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Global Wellness is Big Business for Hotels

 Global wellness is turning into big business within the lodging industry. While wellness is still bubbling below the surface of industry conversation, it’s already become big business. And hoteliers ignoring this opportunity are missing out on grabbing some of the big bucks being generated by this explosive trend.

“The wellness industry is certainly something that has grown, and we have seen a huge groundswell of people traveling for wellness, surgery, recuperation, and even to run a marathon,” explained Larry Traxler, SVP Global Design, Hilton Hotels & Resorts.

Look at these startling facts, according to the most recent numbers from the Global Wellness Institute:

  • The global wellness industry is a $3.7 trillion market.
  • Global wellness tourism revenues grew from $494.1 billion in 2013 to $563.2 billion in 2015 – or 14%. A growth rate more than twice as fast as overall tourism expenditures (6.9%).
  • World travelers made 691 million wellness trips in 2015, 104.4 million more than in 2013.
  • The global spa market grew from $94 billion in 2013 to $98.6 billion in 2015.
  • World spa locations jumped from 105,591 in 2013 to 121,595 in 2015.
  • Since 2013, the spa industry added 16,000 spas, more than 230,000 workers (to reach 2.1 million), and $3.5 billion in revenue.

It’s no surprise hotel companies are looking for ways to maximize opportunity in this segment with brands such as InterContinental Hotel Group’s EVEN Hotels, and Miraval Resorts, which was recently purchased by Hyatt Corporation. This points to big potential here.

Growing focus on this category means hoteliers should look to compete with wellness related offerings. While Traxler says Hilton is not looking to create a wellness focused brand such as IHG’s EVEN, he does think there is opportunity to take guestroom space in selected rooms to activate the wellness aspect of them because they run higher occupancy and command premium rates.

Plus, their looking to expanding to expand fitness center size at hotels, with daylight elements, while placing them in new locations that include outdoor space too for yoga and functional fitness.

Hoteliers can get their rooms ready for this opportunity without having to buy all new furniture. In fact, existing pieces can be reengineered at a savings of up to 80% compared to buying new.

Existing pieces can be reconfigured or entirely reinvented. The Refinishing Touch has myriad solutions that create factory fresh looking pieces by changing color, adding stone, laminate or glass elements, and changing the hardware, to name a few options. Then that saved money can be invested into your wellness initiatives.

“I do not think it is a fad a trend,” said Fern Kanter, managing director/ EVP, CHM Warnick, a leading hospitality asset management company overseeing $15 billion in real estate.

Get ahead of the competition now and focus on wellness.


Learn more about how The Refinishing Touch can help you reconfigure your hotel rooms. Call Today for more information!



NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference 2017 Recap

The NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference was held this week in NYC, an annual event where the major hotel companies make big announcements, evaluate industry trends and look at market mid-year market stability.

And of course, it’s a time for plenty of networking and schmoozing as hotel industry royalty all convene in New York City for this financially focused event.

Here’s the big news coming out of the event.


More Brands, and Even More Brands

There were numerous brand announcements during the conference, as well as a couple that were supposed to be announced (we’re looking at you IHG and Hilton), but were held back to avoid being drowned out. Wyndham Hotel Group announced a new soft brand Trademark designed for three and four-star hotels.  Red Lion Hotels Corp, reintroduced the Signature brand, which will take on a retro feel and is designed for aging exterior corridor hotels. Extended Stay America made it official, the company is now franchising hotels! The company will even sell some of its portfolio to would-be franchisees.  Also, Trump Hotels announced a new brand, American Idea. The product is geared toward a budget-minded audience and will hype up patriotic flair.


Travel ‘Ban’ Chatter

With President Trump once again pushing what he describes as a “travel ban” from specific countries, executives discussed whether its influencing general inbound travel. So far, it depends on who you ask. On the leisure side of the business, Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Expedia, told reporters the company is not seeing a “clear impact overall, but at some point, issues will occur, such as Mexicans coming to the U.S.”  Jonathan M. Tisch, co-chairman of the board of Loews Corporation and chairman and CEO of its Loews Hotels brand, said he is seeing some fallout when it comes to group business. Especially regarding travelers that believe there may have issues with smooth entry into the United States. “We have seen groups cancel because an attendee was from travel ban country and didn’t want to risk travel interruption,” said Tisch. “There is certainly anecdotal evidence it has having a negative impact.”


Alternative Lodging

Airbnb is continuing to become a more prominent issue for the mainstream hotel business. But as far as public commentary from hotel executives, they’re sticking to the line of “we just want an even playing field.” The industry is looking at regulations that ensure professional Airbnb hosts, for example, pay local and occupancy taxes, and follow the same public health and safety laws. As of now they are not compelled to do so by local jurisdictions in the vast majority of cases.


Overall Slowdown

While you may be reading hospitality headlines crowing good times are here to say, when we talked to individual hoteliers and ownership groups during the conference they weren’t nearly as bullish. Remember, when the analysts tote numbers they’re looking at a national average, not what your specific location is looking like. Markets such as New York are getting quickly overbuilt and pricing power is fading.


