Once a year, Hotel Business gathers industry leaders to discuss trends in their respective fields of expertise for publication in its Green Book. Here is an excerpt from their interview with Ted Carroll on the topic of hospitality purchasing trends for 2018.
What were some of the stand out moments of 2017 in terms of your area of business?
This year has been a year of variety. Whereas many years we’ve worked on luxury resorts or new big brand projects, this year we had the opportunity to work on multiple adaptive historic re-use to hotel projects such as hat factories, car factories, shoe factories, railway exchanges and old office buildings. These types of historical renovations or design-intense projects tend to be a good fit for us. Our team enjoys the unique design challenges they present, so they stand out. We also did quite a few senior living projects and even a few co-working spaces, so we had the opportunity to apply our expertise in a slightly different way.
Did the year meet your hopes and expectations?
The year more than met our expectations as we were able to enter into new markets and add great new clients.
What were some of the big challenges/obstacles of 2017 for you and your industry?
Design is evolving using new materials, mixed materials and a lot of metal. Sourcing manufacturers who can look beyond traditional hotel furniture in order to fully capture a designer’s vision was a challenge, but thankfully we are always looking ahead, doing factory tours, making new connections, so we were prepared when faced with this challenge. Additionally, the strict environmental regulations on metal plating has increased lead-time and cost both domestically and internationally.
What were some of the opportunities of 2017 for you and your industry?
We are seeing both a need and an opportunity for our industry to be more innovative. One way we’ve done that is by introducing Praestino, our purchasing software platform. We’ve been amazed at how the technology has streamlined our projects. As our software engineer says, “you can’t use 2014 sourcing software in 2017 and expect the same results.” We all need to continue to innovate to stay ahead of the needs of our clients, partners and employees.
What’s trending for 2018? What common threads do you see coming forth for the new year and how will you take part?
We are seeing continued re-use of existing/historic hotels which we are well poised to manage as this has become a specialty for us. Additionally, we are seeing more “destination” meeting projects being developed. These projects are generally accompanied by or in new entertainment districts so there are more restaurants and bars, therefore a larger focus on F&B.
As 2018 nears, please share your own industry forecast. What will insiders be paying attention to?
We expect the creativity and the frequency of projects to continue. What owners and developers may be looking at is availability of funding for such projects.