We’re the Innovator. We’re the Disruptor.
Anyone who has followed our 40 years of consistently taking giant leaps to create forward progress within our industry understands our philosophy of breaking free of the status quo, disrupting things, and never ever uttering the phrase, “We’ve always done it this way.”
Here at The Refinishing Touch, we attend myriad conferences and trade show throughout the United States. But it’s not very often we have the time to attend events on the side of the ocean. Last week, we took some time to attend the Business Travel Show to see how other industry disruptors are shaking things up.
To stay experts at knowing what our hotel owner and operator customers want, it’s critical for us to keep abreast of the latest industry trends. Simply put, it inspires us with new ways we can serve our loyal customer base. In fact, over our 40-year history we’ve added many different specialties, such as decorative hardware, decorative fabric, and solid surfaces.
Here are some of the key takeaways from last week’s Business travel Show, which attracted thousands of people to London.
One major issue up for discussion during the entire event was the notion of disruption; how new technologies are upending everything previously understood about the travel industry.
Johnny Thorsen, senior director of SAP Mobile Services, said: “It’s hard to keep up with new technology. It’s important for buyers to think about, [because] it doesn’t work just to say ‘let’s look at it in two years’ time’ because you will miss out on so many opportunities,” he said.
Another disruption occurring for travel buyers is the need to deliver more personalized travel experiences for it employee customers. It’s a way to keep employees engaged and happy, said former Astra Zeneca travel buyer Caroline Strachan, which is now a managing partner with Festive Road, a consultancy.
“Those that step up and realize the opportunity will be the initial winners, the travel manager has to make that happen,” said Strachan.
Hotel Industry Disruption
Meanwhile, the serviced apartment industry is starting to galvanize in new ways. And it could lead to more pressure on traditional hotel product.
Looking to be the Expedia of the serviced apartment industry, BridgeStreet Global Hospitality (www.bridgestreet.com) launched a new online travel agency uniting more than 65,000 professionally managed serviced apartments and homes available in more than 60 countries. Suddenly, this segment, which was bubbling just below the surface of recognition, is now poised to burst into mainstream consciousness.
As the sharing economy continues to take hold in the traveler mindset, people are looking for options beyond Airbnb. Ones that offer timely delivery of keys, clean and comfortable rooms and reliable wireless internet on check-in.
“Our mission was to solve one of the industry’s most persistent problems; ‘simply offer wider choices—across a range of price points and hospitality accommodation experiences—with ease,'” Sean Worker, said president and CEO of BridgeStreet Global Hospitality. “We’ve not only succeeded, here, we are uplifting the extended-stay industry—and for the first time, giving travel managers—and business—exactly what they need: transparency, immediacy and unparalleled customization.”
Now is the time to ensure your hotel is in perfect condition. One way to do that is to refinish all your furnishings. It’ll make a great impression on the guest and give them the cues to return to your property, rather than seek an alternative accommodation.
On the offense for the first time in years, United Airlines had its new United Polaris business class on display. Crafted as individual, forward-facing, suite-like pods, each customer’s personal suite features a “Do Not Disturb” sign, mood lighting, one-touch lumbar support, several storage areas, multiple surfaces for simultaneous working and dining, a 16-inch high-definition entertainment screen and, for seats in the center of the cabin, electronic privacy dividers.
The goal was to totally rethink the international business class experience. United conducted more than 12,000 hours of research, and sleep emerged as the single most important priority for international business class travelers. United Polaris’ path-breaking design and sleep-enhancing focus was inspired and informed by insights from hundreds of customers and employees, inflight product simulations and more than 100 product evaluations.
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Glenn Haussman I President, Rouse Media & No Vacancy podcast host
Twitter and Instagram: @TravelingGlenn
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Escape the Sameness of Design Trends
Designers love trying new things. But there are so many instances these days where being different is simply creating a whole bunch of new, but similar ideas.
As an industry, we’ve unwittingly and collectively decided widespread imitation is called a “trend,” which is essentially true. But one thing we aren’t considering is how so-called trends affects overall creative influence and individual hotel earning potential.
When all hotels look the same, even if it is the “new same”, they’re, well, the same. And that can lead to the commoditization of your product where you can only fight to win a customer on rate alone.
Here at The Refinishing touch we want to help you set the stage for new trends, not rehash ones already being used by your competition.
