Wednesday Wisdom: 5 Ways Modular Furniture Unlocks the Potential of Event Space

Hotel guests today are not easy to please. With every guest craving a personalized experience, and ready to share their opinions on social media, hotels have really had to step up their design game. So how can you take advantage of the latest design trends and please your guests without breaking the bank? One possibility that is gaining traction among hotel brands across the price spectrum is modular furniture. 

Modular furniture is made of different, separate items that can be pushed together or separated easily – so think work surfaces and storage that can be easily detached, or sofas and chairs that can double as ottomans and tables. You have the choice of using them together or as individual items. These items can often be combined in many different ways, and combine multiple functions into a single design. 

Read on for tips on why hotels are embracing modular furniture, its benefits for your event management strategy, and how to implement it in your space.

How to use modular furniture as a game changer for your hotel’s event sales strategy

1. Personalization is king: Give event planners flexibility and control

When hotel owners and operators are asked to describe their event strategy for 2019, many say just one word: personalization. In fact, 96% of the Social Tables audience believe events are expected to be more personalized than ever. Event planners and guests seek hotels that strike a chord and show an understanding of their needs, and are increasingly choosing spaces that are flexible enough to match those needs in the moment.

Modular furniture offers the flexibility required to meet guest and planner demands quickly and efficiently. Because pieces can be interchanged and fit together in almost limitless combinations, guests can feel like they have designed a setup suited perfectly to them. Many pieces also offer the ability to switch out textiles, hardware, or veneers, giving planners and guests further control over the vision for their event.

Venues that are true partners to planners are poised to see success in 2019 and beyond. When hotels have an active hand in helping events meet their objectives, it becomes the ultimate differentiator to gain repeat business, positive reviews, and word-of-mouth referrals.

For event proposals, try showcasing multiple event-specific variations. This adds value for the planner by helping them better meet their event objectives,while adding value for the hotel or venue as an upselling technique. By providing inspiration and unique options, you are positioning your property as a partner in the event planning process and showing that you are ready to personalize the event to your guests’ needs.

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2. How to pace your events: Transform throughout the day

The flexibility of modular furniture pieces allows hotels to change the look and feel of event spaces easily, as furniture can be moved around to modify design layouts very quickly. This lends itself to events that take place across multiple days or at different times of the day. 

The classic example of this is a wedding, where one room is transformed from a ceremony space into a dining and dancing space in the time it takes for guests to have a few cocktails. But what if you could take it one step further? Picture a business function with a beautiful buffet set up for breakfast, including large tables for gathering and eating together. This same space can then be transformed into classroom space, a presentation space with a small stage, and then into the evening’s social networking with high-topped tables, a bar, and cocktails. This sounds complicated and cost-prohibitive, but with the modular furniture options available today your property could offer these experiences within the budgets of most event planners.

To embrace the transformational power of modular furniture, focus on pieces that can be combined in different ways. Trestle tables can have tops of different sizes and shapes to accommodate various group setups. Modular couch setups can often be separated into armchairs, or put together facing each other for a more social feel. Stages can become steps, shelves, tables, or dance floors with the right configurations. Use your group sales CRM to determine what types of groups normally use your space, and then work with your designers to find the modular pieces that will be the best fit for your audience.

3. Connected and connectable: Modularity helps hotels embrace new technology

While “personalization” may be the top event strategy most hotel operators are embracing for 2019, “emerging technology” is right up there near the top of the list. It’s hard to understate the wide-ranging effect that technology has had on all aspects of hospitality, from guest rooms to lobbies, where connected features enable a more seamless guest experience. Meanwhile, advanced manufacturing has improved the design of interior products and unlocked new possibilities in modular furniture.

Many modular furniture setups embrace tech-savvy guests by offering multiple charging outlets for devices, as well as various configurations of holders, holsters, and props for all of our gadgets. At large events, these portable charging hubs have become the new watering holes, with guests connecting and networking while taking a few minutes to (literally) recharge. Try placing furniture in a configuration that encourages interaction between guests as they charge, so that they can also network and meet other event attendees.

Technology has even changed the furniture itself. As modern business travelers are increasingly doing work outside of their rooms, ZenSpace smart pods are mobile tech–enabled meeting rooms that can be placed in hotel lobbies or other areas, opening up underutilized spaces and making them more usable.

The future for modular furniture is even more extreme. Designers are just beginning to unlock the power of textiles and furnishings that change in response to temperature, light, movement, and more. These technologies will allow even further personalization and customization, and will undoubtedly lead to interesting new event setups, layouts, and experiences. 

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4. Take advantage of flexibility for different types of events and spaces

While it is readily apparent that modular furniture is a win for event planners, it is also a powerful tool for HMC’s, owners, and operators. While hotels have a limited number of spaces to use for events, modular furniture unlocks the potential of those spaces for all different types of groups. With a modular setup, your hotel can accomodate a sports team’s awards ceremony, a family reunion lunch, a TED-talk style professional event, and a business cocktail hour without a giant budget or large amount of event staff.

Hotels increasingly need to accommodate everything from seminars to live performances, panel discussions and big parties. Everything used in these spaces—furniture, audiovisual equipment, walls, dividers—can be modular, customizable, and portable. This gives hotel operators and event planners versatility, flexibility and connectivity.

This flexibility extends beyond one hotel property as well. Modular furniture is a great option for brands that want a consistent feel between one property and another, but have different spatial needs at those properties. With a modular setup, your brand can adapt one line of furnishings to many different spaces, such as a small urban environment, a property with a larger event space, or even one with more outdoor options. This gives your staff control over their individual property, and may lead to creative uses and setups that you hadn’t even imagined.

5. Refurbishment without extra costs, delays, and down-time

The cost savings for owners and operators using modular furniture can be enormous. Instead of chasing transitory trends, operators are moving toward modular brands with easy-to-alter designs. This allows the property to fully update its look without the costs of a traditional renovation or refurbishment. Furniture has limited built-in hardwiring, allowing for easy and cost-effective future refurbishments, or minor immediate changes to stay relevant in a more subtle, turbulent and challenging market.

Modular furniture can also save hoteliers money in the long term. Some companies make chairs and tables with covers that can be removed when the pieces are disassembled, making it easier to clean and maintain the unit as a whole. Replacing a worn or stained cover is decidedly less expensive than replacing the whole chair and extends the unit’s lifetime. In fact, an owner can save about two-thirds of the cost by putting new covers on the furniture rather than throwing it away. This can often be done onsite, so that you don’t have the downtime associated with removing the furniture. 

With an almost limitless array of possibilities in setting up modular furniture, you can change the entire look of your public spaces without spending a cent. Hotel owners and operators would do well to embrace the modular furniture trend and use it to their advantage in booking future events.

Ready to see how modular furniture would work in your space? You can use Social Tables group sales and catering CRM software to analyze the groups that are currently using your event space. Then check out our event diagramming software to impress potential clients and help them visualize a future event in your space. 

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