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Demand greeting exhibitors at hospitality show

Las Vegas - The Hospitality Design Expo and Conference kicks off here today, and exhibitors preparing for the show last week told HTT they were optimistic about a backlog of demand in the supply line.
"There's a more positive feel in the business, purchases seem to have picked up from pent-up demand," said Barry Leonard, president and ceo of Welspun.
He explained that the U.S. is Welspun's biggest market, but the company also does a lot of business in the Middle East, Africa and Asia which he indicated is a growing part of what Welspun is selling in the hospitality space.
JS Fiber is focusing on products carrying the Fossfill brand, which it acquired through its purchase of Creative Bedding. "If you're a Fossfill customer, you're always a Fossfill customer" said Morris Long, president, adding, "The washability is great and makes a great healthcare pillow as well."
Brian Berk, president, Howard Elliott Collection, told HTT, "Our Q4 showed a 20% increase over Q4-2010 and Q1 followed similar suit. Based upon commitments we are beginning to receive and production planning we are currently processing, we see the balance of 2012 resulting in very strong sales." Berk said he sees a lot of progress in working new construction projects on an international basis.
Valley Forge Fabrics sees a pent-up demand to be addressed. "We are seeing new construction projects enter the pipeline. While the numbers may not be as big as they once were, they are still very positive indicators that our industry is strong and moving in the right direction." said Ken Koneck, public affairs manager at Valley Forge Fabrics. Projects are also moving very, very quickly as concerns still linger over a tightening of the supply of credit."
Bruce Cohen, owner of Boca Terry, agrees that there is an increase in construction and also sees a positive trend in renovation, "Many new construction projects that were put on hold in 2009 and 2010 have received financing so we do see a trend of new construction, especially overseas. Deferred maintenance occurred in 2009 and 2010 as well, so there is a major push for renovation."
Standard Fiber's vice president sales and marketing, Shawn Berry, notices it, too. "The hospitality renovation pipeline is growing, while the new build sector is still having issues regaining its form in the US, especially the larger projects." said Cohen, "Most of the big franchisor groups are looking to Asia for a larger share of new construction projects and have numerous planned/funded projects. Since we are focused on private label, growth in the various segments helps our partners grow, and our hospitality business going forward."
With the laser-like focus on price waning somewhat from the worst days of the Great Recession, eco-friendly and sustainable products seem more in demand to this year's exhibitors. But price and sustainability aren't necessarily incompatible according to Karen Nilles, Hospitality Product Development Manager for 1888 Mills.
"Sustainability does not always mean that you have to pay a premium. Properties can purchase linen products that reduce overall chemical, water, and energy costs in laundering which is good for the environment as well as their own bottom line," she said.
Jannice Cameron, vice president of marketing, at Hollander Home Fashions agrees that reasonable prices and sustainability aren't always in tension. "Price and service remain the drivers but customers are interested and seeking both value and green options simultaneously," she said.
Keith Sorgeloos, president/ceo, Home Source International, Inc. expresses many of the same sentiments as his colleagues about the state of business aimed at hospitality.
"Renovations are leading the way in 2012," Sorgeloos said, "and one of the least expensive ways to refurbish, rejuvenate and renovate a property is through the guests' experience of seeing, sleeping and bathing with new and fresh bed and bath textiles. So we are beginning to see movement in re-decorating and providing a facelift with fresh linens."


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