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Hospitality Trundles Along

NEW YORK - As they head into this month's International Hotel/Motel + Restaurant Show, which takes place at the Javits Center here from Nov. 12-15, textiles manufacturers in the hospitality space report that business has been fairly steady.
     However, new construction remains depressed. Hotel News Now cited a research report last month showing a 10.5% decrease in the number of rooms in the U.S. pipeline compared to September 2010. Even so, many exhibitors told HTT that they believe there is pent up demand for new goods as hotel brands and properties launch renovation projects.
     Some described their sales as sporadic, while others like Cuddledown's Michelle Harrison, wholesale and hospitality manager, were more sanguine.

Baltic Linens’ CharismaBaltic Linens’ Charisma bed in the gold colorway. Also available in black.Protect-A-Bed’s Aller ZipProtect-A-Bed’s Aller Zip Smooth bedding encasement offers a variety of solutions at mid-level prices.
Hollander Home FashionsHollander Home Fashions’ new Superside gusset allows more fill to create maxim loft for better comfort and support.Downlite’s The MissionDownlite’s The Mission: Allergy Collection provides anti- allergen, dust mite and beg bug protection.

     "We are running double-digit increases over last year. We're seeing some very promising trends," she added. For IH/M&RS, Cuddledown will introduce its new Maggie's collection bedding products, a line of cotton/polyester bedding that offers quality at a more competitive price point.
     The economic slump didn't seem to create much movement across budget segments, according to Jannice Cameron-Chapital, svp of marketing, Hollander Home Fashions.
     "There's been no real difference that we can see," she said, "but it always depends on which market your properties are in."
     Hollander's introductions for the show include Memorelle, a new memory foam-like microdenier fiber with improved flexibility that's exclusive to the manufacturer. The microdenier fiber moves as the sleeper moves to ease pressure points and provides breathability to maintain an even coolness, she said.
     Tanya Hendershot, business manager at Star Textile, agreed that no one segment of the market is booming more than another right now.
     "Every tier has its opportunity. I wouldn't say that one has more than the other." Her company will introduce new drapery panels and upscale bedding at the show.
     The elephant in the room for the past two shows has been cotton prices, which played a major role in 2011 business, suppliers said. The need to absorb higher costs impacted business across the spectrum.
     Craig Walter, hospitality division sales manager at Downlite, noted, "As costs are passed on to hotels and guests, competitive pressures lead to lower margins, cash flows suffer, effecting credit stability, limiting business levels and properties must reluctantly adjust plans."

Harris Pillow’s Pillow-vacHarris Pillow’s Pillow-vac system allows hotels to recycle fill from old pillows into fresh Harris shells to provide a costeffective “green” offering.Cuddledown’ s new Maggie’sCuddledown’ s new Maggie’s collection pitches a better-quality look at a more competitive price point.
Star Textile’sStar Textile’s custom bedding package targets the better end of the market.

     At this year's show, Downlite will launch The Mission: Allergy Collection, which showcases products that have been tested to demonstrate their allergen-avoidance, dust mite resistance and bed bug proofing solutions. Walter said the products focus on comfort, protection and durability and are offered in a variety of natural and synthetic filling materials.
     Bob Gehm, president of Baltic Linens' hospitality division, described a similar reaction to the spike in prices. "Many brands and properties responded by keeping within their budgets and simply ordering less product. We didn't see a lot of movement to alternative fibers."
     Baltic will focus on its Charisma brand at this year's show, and believes the smaller orders of the past will fuel future demand. Other exhibitors are expressing similar optimism mixed with a strong dose of caution about next year's business prospects.
     The tentative mood extends into the eco-friendly and sustainable products area, with pricing always looming as a key factor. However, many hotel brands still have sustainability initiatives, believing positive corporate citizenship engenders the customer goodwill that leads to brand loyalty.
     Sandra DiVito, vp of hospitality and healthcare at Protect-a-Bed, offered a marketing message of helping hotels that do good to do well.
     "An encasement on a mattress fosters recyclability. Stained and/or contaminated mattresses can't be recycled and must be thrown away to the tune of approximately 4.5 million units per year," she said.
     Protect-a-Bed will feature its Aller Zip Smooth six-sided encasement and Bug Lock Plus, which is top side only. Each is bed bug, allergen, and water proof.
     Getting green product ROI for hoteliers is particularly important in this environment, according to Patrick Harris, vp, Harris Pillow,
     "We manufacture the Pillowvac machine that refurbishes old pillows to like-new condition, with a new cover and sterilized contents at a fraction of the cost of replacement. You can quite literally keep pillows around forever, minimizing landfill deposits and saving the property money as well."
     Design Weave USA is also telling an eco-friendly story at the show, its first appearance there.
     "We are introducing Green-first anti bed bug basic bedding products. The treated products will eliminate bed bugs with an all-natural formula. The formula was created by Breyner, a French company. We are their exclusive licensee for these products in North America," said Steve Hoffman, vp of new business development.

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