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Putting The Design Cart Before The Horse

11/13/2014
joe bezzone, hospitality trends, hospitality tips, design opitmization, branding

A regal animal the American Stallion; there is no doubt why the Ford Motor Company chose the Mustang for it’s iconic branding.  But,I would bet a fresh bale of Kentucky farmer’s hay that those Midwestern engineers decided on a muscular design long before evoking the power of the steed in their logo. The same holds true for hospitality design.  Too often spaces are allocated and dressed by concept, not the intellectual property resulting from the good science of our PAST BLOGS. To further complicate the problem, the lines between the talented graphic designers of Williamsburg and the “interior” designers of Parsons have seemed to merge into this pseudo - regurgitation of the same project over and over.

I was on assignment in San Francisco from one of the big banks right after the Lehman filing in 2008. My assignment was to determine whether the majestic old gal could remain open, or fall prey to the maligned “Receivership” process.  As I toured the competitive product with the all star, local, hospitality brokerage team, the only pervasive thought I had was, “this all looks the same." The brands had clearly cannibalized each other, leaving no differentiation in design product or price point. I would like to report to you that this didn’t cross over into the boutique product, as well, but I can’t. It was one big conventioneer sleep over in San Fran in 2008 – 2009- all for the low, low price of $99, including breakfast (which was lobby buffet).

As lazy as it would be to determine that it was the market shaping the similar design choices, my research showed that the big hospitality FF&E manufacturers (more on this later) were homogenizing the product, leaving the industry designers with few original choices. As focused as the West Coast market was at the time, I believe that our data mining and target demographic techniques would have provided a niche advantage to some budding ingénue- wait, it did… And, as for the Gran Dame, she didn’t go anywhere; “extend and pretend” kept her bow afloat.

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By: Joe Bezzone

President | BEZZONE

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