Here’s one great idea that saves money while also creating a different look; refinishing or re-engineering furniture is a smart solution that keeps you on budget while giving you extra design dollars to dedicate to other aspects of your vision.
Yup, you heard it here first; older furniture can be reinvented and re-purposed to like-new condition in a way complimenting the wholly original design you’re setting out to achieve.
Whether a piece needs to be reconfigured or reinvented, The Refinishing Touch has myriad solutions. Rather than blow up to half your budget or more on new furniture, you can spend a fraction the cost to create factory fresh looking pieces by changing color, adding stone, laminate or glass elements. But that’s not all.
One clever solution is taking that existing furniture and adapting it to house custom minibars or refrigerators that make your client’s money. There’s no longer an excuse for not turning your case goods into a major profit center.
Also, swap out the hardware for a contemporary look. And reupholstering seating is now a viable alternative in helping you reach your design goals.
If you’ve never thought of this solution before, it’s sure to make you a design hero to the people hiring you. Plus, you’ll be helping the hotel be more sustainable, which appeals to today’s ethical traveler. And get more jobs from them in the future because you know how to stretch a dollar. Oh yeah; all that work is done by American craftspeople too.
So, before you design your next hotel project, think about this: Just because you think that furniture is outdated or outmoded, it’s probably not. The Refinishing Touch can help you figure out how to maximize your design budget by eliminating a good chunk of your furniture costs.
Now go design and be happy! Call Today for more information.
Throughout 40 years of partnering with University Housing, The Refinishing Touch has led ongoing discussions of how to best reuse and optimize existing furniture assets in place of buying new. This spans the breadth of our University Housing clients and projects.
Furniture asset management comprises refinishing, reupholstering, and remanufacturing. Universities have a substantial investment in furniture assets: furniture asset management best practices ensure that this existing investment is protected while delivering pieces that are high quality, aesthetically pleasing, and in line with University Housing standards. This benefits the individuals and communities living on campus. It also is time- and cost-efficient because it does not require furniture to be removed, transported, or stored offsite – a key consideration in busy University Housing facilities. This onsite, zero-transport approach also has the lowest environmental impact.
From Tree to Furniture
The environmental impact of furniture creation is about carbon dioxide and energy consumption, coupled with the avoidable waste of existing resources and the unnecessary use of natural resources.
It is challenging to manufacture anything without creating surplus carbon dioxide created during the steps of manufacturing new furniture. Even before furniture gets to a supplier or storage warehouse, carbon dioxide is created. Just cutting down the trees to create 100 rooms of furniture creates 58.3 tons of carbon dioxide. Those trees then need to be transported to a factory to be made into desks, tables, and chairs (2.7 tons of carbon dioxide); sectioned (4.758 tons); and cut to specification (4.758 tons). Assembling and finishing; packaging furniture into boxes; transporting it to a warehouse; and delivering it to a client only add to the detrimental effect.
Thus, the total amount of carbon dioxide created to manufacture new furniture for 100 rooms is estimated to be in excess of 125 tons. In comparison, refinishing, reupholstering, or remanufacturing existing pieces creates only about 1.24 tons of the gas – a reduction of more than 124 tons, or 99 percent.
However, it’s not just the environmental impact. There’s a fiscal responsibility involved, to the department, to the university, and to the student. Furniture asset management consistently demonstrates a savings of 70 to 80 percent of estimated budget spent when compared to the cost of replacement. For example, one project The Refinishing Touch completed at Georgetown University, saved $973,876, or 83 percent of its budget, by utilizing furniture asset management strategies in place of buying new for just one furniture project.
Onsite furniture asset management also brings compounded savings. You can easily scale a project planned to refinish, reupholster, or remanufacture the furniture in one building to cover several buildings. And refurbishing in three buildings will come at the same price as replacing furniture in one.
We all know that landfills cannot hold all the waste we create. We know that carbon dioxide overload has detrimental effects to the planet. We also recognize that the best practice furniture asset management produces high-quality, cost-efficient, eco-friendly, and beautiful results.
To Universities not yet utilizing logical, practical, and sustainable furniture asset management best practices: What are you waiting for?
Incredible Insight at NEWH Leadership Conference
The hotel industry design community came together last week to attend the bi-annual NEWH Leadership Conference. The event, which was held in Denver, CO, was a chance for industry suppliers and the design community to learn, swap ideas, network, and pay it forward through the awarding of scholarships to the next generation of hospitality design professionals. In all, about 600 people attended the event.