What to do Now

With rising competition and an industry profit slowdown, smart hotel owners are thinking about lowering operating expenses. They’re increasingly turning to a well thought out furniture asset management program to reduce expenses by reviving existing pieces, rather than buying new.

Older furniture can be reinvented and repurposed at the fraction of the cost of buying new, saving as much as 80%. The Refinishing Touch specializes in reimagining furniture in ways that reinvent pieces to make them more functional, durable and unique. Styles change, technology presses forward, and sometimes the need for a specific piece of furniture becomes outmoded. So, refinish or repurpose, don’t replace. The Refinishing Touch creates factory fresh looking pieces by changing color, adding stone, laminate or glass elements, and changing the hardware. Plus, it’ll help protect you against any loss in pricing power for your hotel.


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HotelPoint 2017 Recap| Rethinking Capex Expenditures

Hotel Point 2017When the hotel industry is in record breaking mode, a funny thing typically happens. Expense creep typically kicks into overdrive. Salaries go up, brands demand more upgrades, and customer expectations soar.

We saw this happen to a great degree the last time the hotel market peaked in 2007. When the bottom dropped out of the hotel market during the Great Recession starting in 2008, those expenses conspired against hoteliers, driving losses to levels so great it cost people their businesses.

So, the industry is getting smarter. They’re looking for ways to reduce top line expenses now to prepare for the inevitable; the loss of pricing power in coming years. We’re already seeing occupancy level out, and demand slow. That makes now the right time to rein in those expenses.

Fortunately, top industry decision makers are seeing what we see, a smart way to reduce a massive cost without affecting customer experience. When we attended HotelPoint earlier this month, held May 1-3 at the Broadmoor in CO, we interacted with many industry leaders representing the major leading hotel companies actively seeking innovative ways to keep those expenses in check.

HotelPoint aims to connect hotel industry executives with innovative architecture, construction, design and engineering suppliers in a variety of settings designed to “improve their business and to expand their business partnerships.”

They were successful in their goal. Both the pool of buyers and suppliers were exceptional. But, what we enjoyed most, was the opportunity for a mix of boardroom style presentations, which were then complemented by a host of one on one meetings. The exciting format gave us the chance to share our story to 8-10 executives at once, and then drill down to specifics with individuals.

HotelPoint 2017 Monday DinnerWe shared our story during the boardroom presentations, where TRT was matched with a group of executives expressing interest in learning about our company and its services. These leading executives heard all about how we save properties up to 80 percent when compared to buying new. But we were also able to share how we can help reinvent and reposition a hotel too. This is particularly relevant as hotels are sold and switch brands as part of taking on a new identity.

Whether a piece needs to be reconfigured or reinvented, The Refinishing Touch has myriad solutions. We’re able to create factory fresh looking pieces by changing color, adding stone, laminate or glass elements. We also reengineer furniture for new uses such as house custom minibars or refrigerators that make a hotel more money. Other ideas include swapping out hardware for a contemporary look. And reupholstering seating is also a great way to create the like new look without buying new.

The buyers were also impressed this method helps hotels achieve sustainability goals, which appeals to today’s ethical traveler. Plus, they like the notion that all that work is done by American craftspeople too, which supports our country’s workforce.

The only drawback was we didn’t have enough time to see everyone we wanted to, but that’s why we’ll be attending next year too.

For more information on TRT and how we help reimagine spaces while saving hoteliers money, contact us at: (800) 523-9448 or via email at info@therefinishingtouch.com.


Don’t Throw Away that FF&E; Re-engineer It

Societal tastes and styles are in constant flux. The same holds true for the appeal of hotel furniture. As the years slip into the ether, the way people use and interact with furniture changes. And because FF&E is such a critical component to guest experience, hoteliers must keep those expensive case goods relevant. That can be a seriously expensive proposition.

Fortunately, companies like The Refinishing Touch specialize in reimagining furniture in ways that reinvents pieces to make them more functional, durable and unique. Here’s some creative ways to keep furniture fresh.

Vanquish that Armoire

If your hotel still has bulky and unseemly armoires in guestrooms there’s no excuse to keep them any longer. Early on, The Refinishing Touch championed ways to convert armoires so quickly and easily, rooms are put back in service the very same day. We’ll remove the top section, refinish and add a stone or glass top to complete the new look.

Select a New Style

Sometimes pieces need to be reconfigured; sometimes they need to be entirely reinvented. The Refinishing Touch has myriad solutions enabling us to create factory fresh looking pieces by changing color, adding stone, laminate or glass elements, and changing the hardware, to name a few options.

Add Technology

Today’s new furniture includes more technology, such as LED lighting, data ports, USB charging stations and concealed outlets. Rather than buy all new furniture, more hoteliers are finding they can reengineer and refinish their existing furniture to add those critical bits of technology that have become standard guest requests.

FF&E Fast Fix

Perhaps your existing pieces have a design flaw that was initially overlooked. One example, a chair was improperly engineered for a major hotel. It constantly hit the edge of the desk, damaging an expensive looking piece of furniture resulting in negative guest experiences. The Refinishing Touch engineered an inexpensive solution with high quality result, eliminating the problem resulting in a crisp, clean look.

