European-style Windows: The Next Big Thing in Eco-friendly Hotel Upgrades

By Helmut Grohschaedl Vice President Window Solutions Americas, REHAU | April 29, 2018

It's no secret that America is enamored with European design – from cars to fashion to architecture. We covet the BMW i8 Roadster while the practical Honda Civic tops U.S. passenger car sales. We window-shop this season's Hermès of Paris collection at Saks Fifth Avenue while wearing our well-worn Levis. And we admire the latest super-matte frameless cabinets while worrying that installing our dream modern kitchen could lower our home's resale value. While European design captures our hearts, we sometimes hesitate to adopt it. Maybe the bold styling takes us outside of our comfort zone or maybe it's the premium price European design often commands. Nevertheless, many hotel brands look to Europe for the latest design trends.

Why is European design so appealing? What exactly is it? And how can European design inform our choices of construction materials such as windows and doors?

With regard to architecture, European design has become synonymous with modern design, which traces its roots back to the Bauhaus School of Design, founded in Germany in 1919 with a vision of uniting art and industrial design. Derived from the basic tenet of "form follows function," this design system places a strong emphasis on basic design, especially composition, color theory and craftsmanship. A reaction to the heavy ornamentation of the early 1900s, hallmarks of this design include clean lines, geometrical forms, functional elements and a mass-produced, hand-crafted feel. But let's not get the impression that Europeans have had the last word on modern design. America's own Frank Lloyd Wright left his mark on this design school by causing it to adopt the principle that design and nature should be in harmony.

The term "European design" is also commonly used to denote high quality, even luxury. When you strip materials down to their essence, taking away unnecessary decoration, these materials need to stand their ground with precision in form and function. With designers skilled in combining craft and art as well as a priority of advancing machine technology, European design often leads the world in durability, reliability and resource efficiency.

European Eco-consciousness is Deeply Rooted

Despite many Americans' sincere interest in "greener" options from the grocery store to transportation to household appliances, this country has a long way to go to catch up with the "green" lifestyles of Europe.

REACH Community Development, Orchards at Orenco, is the largest multifamily Passive House building in the United States
Hilton DoubleTree San Diego created a more energy-efficient and noise-resistant building envelope with uPVC windows.
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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.