The NEWH was originally started to advance the role of women in our industry and now a major networking resource for the hospitality industry providing scholarships, education, leadership development, recognition of excellence, and business development opportunities. In fact, last year the organization provided about $500,000 in scholarships.
What we like about the event is the supportive and collaborative nature of the community attending the event. With a clubbier feel than other events, it’s one of those conferences that truly make you feel like an insider. Today, we want to make you feel like you’re an insider, so here’s a rundown of the most interesting elements of the event.
Designers are crazy busy
This is really good news, but it comes with a shade of negativity. Right now, the hotel industry is seeing massive new hotel development and it’s sucking up the resources of the hotel design community. Most of the folks we spoke with are thankful for the flood of business, but are simultaneously stressed regarding the ability to meet constant deadlines.
The pressure is also mounting as there is increased emphasis on custom products, which lengthens the design period and makes every project more complex. Though it’s great for creating potentially memorable room and public space designs, it does make it harder to get as many projects done at the same time. Plus, design firms are sometimes reluctant to hire on new staff as they worry the good times will end and they’ll have to lay people off.
Another side effect we’re seeing lately is significant stress placed on manufacturing facilities. As product demand rises, the factories in which products are built are not always expanding their production ability in direct correlation to demand. This has the potential to create delivery delays for new and existing hotels. New hotels must order FF&E products further in advance than typical to ensure the property can service guests on opening day.
Existing hotels have a shortcut option. Executives at these hotels can refinish their existing furniture to make it like-new without any meaningful delay. Plus, it saves up to 80% compared to buying new. In fact, hotels that refinish their furniture through The Refinishing Touch, for example, have rooms back in service the very same day their furniture was refurbished.
Furniture getting technology
Another massive trend discussed on stage and in the hallways during the NEWH Leadership Conference is the electrification of furnishings. Not only has LED become a great way to set mood through lighting, it’s also being used to heighten the guestroom experience. Headboards, for example, are seeing increased usage of lighting as well as pieces utilized within the bathroom. But the biggest change is the inclusion of traditional outlets and USBs in many other pieces within the room. From the desk to end tables, and in most public spaces, furniture is now being designed to meet the needs of power hungry guests that need to charge multiple devices.
The Refinishing Touch can reengineer furniture to include the latest technology, rescuing older pieces that were purchased before the mobile technology revolution. Plus, pieces can be redesigned to better meet today’s design aesthetic.
In all, the event was a wonderful experience for all who attended. People laughed and learned and celebrated a very healthy hotel industry. The NEWH will hold its next Leadership Conf in Miami during the winter of 2019. We’ll see you there!
Yeah, we get it. Some of you simply don’t want to refinish your furniture. At first, we didn’t understand why. But we thought about it and we came up with this; our list of seven reasons why we think you simply aren’t getting this project done now:
- Money’s overrated. It’s fun to buy unneeded stuff
We all know the phrase you can’t take it with you. So why bother using saved cash from refinishing to do crazy things like improve your business? Or take that much needed vacation.
- You’re aiming to be featured on the next season of ‘Hotel Hell’
This one’s obvious. There’s something heartwarming about having an angry British man come to your business screaming horrible obscenities in your direction.
- You’re unaware the right company can re-engineer your furniture, making it trend forward
No need to buy all new pieces when aging pieces can be reinvented. Develop an entirely new look, even add new space to house a minibar, creating a new profit center.
- You want your furniture to age quickly so you can call your property historic
We all love smart marketing strategy. Maybe we can also start calling ‘used’ cars, pre-owned and hope no one notices it’s the same thing.
- You didn’t realize refinishing furniture could be so effortless
The Refinishing Touch does everything for you right in the room. No mess, no fuss, and rooms are back in service the same day.
- You love Chinese furniture ages so quickly, because you’re a fan of aged patina
Yes, you’ll spend hours staring at how old that furniture looks. But, by comparison, you haven’t aged a bit!
- You never understood how much waste you could save from landfills
It’s the right thing to do for the environment. Refinishing furniture, rather than tossing it in the trash, literally saves tons of material from the trash heap.
See, there’s no legitimate reason to avoid refinishing your furniture. Contact The Refinishing Touch and see how easy and inexpensive refinishing can be.