First it was the Courtyards and now it appears that many of the Marriott hotels are having major lobby renovations. The only surveys I have received from Marriott in the past year have been related to lobbies. It appears that Marriott would rather spend on lobbies than on rooms. In my recent stay at the STL Marriott, the lobby looked great but the rooms were really worn, especially the bathrooms. I find the same to be true with the renovated Courtyards. I spend much more time in my room than in a hotel lobby, so I wish they would shift those funds to room improvements and restoring the platinum arrival amenity.
My hypothesis is they are targeting Millennials because they are more likely to use these public areas. However, the millenials I have surveyed say they only use the FS lobbies for the free wireless service, not because they enjoy being in the lobby. Wouldn't free internet be a better solution, so they can spend their resources on things that will benefit more customers? Many business travelers do not get reimbursed for internet charges and most mid-priced chains offer it for free.
Do other travelers really care that much about lobbies?