hotels/motels had an exterior room entrance while 31.3% said they felt indifferent and 12.5% said they would not feel safer/more comfortable.

Question: Given the current pandemic climate, would you choose a hotel/motel with both an interior & exterior room entrance over one with just an interior room entrance? (given both hotels are exactly the same in every other aspect)

62.5% of our poll-takers said that they would choose a hotel with interior & exterior room entrances over one with just an interior room entrance while 25% said they were indifferent and 12.5% said they would not choose a hotel with interior & exterior room entrances.

hotel exterior corridors hotel exterior room entrances hotel entrance design hotel exterior corridor design
Photo by Tanner Vote from Pexels

After reading the responses from our poll-takers we can come to the conclusion that although some travelers are skeptical of exterior room entrances, most would prefer to have the option available to them.

Hotels with exterior entrances and corridors should continue to take advantage of this and advertise this feature as an amenity. Post pictures of your hotel exterior room entrances, corridors and or courtyards on social media for future guests to see.

As it starts to get warmer being outside will be even more appealing to those who have been waiting to travel.

Check out our blog on how to advertise your hotel renovation through social media for tips on posting on your hotels page.

If you’re a hotel owner and want to give your property the advantage of exterior corridors/room entrances give Amerail Systems a call today to learn how we can help you attract more guests. (814) 456-8221 or Contact Us


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