The design objective is to create a memorable and unique experience in “home away from home” for the traveler of today.
BDNY (Boutique Design New York) was fun—real firms, real customers, real business, cutting edge design. The designers specify the goods, and the vendors make them. Samples are design ideas that represent production capabilities. The youngest design school graduates provide the design technology. The more senior big buck talent provides the management.
Area Rugs for Hospitality is Booming
I went to the show with the goal of learning about printed rugs; which I did. In the process I found out that the use of rugs in hotels, boutique hotels and B&B’s is booming for two reasons.
Hotels are using vinyl in rooms rather than broadloom because it is easier to clean.
With a hard surface, they need something soft by the bed and in the open space. The result is that hotels are buying rugs that coordinate with their rooms—fabrics, drapes etc.
Hard Surface Replaces Broadloom
With vinyl comes the secondary problem in that vinyl comes in all price points. As a friend at the show said there three choices in selecting goods: quality/fiber, delivery, price. Pick any two. Delivery for an installation is a hard date, not a someday date. That leaves the trade off between quality and price. It is pretty obvious that as the price goes down, the quality goes down. In a commercial installation it is a question of when not if the product is replaced. The same is true of rugs.
Life Cycle Pricing
This gets to the heart of the issue of life cycle pricing, which could be 3 to 7 years. Boredom will set in by 7 years, so call it 3-5 years which probably means for rugs at least one cleaning in the life cycle, maybe two.
Interior designers supply the designs and colors, the vendor meets all the specification required for fire-proofing, wear testing, etc. This is the mechanics of hospitality.
In production terms, shorter production runs and more variety. Online that means quick hits. At retail it means bring it in and close it out. In hospitality it means designing to the corporate product life cycle. Margins rather than absolute price will become a key component of product selection.
The Hospitality Experience
The experience is the key. Holiday Inn standardized and uplifted the motel experience the same way McDonalds did for food. Everybody climbed on board and copied in one form or another. Now the new customer wants an experience, actively seeks uniqueness and eclectic design.
The home away from home brings the Bohemian adventure of new visual, textural, and esthetic experiences for the ever- richer millennial generation. The baby boomers wanted and bought standardization, now the new customer wants differentiation.
All of which meant that the BDNY show was an unparalleled feast for the eyes in almost all product categories – especially rugs.