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HI Connect® Designer Spotlight- Patti Tritschler

Today we speak with Patti Tritschler, President, Interior Image Group, as part of our series focusing on the hospitality designers, architects and purchasing pros participating in HI Connect® 2015.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015
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HI Connect®®
HI Connect®
Experience a Design Revolution

We’re getting ready for our BIG HI Connect®?event coming this March 25-27, 2015 at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, TN. Act Now and register to be a part of this amazing event now in its fourth year!

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

HI Connect®?offers attendees an incredible opportunity to view, first hand, original concepts designed by industry designers, architects and purchasing companies in collaboration with suppliers shown in context within a real environment. You’ll see guest rooms, bathrooms, 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®?2015 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.

Act now to be a part of this game changing event. For more information relating to this unique and dramatic experience at HI Connect®? experience March 25-27, 2015, visit our dedicated website to learn more. Register now for this unique event setting a new standard for hospitality tradeshows. Or call 631-424-7755 x150 for an immediate response.

For today’s interview, Editor-In-Chief Glenn Haussman speaks with Patti Tritschler, President, Interior Image Group and KB, whose team is creating an amazing Bar/Lounge during the three days of HI Connect®?.

Glenn Haussman: Great. Last year you guys won an award for the most unexpected vignette, and you did a hotel lobby. And now you’re kind of taking that to the next level, and you guys are gonna try to blow the tops off of what we can expect in the world of bars and lounges. Patti, what’s going on that all of a sudden bars and lounges are becoming so important?

Patti Tritschler: Well I think it’s just the food and beverage revenue arm that’s driving the design and creativity for us as designers within the lobby space of how to engage the guest as well as really incorporating local demographic elements and exciting destinations for locals to be able to pop into that hotel and enjoy a bar lounge environment.

Glenn Haussman: I think it’s interesting that you say bring in the locals to the atmosphere, because I think we kind of somewhere along the line lost that magic of having that be a centerpiece of the community. At some point we kind of just said, “Aah, this is just for guests,” and we lost that. Now in the last few years we’re trying to bring that back. Why do you think that all of a sudden appealing to the local neighborhood is something that’s gaining traction?

Patti Tritschler: Well I think it just kind of goes back to what’s been happening in you know the restaurant industry, how the Panera Breads and the Starbucks, and you know we hear a lot about what the millennials are looking for when they’re dining or they’re having a hotel experience, and I think they kind of led that path in. The hotel industry has really kind of embraced those environments not only for the millennial and the Gen-X’rs, but you know even someone as old as me that’s a baby boomer finds those types of environments very comfortable to work in, to hang out with. Eat, dine, connect, unwind was one of the you know tag lines we used at the concierge lounge a few years ago when we did HI Connect®?, and I think that still resonates within the lobby now whether you’re creating lobby space or a food environment, or for us it’s the bar lounge this year.

Glenn Haussman: Yeah. I love what you’re saying. What was that? Connect – oh I totally lost what it was, but it was so great. Could you say it one more time?

Patti Tritschler: Oh we kind of came up with that as eat, dine, connect, unwind.

Glenn Haussman: There you go. I love it. That’s such a great way to point, and I think that that’s so trend forward right now. And I think what you’re getting at is to what the CEO of Starbucks has called that third place, trying to find a space between home and work that people wanna connect and hang out at. So you know, KB, when you’re out there and you wanna have that place between home and work, what are you looking for in that bar lounge atmosphere, and how is that reflected in what Interior Image Group is doing for this year’s HI Connect®??

KB: You know, Glenn, it’s not only about a well-crafted cocktail anymore. It’s about where I’m going and what my experience is in the space, and that’s what we’re trying to create, an experience that is memorable and we can think about it when we go back, talk to our friends about it, bring them back in, be proud of that space within our city, and go back to the city for that space. That’s the idea.

Glenn Haussman: All right. So what’s the formula then for creating something memorable? I mean I could create something memorable but it’ll probably be memorable for all the wrong reasons. Patti, how do you make sure it’s the right reasons?

Patti Tritschler: Well I think any time you’re trying to create something memorable you’re trying to connect with emotion and experience that someone’s going to have from the moment they enter the space. Is there a vibe? You know we sometimes relate to what’s the temperature in the space, not literally but you know how do we want the space to – we all hear that we want it to be one thing in the early afternoon cocktail hour, but how does that space really you know kind of evolve as the evening progresses? So I think that’s something that we look at is you know we look at the emotion attachment to the space, how to create you know seating areas and unexpected experiences for the guest, and are we going to have a lot of unexpected experiences in this bar lounge this year?

Glenn Haussman: Oh that’s very interesting. I like what you’re saying about unexpected experiences because I think as travelers and folks that hang out in bars and lounges I think more regularly than the average person I think we’re really tuned into wanting to have that unexpected. And then you’re also talking about connecting emotionally with the guest, and I think that you have to kind of bring those things together in order to really do that. So how do you get yourself in the mindset in order to be able to create something that’s different and unexpected in a world where there seems to be a whole lot of sameness?

Patti Tritschler: Well I think that’s what our goal is in that programming phase of thinking of what’s that unique development that we’re going to come up with that’s going to engage that guest with an experience. And that takes us into you know a lot of research, some road trips, even some cocktails to kind of have those experiences ourselves and see who’s leading the way in those areas. So we did a lot of you know thinking and researching and big pin-up boards with you know 15 of our design staff to kind of all input you know what do you like, what are you looking for, and then just really drilling that down. And somehow or another that unique explosive design moment happens and we say, “This is it.” And unfortunately we can’t share that with you because we wanna keep everyone in suspense, as we do every year, in unveiling our concept.

