Finding the Middle Ground- The key to being a successful contract lighting supplier10th April 2015
Just as designing good lighting for hotels is about more than creating stylish products that are on trend and look great, being a successful contract supplier is about much more than simply manufacturing mass quantities of product and shipping it on to the associated projects. It’s essential that we consider projects on an individual basis and from multiple perspectives to ensure we can demonstrate that we are meeting not only the requirements of the interior designers but also those of the hotel operators, purchasers and above all else the guests all of whom have differing needs from the same project. So what does each party want?
The interior designer is pushing the boundaries more than ever before, always looking to create unique interior schemes for hotels that offer something different and inevitably lighting is an essential part of that. Designers need to feel confident that they are working in collaboration with a knowledgeable and capable lighting specialist, a forward thinking company they can trust to deliver accurate and prompt responses at every stage of a project whether that’s producing drawings and 3D renderings from early design concepts through to creating samples and prototypes and ultimately delivering stylish functional pieces that work and meet exacting contract requirements. It’s not just enough to come up with products that simply look the part, we pride ourselves on not only having a great product selection but also being able to fully cooperate with designers to create design solutions that demonstrate our technical capabilities and flexibility when it comes to manufacturing and design- you have to be able to offer the full package or someone else will.
Hoteliers expect stylish design and quality whilst working to what are often becoming increasingly tighter budgets so it should be a given that both are essential for contract use. Products need to be designed to withstand frequent and often forceful handling and as specialists we need to demonstrate that we can work with clients to recognise their requirements and provide them with well considered lighting solutions that offer long term functionality. Blending cutting edge style with the latest technological developments is becoming more important than ever but we constantly need to ask ourselves how we can make the lighting experience better for the hotelier by saving money on running and maintenance costs. LEDs are now an essential light source in many hospitality spaces as sustainability continues to become even more of a priority so it’s important that we recognise the need to go green as the wave of the future and integrate LED technology into our fittings for future energy saving and in doing so proving our commitment to taking sustainability seriously. The needs of the hotelier don’t just stop once the fittings have been installed, clients want and expect an after sales service so it’s important we are there to support them and help address any issues that may arise. Design, quality, efficiency and price are all important but without the level of service to match all are in danger of becoming secondary no matter how great the product may actually look.
The requirements of the purchaser are arguably the most practical out of the mix. Somewhat less concerned with the overall design and functionality of the products, the purchaser ultimately wants to know they are dealing with a trusted supplier who truly understands the contract market and the associated pressures that go with it. They want to work with a solution focussed company who can meet the varying logistical requirements of a project, one whom they can rely on to deliver on time and within budget. For us, reaching budget levels shouldn’t mean reducing quality, it’s about being flexible and clever in manufacturing to create a specific look that doesn’t compromise the overall design aesthetic yet is achievable on varying budgets especially where lower priced targets are concerned. Excellent service levels are vital and it’s our job as suppliers to be as responsive and agile as possible to ensure the whole process runs smoothly and to instil confidence at every stage of the process.
Lighting really does make or break the traveller’s experience. It’s much more than just about creating the ‘wow factor’ which naturally has to be the designer’s priority and instead needs to address the increasingly multifunctional requirements of the hotel environment and that of the guestroom in particular. One of the biggest complaints to front desks is that guestrooms are under-lit so it’s our job as lighting specialists to work with the designers and hoteliers to light guestrooms and public areas successfully. A hotel room is no longer just a room to sleep in, it has become multifunctional and guests want it to feel like a luxurious home away from home, a place to eat, sleep, work and relax and the lighting scheme needs to reflect the variety of uses. Generating the correct light levels to meet all these functions is critical as is designing lighting controls that guests can understand without having to call for help. For example most guests have dimming functionality at home and expect it in hotels, but they want it to be clearly visible on the product and most of all usable. I have lost count of the number of times I have heard stories of the concierge being called up to the room to explain how to dim the lights, illustrating there needs to be a distinct blend between design and functionality.
As a company we enjoy balancing all those demands and finding the middle ground to ensure all the different parties are satisfied and that the guest has a great hotel experience which makes them want to return.