Hospitality Suppliers Still Waiting for Uptick

Carole Sloan, May 10, 2010

While many projects have been approved from a design and product specification perspective in the hospitality market, suppliers of decorative fabrics and home textiles finished goods are reporting that the money to fund these projects has not been released.

Nonetheless, those suppliers showing at the Hospitality + Design Show here later this month are coming with a full array of new product to capture whatever new opportunities present themselves.

Attendance is expected to be down, even more so than last year, when significant numbers of major players cut their shopping teams back. That trend is expected to continue this year. In addition, there is an increase in mini-conventions where suppliers are matched to potential customers for set periods of time for guaranteed one-on-one exposure.

The breakthrough in the hospitality market in terms of funding is seen as beginning in the second half of this year, with more funding happening in the first half of 2011, a number of suppliers commented.

For Harvey Nudelman, president of the hospitality division of Fabricut, “Shows in general have had fewer attendees. And while HD for us is very good, it attracts a lot of in-house designers, many of whom are no longer employed. Active players are looking and networking.”

The hospitality environment, Nudelman added, “is challenging, but I'm optimistic with caution.”

To strengthen its position in hospitality, the company is offering new product ranges in Fabricut, FR1 and a new customized bedding program, he said.

A wide array of new product is expected to buoy Swavelle/Mill Creek's potential at HD, said Richard Hanfling, president. Among the entries are outdoor vinyls, a new velvet group of “very decorative stripes and solids,” 118-inch decorative sheers and upholstery.

Business, he said, “has been slow. Funding at the hospitality companies has been slow, with minimal capitalization. I see the second half of this year better than now, and the first half of 2011 significantly better.”

Properties, he noted, have become rundown and need considerable refreshing.

American Silk is showing only its Japanese-produced Sensuede ranges at HD. “We're brand building to make the brand better known to the consumer as well as the trade,” said David Stunda, sales director, Sensuede. “We always have a very good show here with manufacturers as well as a reference for our jobber accounts that sell to the hotels.”

“It's not a pretty scene,” said Stan Fradin of Roc-Lon, who noted there are a lot of renovations in the pipeline, yet to be started.

“There's a lot out for bids, but the dollars are not available.” Among the challenges, he said, “is that there is not as much travel as before — the priorities are different. It will be another 12 to 18 months before the needle moves.”

Richloom will feature a “very competitive” collection of bedding including duvets, scarves, and throws under its Rbed brand, said Tony Riggio, vp, contract. “Wer're also featuring Manhattan, a design-oriented group of prints, wovens and decorative sheers; two new upholstery lines, two new upholstery ranges and one new print range.”

Business in the hospitality arena, he said, “is quiet. There's lots of approved projects, but no dollars have opened up. I see the second half coming back strong.”

New to the hospitality arena is Welspun, which will be showing at HD in conjunction with decorative fabric and bedding supplier Kojo.

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