If the COVID-19 pandemic taught the world anything, it was how to adapt.
Entire industries were forced to adjust how they conducted business, whether it was with reduced staff or taking a bigger step into the digital realm. And though operations were still up and running, for more than a year business was far from usual.
In the world of hotel FF&E (fixtures, furniture, and equipment) procurement, hoteliers, hotel designers, and hotel furnishing companies found new ways to make projects happen. While those changes were necessary to keep projects moving forward, some actually improved the overall FF&E procurement process.
As the pandemic loosens its grip on daily life, these changes -- whether it’s ordering new hotel casegoods or manufacturing them -- are likely here to stay.
FF&E Procurement: 3 Changes (and Why They’ll Stay)
Hotel projects can be very complex. Add in a pandemic that hampers normal operations, and completing a hotel’s construction or redesign becomes much more challenging.
Like most supply chains during the pandemic, FF&E procurement with hospitality logistics saw significant adjustments, particularly on three important fronts:
Conducting Business Digitally
Closer Project Coordination
1. Conducting Business Digitally
Perhaps the biggest pandemic-caused change to the hospitality furniture manufacturing and procurement sector was the shift to conducting business digitally.
What changed: Meetings traditionally held in-person between casegood manufacturers and hotel owners or designers shifted to video and phone conference calls. With digital infrastructure eliminating geographic boundaries, casegoods suppliers centralized their operations back to the home office, as there was no longer much need to have representatives located in wide geographic areas.
Why it will stay that way: The shift into the digital world of commerce and project management brought new efficiencies to the FF&E procurement process. In addition to saving time -- especially during planning -- conducting business in the digital world trimmed overhead costs for manufacturers and clients.
2. Closer Project Coordination
On the production and delivery side of casegoods, close coordination between the manufacturer and client became paramount.
What changed: With limits on the number of employees allowed in a space (think: the manufacturing floor) coupled with an increase in competition for delivery services, filling orders required more planning and longer lead times. To meet a project’s deadlines, work between a client and casegoods supplier needed to start sooner. Communication throughout the project needed to be more frequent, too.
Why it will stay that way: More cohesion between FF&E supplier and a client throughout the entire procurement process isn’t a bad thing. Hotel projects -- whether they’re new construction or renovations -- require plenty of planning to make sure all moving parts are in sync. Nothing drives a hotel project’s costs up faster than delays because of missed deadlines.
3. Domestic FF&E Sourcing
The pandemic crippled international trade. Many countries closed their doors to imports and exports.
What changed: With international trade at a near standstill, access to foreign-produced goods became extremely limited -- hotel furniture included. To meet deadlines and keep projects moving forward, those overseeing hotel projects turned to domestic hotel casegoods suppliers.
Why it will stay that way: The #1 thing this change brought about was eliminating the downsides of an international supply chain for FF&E. By maintaining partnerships with a domestic hotel casegoods manufacturer, hoteliers and designers won’t contend with pre-pandemic:
High international shipping expenses
Long lead times
In addition, outfitting a hotel with American-made products also appeals to guests. Americans prefer domestically produced goods and are willing to pay more for them. By extension, they’re more likely to patronize service providers that use them, too.
The New Normal for FF&E Procurement
Change is almost always hard. But sometimes, it’s not a bad thing.
The pandemic was a five-star lesson in how quickly things can be upended in FF&E procurement and hospitality logistics. Regardless of world events, working with an experienced hotel casegoods manufacturer makes all the difference in meeting the new landscape of business relationships in a post-pandemic world.
Start Your Hotel FF&E Procurement on the Right Foot
Even during normal times, experience is everything. With more than 50 years in the casegoods industry, we understand what it takes for a successful project. Request a quote for your hotel FF&E today: