What's Hot & What's Not For 2012 In Styles, Colors, & More

By Kalen Willis Senior Interior Designer, Hatchett Hospitality | January 22, 2012

A new year means new ideas in hotel furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FF&E), so what's in, what's out, and what's next for 2012? The answers can be found by looking at three specific topics: color, texture, and furniture.

First, some background to put my comments into perspective.

Hotels are part "home" and part "escape" – they combine the practical amenities we need on the road with the intangible emotional feelings we have when we travel. They reflect our mindset, namely, the world we live in as well as the dreams we aspire to.

It's not surprising, then, that hospitality trends are influenced by a variety of economic, social, and even political issues around the globe. This year, those issues and influences include:

• The Economy – as we continue to recover from the worldwide recession, renovations will increase, especially at properties that have been neglected in recent years when owners have been strapped for funds

• The News – some news is good and some is bad, but when major events get our attention and make an impression, they usually are translated into our tastes and preferences, at least until the next "big thing" comes around – consider the royal wedding, the political protests in many countries, and natural disasters like the Japanese earthquake

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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.