Before you renovate and dispose of ‘outdated’ furniture, remember I can be reinvented and brought to like new condition saving you up to 80% compared to buying new.

Call Today for more information!



HD Expo 2017 Rewind

Last week, we made our annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas to attend HD Expo. This year, thousands of attendees descended on Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino to meet more than 800 hospitality FF&E and OS&E suppliers during three days on and off the show floor

During the event, we met with lots of people to discuss the latest trends in hospitality, and to assess how the design community is feeling about the state of the hotel industry. Here’s what we learned:

We’re too Busy!

One major problems owners are facing is the lack of available design professionals to do their projects. With a massive number of hotels either being renovated or built, designers are over worked, over stressed, and just plain over it. Not that they’d prefer to go back to sad and scary days of 2008 anytime soon. However, this problem is causing owners and operators numerous headaches as they’re forced to pay more for projects, or suffer long delays to completion time, or both.

Steve Wynn is Still the Man

Nearly 30 years after reinventing the Las Vegas casino concept with The Mirage, he’s still searching to create the perfect casino project, which he hopes to achieve with the under construction Wynn Boston Harbor project. During a keynote discussion during HD Expo, Steve Wynn and his design partner of 37 years, Roger Thomas, revealed the secret to consistently creating memorable designs. “We first ask what is the statement we want to make when the visitor is out front, then we design to emotion and not materials. We don’t care if it’s onyx or marble because we do not design to budget. We design to how it feels” said Wynn.


We learned a new term; Biophilia. It’s not a dirty one, though we think it should be. Biophilia refers to humankind’s innate desire to connect with the natural environment. It’s an understanding changing the way hotels, and other structures, are designed.

“It’s the idea of what happens when we connect people with nature as an economic driver,” said Joshua Radoff, Co-Founder & Principal, LEED AP BD+C, YR&G, a sustainability focused consultancy.

The concept is informing design with new environmental standards, such as the ones adopted by the LEED certification program, as well as through the inclusion of nature first elements such as water features and green walls. These elements lead to higher customer satisfaction and increased profitability.

Sustainability is Always in Style

More and more, we’re seeing hotel companies take a conscientious approach to sustainability. FF&E purchasing pros regularly look at the entire manufacturing process now when determining the viability of a product. And more frequently, they’re eschewing buying new in favor of refinishing or reengineering existing furniture pieces. The move keeps tons of material from taking up valuable room in landfills, while also saving hoteliers up to 80% when compared to buying new. It’s the smart way to save without being stingy on guest experience.

For more information on TRT and how we help designers reimagine spaces by reinventing their furnishings, contact us at: (800) 523-9448 or via email at sales@therefinishingtouch.com.



What happens when you put a bunch of teenagers in a space to live together for several months? Well, they have a great time, of course! But in university dorms coast to coast, furnishings are paying the price for students’ youthful exuberance.

In many cases, the damage goes beyond typical wear and tear. Over the years, we have seen it all: charred doors that had been set ablaze, head boards that doubled as targets for ax throwing practice. And the reality is that an ineffective FF&E management system will leave a university unable to determine the life and valuation of furniture assets after such damage.

We understand that it’s simply not practical, or affordable, to keep buying all new furniture every time a piece is damaged. Sometimes it can be a huge challenge restoring pieces that have been subject to long term abuse, but at The Refinishing Touch we always find a way to return those expensive FF&E pieces to like new condition.

Every summer, The Refinishing Touch heads to campuses across the country repairing and reinventing furniture that has been at the mercy of students all year long. Past clients include Georgetown, Xavier University, University of San Diego, Colorado State and many more.

University owned property in the student housing setting rarely last the length of time originally intended, or was promised by the manufacturer. It leaves those tasked with managing student housing to find new ways to ensure furniture lasts as long as was budgeted for when originally purchased.

There’s another challenge to consider here too– one affecting universities in ways campus executives may not realize. Worn and tattered furniture may hinder the university’s ability to register the best students when they’re turned off by less than standard living conditions. Do you think mom and dad will send junior to a school with dorm rooms that look like the front lines of a warzone?

It doesn’t have to be that way, and the solution needn’t be difficult. With the help of The Refinishing Touch’s master artisans, refinishing and/or reupholstering furniture can yield a campus big savings when compared to buying new furniture. You can save as much as 80%, in many instances.

The Refinishing Touch comes with a large team, tackling one building at a time to get the job done quickly, in a way that’s environmentally friendly. We’re able to do all the work in the actual dorm room because our finishes and products are waterborne and low-VOC. Additionally, by repurposing existing units, the university keeps furniture out of landfills—making our process sustainable and environmentally friendly.

Whether pieces need to be reconfigured or reinvented, The Refinishing Touch has myriad solutions. Rather than blow up a housing budget on new furniture, you can spend a fraction the cost to create pieces that look factory fresh by refinishing and/or reupholstering what already exists.

The Refinishing Touch is here to help you keep student housing in tiptop condition. Let us help you save money, so more can be spent where it most matters; educating our next generation of leaders.


Sarah Schullstrom