Glenn Haussman: Absolutely. But we can tell you guys listening right now that we will share it with you March 25th through March 27th at the Gaylord Opryland at our own design studio. So make sure you check out HI Connect®?at HIconnectevents.com and register today. Now one of the things that you mentioned, Patti and even maybe you or KB can answer this, you were talking about evolution as the evening progresses. What does that mean to you, and perhaps you’ve seen a concept out there that you can talk about that you see that reflect in your ability to change the personality that plays throughout the night?

KB: I think it’s important that we do have a versatile space. Glenn, in the afternoon it’s about a quick drink or just food, and then in the evening as the night progresses we change the ambiance and then it’s more the music is louder, lights are dimmer, and the feeling of the night coming in is on. We in our space are gonna provide food as well, just giving you a quick glance into our space, but there’s gonna be food. There’s gonna be drinks. So just trying to create that vibe that everybody at every hour can relate to the space.

Patti Tritschler: Another thing I think that we can share what’s with a lot of our research in coming up with the bar lounge is really delving into the male female what they look for in a bar is so different by gender. So that was the underlying tone of our design, and that’s where the daytime to nighttime really reflects between our bar lounge on male female day night. So that gives you a little bit more insight as to our research and how we really you know wanted to understand how a group of guys hanging out after a business meeting might wanna enjoy that bar lounge versus you know a group of women that might be traveling together. And we took a lot of that research and developed our design.

Glenn Haussman: That’s interesting. Now I’m not gonna ask you for the specifics of course, 'cause we do want everybody to come and experience it firsthand for themselves, but are there any big issues that you saw with trying to create a space that is equally enticing to both men and women when you’re talking about different personalities and different chemicals [laughs] going through our bodies?

Patti Tritschler: Yeah, that’s an interesting one. Yeah, I think there’s almost like a crossover where you know women you know may wanna experience certain cocktails and sit in furniture that’s a little bit different than what the male audience might have. So we also looked at you know styles and furniture and –

KB: Colors.

Patti Tritschler: colors and how that really impacts you know a woman’s versus a man’s experience in a bar.

Glenn Haussman: So let me guess, it’ll be this way, the women will wanna sit around and talk about their feelings about drinking cocktails and the men just wanna problem solve and get the cocktails drank as quick as possible, right?

KB: Absolutely.

Patti Tritschler: You got it.

Glenn Haussman: [Laughs] All right. Good. I’m glad we worked that out. What are some of the things that you’re seeing out there in the world when it comes to design, doesn’t have to be bars and lounges, but you think is interesting and exciting and you think really is at the cusp of changing the way that we might interact with hospitality over the next couple of decades.

KB: I think the biggest trend nowadays is obviously the millennials and how they like to spend more time in public areas in the hotel and not necessarily in the guest rooms, and it’s how these hoteliers are dealing with that and creating hotspots within the hotel to just let them be in the hotel and not let them go out of the hotel. It’s about creating individual experiences within the space and how they’re trying to maneuver that within the lobby of the hotel.

Glenn Haussman: How do you guys keep things different when a sense of seeing this seems to always come in to whatever the trend is in hospitality. You want to keep your clients happy, so what do you do to make sure you’re not doing what everybody else is doing or will do in the future?

Patti Tritschler: I think that really comes into you know spending time researching. Of course every article that we read, all the e-mail blasts that we get about trends and looking at fashion and what’s trending in the fashion industry in Europe and looking at you know European design and in Asia what’s going on there and how did some of those you know influences of design get brought into you know the U.S. into our design. So that can kind of be a differentiator of getting you out of the sameness is really looking at little bit further away and a little bit deeper and coming up and doing a lot of brainstorming and really mixing up our design teams you know so that we get a good mix of millennial and baby boomer and Gen-X’rs when we’re working on a project of finding that right team that can really develop that research and come up with those unique you know unexpected surprises that can differentiate one hotel lobby or bar from another.

Glenn Haussman: So does it get more difficult over time to create that unexpected, because everybody seems so sophisticated these days, so it’s gotta be more of increasing challenge as the years go by?

Patti Tritschler: Yeah I think it is, but I think design is always being challenged whether it’s you know what’s happening here, what’s happening overseas. We’re always looking at you know those new you know behind the – uncovering you know and peeling back to see what can we do to make it different and to change it up, and I think that’s the great part of being in the design industry is that you know there may be a sameness out there but as a designer you’re always looking to just change that up a little bit to make it unique and to have your stamp on it. So it is challenging, but that’s the education that continues as a designer you know reading and researching and traveling and experiencing cultures and diversity that really helps us come up with unique environments.

Glenn Haussman: And I think that’s also part of the fun. You wouldn’t wanna be doing the same thing over and over and over again, right?

Patti Tritschler: No way.

Glenn Haussman: [Laughs] Yeah, exactly. Anything else that you feel that you wanna add?

Patti Tritschler: We’re just really excited to do another public space at HI Connect®?, so we look forward to unveiling our surprise.

Glenn Haussman: And I cannot wait to see what Interior Image Group has in store for us when it comes to a bar and lounge at HI Connect®. Of course again that’s March 25th through 27th. It’s our fourth year. It’s gonna be bigger and better than ever, and I think you guys are gonna love it. Make sure you check out HIconnectevents.com for all the information you need about this amazing, amazing event.

Act now to be a part of this game changing event. For more information relating to this unique and dramatic experience at HI Connect®? experience March 25-27, 2015, visit our dedicated website to learn more. Register now for this unique event setting a new standard for hospitality tradeshows. Or call 631-424-7755 x150 for an immediate response.

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