How the Hospitality Industry is Saving Profits in Today’s Economy
Good news if you’re in the hospitality industry, and looking for cost-effective solutions for interior furnishings! According to a recent story in the New York Times (Luxury Hotels Are Feeling Economy’s Pinch), you might relate to some of the situations other hoteliers are feeling.
Numbers from Smith Travel Research, the leading hotel research company, demonstrate that the average revenue per available room — the standard measure of hotel performance — is unsteady or falling in hotels in the United States. In some areas, average occupancy continues to fall, and average daily room rates continue to decline.
Knowing, there are still ongoing expenses, repairs, remodels and constant furnishings and equipment to maintain a luxury or 5 STAR presence – many hotels have discovered an attractive solution.
You’ve heard the saying, "out with the old, in with the new," but when it comes to furniture, sometimes keeping the old and giving it a new face is a better choice for hotels.
Reupholstering is one way hotels and restaurants can keep furniture looking attractive, feeling comfortable and be cost-effective. Hoteliers need to determine the cost to reupholster an item versus buying it new, and should consider the quality of the piece and the time each option would take. Case in point…
Ron Hildebrand, Director of Purchasing for Crown American Hotels
"If we have high-end pieces like a sofa or [lobby] chairs, we think it's worth it to reupholster them. Everything depends on the foundation--the frame. We can have the [reupholstery done] quicker than we can buy new and have them made, most of the time."
Kristina Malcolm, Project Manager, Interior Design for Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
"Reupholstery is more specific to public areas where we have older, more ornate pieces that aren't entirely upholstered. We end up replacing the seating part, which is more cost effective than replacing the whole chair.
If the piece is well-made, that often tips the scale in favor of reupholstering.
Malcolm said Fairmont, (which has 43 hotels in its portfolio), is reupholstering beautiful carved lobby chairs at its property in San Jose, Calif., and is working on a similar project at its hotel in Ottawa, Ontario. Day Hospitality Group also bases much of the decision to purchase new - or reupholster, on the quality of the furniture.
"We buy very good furniture, and that's why it's worth reupholstering it if we can," said Phillip Bullard, Director of Facilities for Day Hospitality, which has 14 properties in its portfolio. "Those in the lobby don't really go out of style, and it's inexpensive to do it."
Another point to consider that will affect reupholstery decisions is historical significance.
The Gideon Putnam Resort & Spa in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., a member of Historic Hotels of America, reupholstered 100 vintage dining room and lobby chairs during a recent renovation, and presently is undergoing a major renovation that includes more reupholstery work.
"Anything that is original or close to original that we can preserve and keep in any new design schemes or renovations, that is what we are going to want to keep," said Gregg Balton, General Manager of the Gideon Putnam. "We found some photos of the lobby of the hotel that date back to the 1930s, when the hotel first opened.
A few of our wingback and Queen Anne chairs were originals, and we had those reupholstered. We will be recycling them into the next lobby renovation, as well." Balton said the property also had some dining room chairs from the 1940s or 1950s that were reupholstered, and in some cases, a partial reupholstering will work, according to Bullard.
"When we do our [renovations] every five or six years, we check our couches and the condition they are in," he said. "We might just reupholster the cushions because they get the most wear. It saves us a lot of money over having to do the whole couch.
The Goal? A Smooth Transition.
Once a hotel or restaurant has decided to reupholster, it's important to come up with a schedule that causes guests the least inconvenience. To achieve that, Malcolm said the San Jose project is scheduled to be completed over several nights.
"The center of the lobby is a lounge, and the periphery is surrounded by banquettes that are being reupholstered," she said.
"The chairs are being reupholstered or replaced based on their current quality level. We'll remove one quadrant at a time while the rest remain, and we just have a few less chairs for that day." Hildebrand said Crown American typically selects reupholsterers near the property that needs the work done because it reduces time, and therefore, inconvenience to guests.
"We have a prefunction area in [a hotel] in York, Pa., that had eight different kinds of chairs that needed to be reupholstered. We took four out, had them refinished and reupholstered, then we took the other four out and had them done.
The dining room project at the Gideon Putnam was made easier because the 120-room property had extra chairs it could use in place of those being reupholstered."We sent out a dozen a week," Balton said. "They'd be able to turn them around in a week or 10 days, and then we'd send out more. In about six weeks' time, we had all new chairs in the dining room."
For hotels and other professionals in the hospitality industry, it’s important to know and understand your options. Use the services available to you by experts who know your industry, and can help you make wise decisions when it comes to maintaining a 5 STAR presence in a cost-effective way.
Queen Anne Upholstery, named ‘One of Seattle’s Best’ by Seattle Magazine, is an industry leader in customer service. Established on the top of Queen Anne Hill in 1936, Family owned and operated Queen Anne Upholstery is committed to the excellence of ‘old world’ craftsmanship.
Queen Anne Upholstery can restore your custom and antique furniture to its original beauty. Durable and unique in character, such furniture helps create a remarkable interior for the entire home, office, theater, hotel and restaurant.
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