The supply chain and sourcing of FF&E is just as important as those design elements themselves in a hotel. Many guests want transparency when it comes to sourcing room components and accessories. And White Space, a manufacturing resource provider, focuses on bringing diverse furniture, casework, lighting, and flooring primarily to hotels. Aytan Litwin, founder and CEO of White Space, says, “We make it possible for our clients to fulfill their imaginations–to create high-end and cutting-edge interiors that are essential for success in today’s market.
Litwin cites five trends in sourcing and supply chain management affecting the hospitality industry today below.
1. Elevated design and aesthetics.
“Driven by the demand from travelers, trends are calling for the ability to deliver unique experiences on a tight budget. This trend is critical because without adjusting to the needs of today’s customers, the industry won’t be able to compete with other lodging accommodations offering real local authenticity.”
2. Transparency in manufacturing.
“Purchasers want to know which factories are responsible for their output. This is important because it will require factories to change their operational models.”
3. Furniture as a Service (FaaS).
“This is a trend in other categories that is coming to sourcing. On the surface, ownership might sound like an advantage, but if you dig a little deeper, you realize that ownership compromises flexibility and quality, and costs the buyer more money. It’s a lose-lose. Few trends are as important because they change the basic structure of the industry.”
4. From hands-off to hands-on.
“You simply can’t deliver for clients with a passive orientation. There’s too much at stake. A trend we call ‘active management’ can’t be learned overnight. It requires a radical re-ordering of the entire manufacturing process.”
5. Giving back.
“In industry after industry we’re seeing the importance of corporate social responsibility. This will soon collide into our world. Most sourcing is done in emerging countries where workers need opportunities. Expect to see programs and investments bringing people from factory jobs into management and other similar initiatives.”
Other important supply chain and sourcing trends in hospitality that will be demand generators in the future are creative partnerships and branded products, according to Litwin. He also notes that changing technology is always affecting the guest experience, and that soon virtual reality, among other new initiatives, are becoming integral parts of hotel apps.