Bring the Hotel Home
Hotels To You reverses the notion of making the hotel more residential. It makes the home more hotel-like.
Launched in January by former linens magnate David Kahn, the Savannah, GA-based company aims to connect hotel guests with the guestroom products they like. “With my contacts in the hotel business and the textile industry, this seemed a natural flow for me, a natural business for me to get into,” Kahn says.
Hotels To You aims to give consumers the opportunity to order all or part of a guestroom through an experienced distributor. So far, Sierra Suites, a small Midwestern firm, is the only hotel brand to sign on; next up is Omni Hotels, Kahn says.
“You need to be very proficient at warehousing and distribution, and that's where I have a great deal of experience,” he says. “It's important for whoever is going to do this to have an adequate supply of product.”
Kahn, who recently sold Kahn & Company to Standard Textiles, credits Starwood for his business, citing Westin's Heavenly Bed. That milestone led to a taste for higher-count linens, deluxe bedding and upscale pillows, he says. “Sierra Suites recently switched from a synthetic pillow,” he says. “Guests using synthetics at home who stay in a Sierra Suites want the nicer pillows.”
A guest uses printed materials in the room and on the hotel's TV screen to go to the hotel's website and order virtually anything in the room for shipment home. Hotels To You develops its website in conjunction with a hotel's marketing department and for every product sold, the hotel receives a commission.
Starwood markets its own products and Kimpton recently entered into a similar arrangement with a West Coast design firm, Kahn says. Otherwise, the field is wide open. He has approached about a half-dozen hotel companies, and “nobody has rejected this,” he says. “It's a win-win. Hotel companies can make money off of this and it serves a need for the customer.”
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