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HI Connect® Spotlight - Matchline Design Group

Today we speak with Lesley Hughes Wyman and Tamara Ainsworth, principals at Matchline Design Group as part of our series focusing on the hospitality designers, architects and purchasing pros that are part of HI Connect® Design 2013.

Monday, July 29, 2013
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HI Connect®®
HI Connect®
Experience a Design Revolution

We’re getting ready for our BIG event HI Connect® Design coming this April 10-12, 2013 at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, TN and it promises to be the most exciting event ever to hit the hospitality industry.

We’ve got dozens of built out fully constructed out vignettes created by the vision of leading hospitality designers, architects and purchasing pros. And those in attendance will get to step into their master creations, get a tour and see products in the content in which they belong; in a real hotel environment!

HI Connect® Design offers attendees an incredible opportunity to view, first hand, original concepts designed by industry designers and purchasing companies in collaboration with suppliers shown in context within a real environment of a guest room, bathroom, and public spaces such as Bar/Lounge, Spa/Fitness to name a few. This is a truly the most collaborative effort ever at any hospitality event.

As part of our countdown to HI Connect® 2013 we’re interviewing the people that are bringing their creative vision to life. Read the story below, or for a more fully in-depth interview listen to their story below.

For today’s interview, Editor-In-Chief Glenn Haussman speaks with Lesley Hughes Wyman and Tamara Ainsworth, principals at Matchline Design Group who are creating a Midscale Guestroom during the three days of HI Connect® Design.

Glenn Haussman: Now, you’re doing a mid-scale guest room and you know what, that is the sweet spot in the hospitality industry. Man oh man has there been so much development there in the last ten years. And now it seems like there are record amounts of renovations going on in that world. What do you guys see in terms of what’s going on in mid-scale hotels?

Lesley Hughes Wyman: I’m kinda seeing a little bit about renovations and reconstruction. We kind of pride ourselves, I think, on the mid-scale rooms. We like to do the affordable luxury, if you will. We want to be approachable. We want it to—you know, you’re staying there, you don’t want to feel uncomfortable but you still want to feel like you’re getting a treat when you’re traveling for business or vacation.

Glenn Haussman: I like what you’re saying there, Lesley. That makes a lot of sense, affordable luxury. That’s really cool So Tamara, what are you seeing when it comes to mid-scale hotels? How do you create a sense of affordable luxury and meeting the needs of the ownership group while also making guests happy?

Tamara Ainsworth: Well, we’re finding that guests want to be engaged as soon as they walk into a hotel. They want to have things to be convenient, that they want to feel comfortable in the space that they are in. They want different areas to relax, or if they’re feeling kind of upbeat they may want a space to socialize.

Glenn: So you want to make sure that the guests have plenty of opportunities to go to all of these different zones, I would call them, both in and out of the guest room. So when you’re in the guest room, what are some of the major things that you’re thinking about, Lesley?

Lesley: Everyone wants a great pillow, a great mattress, a great shower. You want people to come back to you, and they don’t want to have a bad experience. They want to be able to use their iPods or their phones or their computers any way they want without any problem. They want it to run smoothly. So anything that can help integrate those features without breaking the bank.

Glenn: Yeah. Absolutely. And it seems, and this must be a real challenge for you ladies, that guests demand more and more and more, but your budgets are not going up and up and up. So, you know, Tamara, how do you go ahead and you balance what’s most important with what you can actually do?

Tamara: Well, we have great relationships with our vendors and work very closely with them. We have a good sense of what our budgets are on our projects and work closely with the vendors to maintain those budgets, and to meet the expectations of the owners as well.

Glenn: All right. So you’ve probably worked on a gazillion projects out there, what is one project that you’ve worked on recently that you just totally fell in love with, and what made it so special?

Tamara: There was a project, it was a non branded project here in the local DFW area.

Glenn: That’s Dallas Fort Worth for people that are not as cool, as hip as we are. All right.

Tamara: Correct.

Lesley: That’s the lingo here.

Tamara: Well, it was a very dated space and the ownership wanted a W look on a very, very tight budget. But I think we were able to achieve that and really go beyond their expectations. So that was probably one of our most fun projects.

Glenn: Was there a signature look that you guys were able to do in order to create that sense of space?

Lesley: Well, we just kind of hit some select areas or materials that would give the effect, kind of a wow factor but without spending a large sum of money. Just kind of real selective on what we needed to do in certain areas.

Tamara: We had a very under utilized barrel wall ceiling and we did a great wall covering treatment on it that really gave it a real wow factor.

Lesley: Metallic bronze so when you walked in that is what you saw. Before, they had a dusty, pink rose flower arrangement and nothing else was there at all, plain white paint. So it was a bronze metallic we added. It was very dark so we added a lot of new lighting. Brought it back into the current century. And so they were just very happy with it. Before, nobody used the lobby to hang out in. And the very first week that the renovation was complete they had groups that were sitting in there and socializing, and they had never had that before.

Glenn: One of the trends that I’m seeing in select service hotels, for example, is that we’re bringing more food and beverage components into it because so many people want to be out in that public space and when they’re out in public they got to have a cocktail or two. I’ll just leave it at two just to be polite to all the alcoholics out there. All right, so one of the things that I find is very interesting that you ladies do is you’ll also work in the field of healthcare and helping to design healthcare facilities and senior living facilities, for example. That industry has really been booming, and it’s probably taking a lot of cues from the hotel business. How do you guys see it?

Lesley: Well, it’s definitely taking cues from hospitality. They want it to be a much more favorable experience when you walk in. They don’t want it to seem dreary or like they’re in a hospital. Mostly we’ll work on independent senior living facilities so they’re still, you know, it’s their own space. They want to feel comfortable, like they’re going home. They don’t want to feel like they’re at a hospital or—you know, they just need to be very comfortable there.

Glenn: Ironically, I designed my hotel room to look like a hospital. I don’t know why I would do that, but okay. What I think is very interesting about the whole healthcare hospitality thing is that people are bringing a lot more of those long-term residential type of elements into it also. So how does that work when you’re in a senior living hospital facility? Are there any rules that can’t be broken or are you just busy breaking all those rules?

Lesley: Well, there’s [specific] rules. We just happen to focus right now, the ones that we’re working on are the independent—and so everyone’s a lot more mobile. They don’t necessarily have to have full-time nursing staff so it’s a little bit different. A lot of the folks that move in there, they’re just want to be in a community. They don’t want to have a large house anymore and so they just want to be in a community with friends that—and so really, just like their normal home, they’re just downsizing.

Tamara: And they use the public spaces quite a bit as well for all sorts of activities and get togethers throughout the day. So they’re really utilizing those public areas of the facility.

If you are interested in participating in this unique and dramatic experience at HI Connect® Design, coming this April 10-12, 2013, please contact us immediately at (631) 424-7755 x150. You may also go to our website for more information and to see the photo gallery of HI Connect® Design 2012, please visit us at HIConnectDesign.com.

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