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Societal tastes and styles are in constant flux. The same holds true for university furniture. As the years slip into the ether, the way students use and interact with furniture changes. And because FF&E is such a critical component to the student experience, universities and colleges 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.

If your campus has damaged solid wood furniture, there’s no excuse to let them languish or replace them. The Refinishing Touch can refinish the wood and replace any laminate to give the rooms a factory fresh look.

The Refinishing Touch can give your campus a fresh, modern look by reupholstering pieces, adding solid surface materials and changing the hardware and pulls.

Rather than purchase all new, allow The Refinishing Touch to add the latest tech advances to your furniture like LED lighting, data ports, USB charging stations and concealed outlets.

Perhaps existing pieces have a design flaw that was initially overlooked. The Refinishing Touch can engineer an inexpensive solution with high quality results, creating a safe space to study.



CASE STUDY: Jerry Harlan, Jr.

Jerry Harlan headshotWhen Jerry Harlan, Jr., currently VP Construction Management at The Procaccianti Group, has major renovation projects, he turns to The Refinishing Touch. For him, in many instances, reinventing furniture rather than replacing it shaves time from a major renovation while lowering overall costs. Plus, it keeps guests extremely satisfied.

Take a project he spearheaded several years ago on multiple Hilton owned assets, where Harlan first discovered The Refinishing Touch. The property needed to do something with those bulky armoires that were frequently used to hide those old tube televisions.

“The Refinishing Touch had great capability and were priced right. The company came into the properties, cut the tops off, refinished the wood, and put on a new stone top. They turned an outdated piece of furniture into a modern looking dresser,” said Harlan.

Harlan noted the job was done quickly and efficiently as The Refinishing Touch brought in teams to do the job in each guestroom, returning each room to the hotel’s inventory that very same day.

“The work was invisible to the hotel guest, and they didn’t take any rooms out of service over night. So, we didn’t lose any revenue.”

At another full-service hotel, the Doubletree San Jose Airport, Harlan said The Refinishing Touch was a successful partner in keeping the lounge’s renovation on time and on schedule. In that space, the hotel had some outdated heavy wood lounge bar chairs that were beaten up from plenty of wear and tear. “They were pretty abused, beaten, banged around. They refinished them and put them back in service looking like new. The Refinishing Touch is a great and efficient service,” said Harlan.

Harlan explained when he begins a hotel renovation project, they look at what must be refreshed in appearance, either because of style changes or wear and tear of the pieces. Take a bureau, for example. “If it is still solid and the drawers work, and just looks old fashioned; that piece can be saved,” he said, noting he works with The Refinishing Touch and his interior design team to put together some samples that modernize and update the piece’s appearance.

He’ll change the finish, and potentially make some modifications to detailing which might require a stone top, or taking off molding or trim, or even adding something distinctive to the piece. Many times, they change out case goods too to create something looking brand new.
“We can actually be reusing the vast majority of the material and structure. It’s also a green thing because we do not have to buy new, and throw away old furniture. Plus, new case goods are typically imported from overseas and that can take three to four months. The Refinishing Touch can remanufacture the case goods as quickly as we can line up the finishes and get the team to the property,” said Harlan.

“It makes a property refresh move very quickly. It’s a very competitive market out there and guests perceive the condition of the room as part of their experience that makes them prefer to stay with us rather than competitor. Plus, this is smart way to increase ADR and potentially occupancy too, which increases revenue and net proceeds,” he added.

Finally, Harlan says that working with The Refinishing Touch is good for conversions and rebranding hotels too. “They are very service oriented, wanting to please and easy to work with in the way they get the job done. And when inevitable problems arise on a job – they always do – they handle things very quickly. Working with [company founder] Mario Insenga and his people is wonderful.”

Hotel Industry Experts Share ROI Increasing Secrets

There’s a new series of one day events, and they’re changing how hoteliers get information regarding their home markets. They’re called Hotel ROI, and we attended this intimate up and close event in Los Angeles where we got lots of exciting information and relevant in-market insight.

But while lots of secrets were exposed for the greater Los Angeles area, there was also plenty of goodies relevant to all hoteliers around the country. Here’s what we learned:

Grab Those Guests
Having a branded hotel still pays. Sure, there’s a move toward an increasing desire to operate independent hotels – especially with the rise of soft brands — but mainstream brands such as Red Roof Inns are delivering as much as 66% of customers every single night, on average, according to Matt Hostetler, an SVP with Red Roof. Other major factors that get guests to make a reservation are: Quality, rate, brand familiarity and rewards program, said industry experts.

Increase Your Hotel’s Income
Let your employees help you make more money. No, we don’t mean carry guests to the room, we mean leveraging their great ideas. Create a culture of success by incentivizing staff to provide great ideas that make money. Train staff to convert OTA guests to return guests, and upsell those folks newly renovated rooms. Also, most industry experts at Hotel ROI believe there’s not a lot of room to keep pushing rate higher. That means it’s becoming a game of increasing on property revenue outside room rate. One area that returns great profits is selling alcohol.

Massive Room Count Flooding Mid-Market
“Upper Midscale inventory will exceed 1 million rooms, no other scale has this,” says Bruce Ford, SVP of Lodging Econometrics, which tracks the new hotel construction pipeline. Other relevant data points; In Q117, there were 513 projects announced totaling 57,1278 rooms. Plus, 212 hotels with 24,122 rooms opened in the U.S. during the first quarter, with the majority of hotels located in suburban locations. Almost half have between 100-200 rooms. For the remainder of the year, LE forecasts another 868 hotels to open, representing a 22% increase over the total number of openings compared to 2016.

Lower Your Hotel’s Operational Costs
This is an industry where people look to each other for success, so share best practices with fellow hotel owners, or simply seek their advice. That network is filled with experienced and smart professionals that will provide smart ideas, such as ways to lower costs through installing energy efficient products, and available environmental tax incentives.

Here’s another idea: In Los Angeles, and around the country, many hoteliers are focused on renovations. Did you know 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.

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.


Call Today for more information:



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.