Ms. Locke

Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment

How a Professional Interior Designer Can Add Value To Your Property

By Amy Locke, Director, Interior Design, Hatchett Hospitality

"Design" is the new buzz word in hotel FF&E, but exactly how does an interior designer add value?

The textbook definition tells us that an interior designer enhances a hotel with better space planning, more stylish decorating, and more effective furniture placement. The property is worth more and guests rate their visits more highly.

That should probably be enough to consider using the skills of an interior designer in your next hotel project.

However, the marketplace reality goes much further - in today's crowded hospitality environment, an interior designer is vital in helping your hotel not just stay competitive but actually increase market share. A more up-to-date property generates more return visits and can achieve higher room rates.

In case you need more convincing - and research suggests that many hoteliers do - let's consider the subject further.

Historically, hoteliers have avoided using interior designers for three main reasons:

Increasingly, however, hoteliers are creating a new history and using the services of an interior designer.

They're discovering that the three traditional concerns listed above can easily be overcome through careful selection of a designer based on professional experience and education. You can verify experience by checking with several references to ask about quality of work as well as quality of temperament, communication, and character.

You can verify education by confirming academic credentials plus trade affiliations, such as membership in the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID).

Most importantly, hoteliers are finding that interior design is an essential weapon in the "hotel wars."

Yes, travelers are expecting more and better amenities - things that were considered luxuries just a few years ago are now common. Plasma TV's, granite countertops, designer furniture, high speed internet service, high-quality bedding, high tech gadgets, and bathrooms with lots of extras are now standard in even mid-price range hotels.

But it takes an interior designer to put these special amenities into a proper context and an attractive look. That's because "interior design" is much more than "interior decorating."

Interior designers are familiar with fabrics, colors, lighting, and textures - the things that make up "decorating" - but they also must know about a variety of structural aspects such as architecture, building codes, plus electrical and HVAC systems. They're part artist and part engineer.

In fact, interior design today is more specialized in response to buildings becoming more sophisticated and regulations becoming more demanding. It encompasses a "whole building" process.

It's why most hotel chains now realize that the feelings evoked by the look of a hotel property are as much a part of corporate branding as a nice logo and catchy taglines.

Specifically, interior designers are adding value to hotel properties in four significant ways:

Among the subjects addressed by an interior designer in order to add value are:

You're going to partner with your interior designer for hundreds of decisions and thousands of dollars in expenditures, so how do you choose someone you're comfortable working with?

The short answer is "reputation, reputation, reputation."

The longer answer is to evaluate the designer's track record on such important points as portfolio of recent projects, references from owners and vendors who are associated with these projects, and length of time in business

Consider these additional tips:

Analyze the information in this article and you're likely to join the increasing number of hoteliers who are discovering that an interior designer is valuable - and an excellent interior designer is priceless!

Amy Locke is director of interior design at Hatchett Hospitality. She works with franchisers and franchisees on a wide variety of hotel brands, styles, and themes – from economy to luxury, from resort to business conference, and from traditional to modern. Previous to joining Hatchett, she held a position in interior design with Ethan Allen Interiors. Ms. Locke earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from the Art Institute of Atlanta. She is completing a degree in feng shuiand is an allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). Ms. Locke can be contacted at 770-227-5232 or Amy@HatchettHospitality.com Extended Bio...

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