Hospitality Trends - November 2012

Going Places
By Wanda Jankowski

Hollander recently introduced the Dreamessence fiber, an anti-allergen down alternative, to retail buyers at the N.Y. textiles market and will showcase it at the International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show in November 2012.
The Cuddledown Hospitality line includes designs created with a new high-quality cotton/polyester blend to supplement the company’s 100 percent cotton bedding at a competitive price point.

Suppliers that furnish a range of product categories to the hospitality sector share details on design trends, best sellers and how business is faring

Just as with retail products, suppliers who serve the hospitality sector are equipped to create options for a range of venue types and price points that reflect and go beyond the design trends of the day. Here, key home textile suppliers that also serve the hospitality sector share insights into how the hospitality textile business is faring post-recession. Travellers are not the only ones who are “going places”; hotel venues are moving forward as well, drawing inspiration from home textiles and offering fresh ideas ripe for transitioning into the retail sector.

Design: Hotel To Home & Vice Versa

Valley Forge Fabrics supplies every fabric type for guest rooms and public areas, including draperies, upholstery, linens, top-of-bed and basic bedding, for a range of hotel properties, from major chains to boutique hotels and resorts.

When it comes to traditional styling, Ken Koneck, LEED AP, public affairs manager, Valley Forge Fabrics Inc., observes, “The core group of traditional textures, solids, faux leathers and large-scale patterns have remained largely unchanged in the past couple of years. Hoteliers are always looking for longevity and style.

“Designs have become more monotone in color with very large-scale patterns making statements on a few pieces in the guest room or lobby,” he says, adding that white bedding is still the top choice for hotel bedding.
However, Michelle Harrison, chief management officer, Royal River Trading, exclusive wholesaler of Cuddledown, notes, “We continue to see the addition of color—it’s very important from a design aspect.”

Cuddledown offers everything for the bed in the hospitality sector, from basic bedding and mattress protectors to duvet covers, coverlets, decorative pillows and even towels, robes and custom items.

According to Harrison, demand for 100 percent cotton sheeting is growing in high-end properties. She also sees a “significant number” of requests for “Made in the U.S.” product. Cuddledown fulfills that demand as it produces comforters, pillows, featherbeds and some of its mattress pads in Yarmouth, ME.

Even in the luxury sector, cost efficiency and durability remain constant issues. “Purchasers continue to request lower price points and better durability,” explains Harrison. “We are introducing a new intimate cotton/polyester blend line called Cuddledown Hospitality to supplement our 100 percent cotton bedding. This will provide a more competitive price point, while maintaining a higher quality product.”

Nourison supplies Axminster carpet, Wilton hand-tufted area rugs, and decorative pillows to boutique and five-star hotels, resorts, casinos, country clubs and other venues seeking wool carpeting. In the rug arena, Jonathan Peykar, vice-president of hospitality, Nourison, says, “The style has changed a lot in the past couple of years. We are seeing transitional/contemporary designs these days.”

Trends In Contemporary Style: Hipster Hotels

Today’s young hipsters, who are drawn to cozy blends of vintage and modern elements, find themselves at home in places like the Ace Hotel, which has locations in New York, Palm Springs, Portland, Seattle and Los Angeles—each with its own personality. According to its website, the Ace Hotels “embrace and re-imagine classic buildings and interesting opportunities, creating a sense of history and place while reinterpreting those details for a sense of modern bohemia that marries the pragmatic with the romantic.”

Designing for the younger generations doesn’t have to be futuristic or complicated. Offering quality, back-storied, authentic environments is the way to go, in hospitality textiles as well as furnishings.

Shown are guest rooms from Ace Hotels in Seattle (top), Palm Springs (center) and New York (bottom).

Randy Wright, senior vice-president, Taymor Industries, observes the same type of style shift in the bath product category. “Many of the items have become more fluid in design, cleaner and simple with elegance,” he says.
Taymor Industries started out serving the building and hospitality industries when it was established more than 60 years ago. Today, it supplies major hotels around the world, including the Hilton, Westin and Ritz Carlton as well as retail venues. Taymor is also part of many of the renovation and new construction projects in Las Vegas.

Taymor products that were originally developed and supplied to the hotel industry have found their way into the consumer market due to demand. “A great example is our towel shelf (shown on p. 12), which is specified by many hotels yet sold by many retailers via stores, catalogs or internet sites,” explains Wright.

Hollander supplies basic bedding products with both natural and synthetic fills to large hotel chains and boutique hotels through its partnership with hospitality distributors.

When it comes to basic bedding items, Beth Mack, president of sales and merchandising, Hollander, says, “The properties are looking for products that fit the individual needs of their guests. We see a big movement towards technology-driven product. Hollander has met properties’ requests offering protection products using Crypton anti-microbial and stain protection, and Clear Fresh anti-order technology on our basic bedding products.”

Hollander pillows incorporating its patented Superside gusset have been sold at retail for years. Because the gusset design enables the hotel’s housekeeping staff to more quickly change the pillowcases and save time, it is now becoming a popular choice in the hospitality sector. Hollander’s Memorelle pillow, first sold at retail, has transitioned into the hospitality sector as well. It offers guests who enjoy memory foam a similar experience, but in a format that is easier for hoteliers to clean.

How’s Business?

Almost a decade ago, many home textile suppliers set sights on the hospitality market as a new profit center, albeit with its own special requirements and processes. How’s business today and is the textile hospitality field becoming too crowded?

Valley Forge’s Koneck notes, “Business is about the same, although hospitality designers have less time these days, as firms have remained smaller since the downturn in the economy. There are many younger designers left in the industry with less experience, so those designers crave product education and training.

“The textile sector serving the hospitality market,” says Koneck, “has the largest number of competitors; more than any other category.”

“There are many established companies in this arena. However, I believe there is always room for growth,” says Nourison’s Peykar. “As long as you bring a higher level of service and offer something that sets you apart from the others, you will stand out and, in return, you will grow.”

OW Hospitality Opens London Showroom

OW Hospitality, the London-based hospitality carpeting arm of the Oriental Weavers Group, celebrated the opening of its new showroom in Queens Park, London, on Nov. 8, 2012. The 7,500-square-foot showroom occupies the entire ground floor of the company’s corporate offices. The space includes a creative design center to serve the local design and architectural community. The showroom will also be used for training and industry seminars, and will host activities sponsored by industry partners and organizations.

Michael Riley, ceo and managing director of OW Hospitality says, “With continued expansion of OW Hospitality, the new showplace was essential for us to help focus our efforts on the local London design community. With London being the company’s base of operations and the key European city for the global A&D community, it will play a pivotal role for us by having a more significant presence here.”

Harrison sees the growing recognition factor for Cuddledown as a “plus.” “It is easier for us because we are becoming more recognized in the market. We continue to learn and identify what different hospitality segments require. We are still focused on higher-end properties, but our product base is getting broader as we continue to develop additional customers. Our new Cuddledown Hospitality bedding creates a number of new opportunities in properties that aren’t just ‘boutique’.”

Harrison also believes there is always a place for quality product. “We believe in high-quality bedding and continue to grow in the marketplace, especially in boutique and higher-end hotels. The arena for better-made product and service isn’t saturated.”

“Although Hollander is new to the hospitality business, we have experienced the same challenges and opportunities as with our retail community,” Mack says. “The end user is the same, so we believe we can offer a tremendous value and comfort story to the hospitality community, which has been well received.”

“Today there is not a whole lot of new hotel and resort construction,” says Taymor’s Wright, “but they all continue to remodel themselves, upgrade themselves, re-invent themselves.....hmm, sounds like what a lot of entertainers do!”


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