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!