IHMRS trend whispers

This year marked my 20th International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show (IHMRS), the conference and trade show many use as the red carpet unveiling for new hotel and restaurant products. When comparing the 2012 event to previous years, the floor was obviously lighter in head count for attendees and exhibitors, thanks to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. However, the conditions didn’t reduce the launch wave of new product intros — in fact, a few carry the potential to trend relatively high in 2013.

What follows is my countdown of the top five “best trend whispers” spotted on the IHMRS and Boutique Design New York (BDNY) trade show floors. Please note the designation “whispers,” as these trends represent what lies ahead. While attendees took advantage of the quiet atmosphere by spending more time on the art of sourcing new ideas, many exhibitors played it safe, not unveiling anything too abstract or avant garde. In fact, a majority of the new product launches are spin-offs from the mega-hits of 2012. Think exposed tabletops, pottery, less wood, more metal, digital device loaners and another new hue!

5. It’s not a matter of if, but when

It’s all about when. Properties know they need to update or inject freshness here and there, but when? The following are sourcing projects I personally witnessed on purchasing-radar lists for 2013:

  • Updating bathtubs: Trending high are statement tubs such as the free-standing models for suites.
  • Linen-less tables: Reduces laundry. Frees up budget dollars for impressive tabletop settings.
  • Grab ’n’ go: Current projects focus on seated and quick meals. Next up: Updating your snack essentials.
  • Individual wet wipes: When makeup removers are included in your amenity program, they tend to reduce laundry losses from permanently stained, over-soiled towels.
  • Photo sharing: Several properties are adding Pinterest and Instagram for the instant uploading trend of sharing property pictures.

4. Organically modern

Pairing pottery with the stark-white interior trend is the new Yin and Yang of the tabletop category. The good news about the stunning pottery from Alabama-based artist and founder of Earthborn Studios Tena Payne is it’s hospitality- and commercial-friendly thanks to an account list of properties and resorts that would make any supplier green with envy. 

3. Metal mania

Whether it’s an original piece of art such as Martha Sturdy’s reincarnation of an artist’s canvas, an oversized grand entrance statement door or an exterior constructed out of a faux material, metal is in! Vancouver-based Martha Sturdy creates dramatic yet minimalistic originals that evolve over time and change naturally, while Tableaux uses innovative manufacturing techniques utilizing 100% reclaimed wood fiber and formaldehyde-free resin — environmentally friendly and 1/10 the weight of conventional wrought iron.

2. Digital rentals

A guest forgets his tablet at home and panics. Sound familiar? Panic no more thanks to MediaSurfer, the innovative new technology created by Tech Logic Corp., which has tapped its way into the tablet-obsession era. The standalone machine makes it easy for guests to borrow an array of media devices. With a simple credit-card swipe, patrons can enter into a state of relief via a touchscreen that check outs several digital options including iPads and eBooks!

1. Purple passions

TLS by Design Custom Furniture knows what it takes to lure. One of the most entertaining visual presentations on the floor, this first-time IHMRS attendee used over-scaled and dramatic custom furniture and the next color trend to woo clients. Although this style may be for the brave of heart, the company captured the attention of most attendees walking the aisle by showcasing one of the most significant trends for 2013: purple and black! The aura of the TLS booth was magnetic — in fact, I observed attendees requesting their pictures be taken with the pieces! Three days post-show, TLS quote requests assure me they are here to stay!

Now it’s your turn. If you attended IHMRS, tell us which products struck that chord of interest for you!