Hospitality: Those first impressions count
Ironically, whilst the hospitality industry is built upon people leaving their homes, its success depends upon making them feel as at home as possible. A welcoming atmosphere, comfortable environment, and appealing surroundings are the core elements of any hotel, café, bar or restaurant where people want to be – and without them, failure is almost guaranteed.
That’s why the old adage ‘first impressions count’ is so important within this industry, particularly for hotels. From the moment a guest enters the building, they need to feel as if they are in a space that is built to cater to their needs – from the facilities and the staff to the chairs, beds and baths; everything should make them want to stay longer, come back quicker and tell as many people as possible how enjoyable their stay was. And from the second a guest walks through the foyer, they start building this opinion.
After all, how many of us have entered a cold, dated or scruffy reception and thought about turning around and finding somewhere else to stay? Or taken one look at a sterile, poorly designed, mismatched bedroom in a hotel and immediately decided it’s not the place for us? It’s an instantaneous reaction, one that is difficult to overcome, and with poor décor ranked as one of the most common deterrents for guests, a hotel’s interior is one of the critical elements of its success; arguably the critical element.
One of the most integral aspects of creating an interior which is welcoming yet stylish, has impact but provides comfort, is the fabric used throughout it. Applied correctly, it has the power to pull rooms together, offering cohesion and aestheticism. Used poorly, it can ruin an otherwise beautifully decorated space. So, here are just a few things to consider when choosing fabrics for hospitality:
- Suitability. Whilst it’s tempting to focus purely on the colours, textures, and design of a fabric, it is crucial to pay equal attention to the performance and technical standards met. For hospitality fabrics, we always advise that a Medium Hazard (Crib 5) flammability certification is a must. When it comes to the wear and tear of a fabric, it’s important to not get too hung up on the Martindale figures (the variability between fabrics, test results, and outside factors mean that is not the reliable assurance of a fabric’s lifespan that many believe it to be). Instead, we advise looking at a product’s guarantee; the higher this is in years, the more durable it is deemed to be.
- Appearance: Many fabrics are now offered in collections – different ranges which complement one another but are not directly linked in terms of a shared pattern – which can be used to create a cohesive scheme without seeming too considered. This can be incredibly effective in a dining room where the discreet coordination of plain fabrics with patterned or leather can create seating environments that work in-situ with the robust structured furniture and tables within. In the bedrooms, soft furnishings, headboards and bed bases can be upholstered to harmonise with side chairs and carpeting, ensuring the interior’s scheme is maintained throughout.
- Application: Consideration must also be given to the compatibility of the chosen fabric with the area and way in which it is being used. For example, whilst a plush velvet may be exquisitely soft, if it’s installed on a bar chair that is being used for hours each night, sustaining spills and scuffs, it will soon lose its luxurious finish. A better option would be to use a hard-wearing, easy-to-clean textile, such as a rich wool; one that is stylish whilst also being durable - and save more luxurious fabrics for the accent pieces which have high aesthetic impact but sustain little use, e.g. cushions or drapes.
- Cost: With the average hotel refurbishment taking place every five to seven years, it’s crucial to ensure that the fabrics chosen possess the quality and performance attributes to maintain their appearance for this duration of time; whilst also being of a cost that doesn’t prohibit repairs being made when needed – or of such a high expense that the refurbishment lifecycle is extended too long.
In thinking carefully about these four key areas, it’s possible to create a space that offers the welcoming, comfortable, stylish environment treasured by guests – and will do so for years to come.
See Camira’s complete range of hospitality fabrics here.
Camira’s Trevira CS Track fabric is sumptuously soft whilst also being incredibly high performing, achieving Medium Hazard (Crib 5) flammability, and is provided with a 10-year guarantee. Track is seen here in Place (HTK06) on Nomique Seating’s stylish Coco chair.