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Slippers need TLC too

“What happens at retail shouldn’t always stay in retail” is a personal motto because I truly believe many of the biggest consumer trends have the wherewithal (after minor design and production tweaks) to become hospitality-friendly, to enter our market and, in some cases, to expand the trend-impact to some press-worthy levels.   

Recently, I spent a day in “crystal-ball mode,” reviewing, predicting and check-marking what was titled an “Expert Ballot” at two Los Angeles Marts, where the invited assessors guided and advised on concepts in development with the hope they will become a holiday season gift-giving hit!

Photography at this development stage is never allowed in the tense and often secured showrooms as endless line sheets and prototypes in the final round of development are paraded in front of buyers and trend experts representing every consumer facet on the retail globe.

As I scoured the floors, one specific product in a variety of interpretations kept appearing, which ironically is a hotel in-room amenity that hasn’t seen a dramatic change in decades: the slipper! 

Although the retail versions currently being unveiled possess either major style or an element of funk, it got me thinking about the hospitality versions, which are, let’s just say, bare-bones basic. Think white terry cloth or waffle weave with an open or closed toe and, periodically, an embroidered logo sitting on a flatter-than-flat sole.

Respecting that timing is always crucial when it comes to change in hospitality, when hotels adopt a radically new style or popular brand, in a majority of the cases, it’s well after the demand by consumers has proven the item isn’t a fly-by-night or short-term impulse trend.

In the case of the slipper, I believe interest has resurfaced thanks to a trend wave in fashion referred to as the Smoking Slipper. Introduced last fall as fashion-forward flats, these embellished smoking slippers are now peaking high, so it comes as no surprise the mainstream shoe designers are taking a shot at the massive holiday gift-giving season and reincarnating what we lounge in at home or wear while gallivanting in a spa.

The white terry cloth, waffle weave or vinyl-like slip-ons found in hotel rooms or spas may not have found their way to your own housekeeping or spa TLC charts with so many in-room amenities experiencing transformation, but I’d like to propose we discontinue the neglect! Although viewed by insiders as one of those necessities required to gain a specific diamond or star rating, the slipper truly isn’t much different than a few of the other comforts-from-home staples such as better linens and towels, a great TV or easy WI-Fi access.

When retail experiences a trend pulse, hospitality on many occasions will follow suit several years late but with a toe-dipping approach, so what follows are a few ideas to simply promote conversations internally about whether or not a slipper review makes sense for your rooms or spa. Be sure to chime in and share your take on the slipper! Will it soon be appearing on your need-to-address lists, or do you prefer to view it as one of those necessities, at least for the time being, that are helpful during inspections? 

Made for style- and eco-conscious individuals, these slippers are made out of felt, which is an environmentally friendly material.

This is a sock-and-slipper hybrid, which ensures your feet are kept warm during the most frigid days. A similar design to styles seen in footwear used in the International Space Station, this slipper offers the same heat and protection outdoor shoes provide while still being light and as soft as socks. 

Replace terry cloth or waffle weave with cushion and comfort in this easy-to-fit option.

Unique slip-ons for use in spas made from soft colorful rubber-like materials are both easy to fit and to wear!

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