Professional Purchasing Is a Wise Investment

By Amy Locke Director, Interior Design, Hatchett Hospitality | May 06, 2010

By definition, choosing your FF&E means making choices - and the right choice for many owners and property managers is to assign purchasing responsibilities to an outside source. So when people claim that they can do effective buying of products for you, how can you be sure you're selecting a reputable purchasing agent for your FF&E needs?

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

The longer answer is to evaluate the company's track record on such important points as:

  • portfolio of recent projects
  • references from owners and vendors who are associated with these projects
  • length of time in businessYou want a purchasing agent that can bring your design decisions to life in a realistic manner - without overspending and without sacrificing quality. It is your designer's job to make sure all colors, furniture, and accessories will work together effectively in specific areas of the hotel, as well as throughout the property as a whole; it is then your FF&E supplier's job to obtain all these items within your deadlines and budget.

In short, with a designer's direction, a qualified FF&E purchasing agent will help transform individual furnishings into a coordinated "look." For your guests, it will translate a hotel "stay" into a hotel "experience" - and for you, it will translate into the referrals and repeat business you want.

All this means that your FF&E supplier must know not only what to shop for, but where to shop.

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The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.