Ready, Steady, Go at HD Expo

LAS VEGAS - Navigating the hospitality business is always rough, but as exhibitors head to Las Vegas for the Hospitality Design Expo and Conference, which takes place May 15-17, the trade weather is looking fair to sunny.
     Taking the fair view is Morris Long, president, JS Fiber. "Business is pretty much steady - no boom out there. Hospitality is basically doing what it's supposed to do this time of year."
Royal River Trading,Royal River Trading, representing Cuddledown, will display new colors in comforters at HD Expo.

     Long said growth is coming mainly from refurbishing, but added, "You are seeing some construction in major metropolitan areas such as New York and Atlanta, but not on the interstates."
     At the show JS Fiber will be featuring the Foss fill pillow constructed with polyolefin film to inhibit the growth of bacteria, treated with ultra-fresh to prevent odors and covered with a germ resistant fabric.
     He also told HTT that some franchise hoteliers are changing flags because of too many restrictions that add to expenses.
     Agreeing with that sentiment is Angela Vengal, vp of operations for Jaden Fabrics, who believes the brands are overloading the franchises with mandates, impacting the U.S. hospitality business in general. "Domestically, pricing is everything." She continued, "The money is still being held tight by the banks."
     On open to buy Vengal said, "All are buying ... but again, it's all about pricing, availability and deliveries."
     As far as opportunities are concerned, she sees them overseas, specifically in Asia and certain South American countries. She also stressed the importance of petroleum prices in hospitality textiles manufacturing due to the space's reliance on polyester
     Jaden will be introducing stain resistant products that require less labor/resources to maintain and have a longer lifespan.
     Moving from the fair to the sunny side of the street, Michelle Harrison, chief management officer of Royal River Trading, representing Cuddled own said, "Our business is strong and we continue to expand our core offering. The open to buy should be strong. Travel is picking up and clients continue to upgrade their guest rooms. We expect double digit growth this year."
JS Fiber willJS Fiber will be featuring the Fossfill pillow.
Traditionally, Cuddle down has been successful at the high end of the market but is now targeting the middle tier as an area for growth. She also sees the eco friendly market slowing down, and feather and down prices putting pressure on the company's bottom line.
     At HD Expo Cuddle down will display some new colors in comforters and introduce new 350 thread count cotton percale sheeting.
     Also optimistic about the current environment is Roger Green, ceo of New Zealand based Maxwell Rodgers Fabrics. "The hospitality business is certainly better than it was over the past two years and showing signs of being fairly robust," he said.
     Maxwell Rodgers has exhibited at the show for more than 10 years, and markets its wool and angora throws to four and five star properties, both boutique and hotel chains.
     Sandra DiVito, vp, hospitality and healthcare for Protect-A Bed, believes things are looking up as well. "We see the hospitality business doing much better in 2013 and improving steadily, driven in big part by renovations. While mattress encasement products are fairly new to the hospitality industry, they have gained acceptance."
     DiVito believes there is a lot of pent up demand and sees opportunities for the company at every level of the market from luxury to budget.
     Protect-A-Bed will be featuring the company's full line of mattress, box spring and pillow protection products, introducing three new products: Snore Be Gone; Blackout, a bed bug early detection device; and Thermal Strike, which is bed bug proof luggage.
     Stefanie Wotton, director of marketing and product administration, Covington Contract also sees sunny skies. "We're doing really well this year as we successfully rebuild and expand the Covington Contract brand"
     She expects good open-to-buy opportunities at the show due to an increase in renovations, but added, "Of course, we don't know exactly what their budgets are." The company will be introducing new bedding collections at the show."
     Also somewhat cautious on open-to-buy is Eric Alms, president, Parker & Morgan, which offers sleep products for three, four and five star hotels. "Each property is different and their needs change based on the lifecycle of that hotel and the management."
     On construction, Alms told HTT, "We have found that becoming a part of the design process is critical for achieving the best end result. We have seen a solid demand from new properties and there is no shortage of opportunity in the area."
     The company will introduce a line of "sleep closet" hotel products, allowing hotels to expand their retail opportunities.

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