FF&E: Recent Trends in Supply Chain and Sourcing
What Does FF&E Mean?
A hotel’s FF&E is its furniture, fittings, and equipment.
There was arguably a time when guests pretty much only cared that the furniture, fittings, and equipment looked nice and were in good working order. Today, though, many guests have other, sometimes more socially conscious concerns as well. To keep attracting plenty of business if for no other reason, it behooves hotel owners and operators to be aware of these trends involving supply chain and sourcing.
Five FF&E Trends Every Hotel Owner and Operator Should Understand
FF&E Trend #1: Who Made the Furniture, Fittings, and Equipment?
When a socially conscious guest knows what factory made the hotel’s accouterments, he or she can then assess whether the manufacturing process was sustainable and whether workers were fairly treated.
FF&E Trend #2: Does the Sourcing Represent a Socially Responsible Corporate Entity?
This trend can be seen as a more general case of the first. Socially conscious guests want the hotel’s furniture, fittings, and equipment to come from sustainable factories where laborers are not exploited, but they may hope to see the factory manifest social responsibility in other ways as well. They may want to see workers given the opportunity to come into management. This can be especially important in the emerging countries where a lot of sourcing happens.
FF&E Trend #3: Elevated Design and Aesthetics
Even guests in relatively inexpensive hotels are increasingly demanding experiences that seem special and unique. One way to approach this is to use authentic local products. Hotels that find this to be an impractical or otherwise undesirable approach will have to find other ways to provide a guest experience that feels unique.
FF&E Trend #4: FaaS (Furniture as a Service)
Traditionally, hotels own their furniture and equipment. Today, that kind of sourcing is no longer the only option. FaaS can improve quality, provide flexibility, and cost less.
FF&E Trend #5: Active Management
Obviously, staying on top of the four trends listed above requires more of the people overseeing the supply chain and sourcing process. Increasingly, a new style of management called active management is supplanting the older, less engaged style.
FF&E: Additional Trends
Of course, like the world in general, the hotel business is always evolving, and shrewd observers can see even more trends appearing on the horizon. Expect branded products, creative partnerships, and virtual reality to play increasingly larger roles in the future.