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  • Alternate Resources

Don't Check the Box!

Updated: Oct 27, 2020

Will you pick the package?  This is an important question to consider in hotel design and purchasing now that owners have other options.  A look at why owners would continue to select a straight up brand standard package purchased through the flag reveals that a most basic human characteristic may be guiding the decision:  Fear of change.

If It Ain’t Broken Don’t Fix It

Many owners faced with a PIP default to checking the boxes and buying the package directly from the design and purchasing arm of the brand.  It works, right?  In all the basic ways, yes. However, it does NOT deliver the BEST standard package for your specific  property.

The intention of a standards package back in the day, was to insure that the quality of materials selected met hospitality guidelines.  This moved towards properties of the same brand looking alike...the “cookie cutter” approach still adhered to by many.  Recently, brands have demonstrated increased flexibility for owners to create their own stamp.  The ability to enhance your property and make it distinctive while meeting brand standards will give you a competitive edge in your community.

What sets Alternate Resources apart from the competition is providing BOTH interior design and purchasing services to the hospitality industry and contract markets.  This approach was born from the corporate world where responsibilities included establishing design and purchasing standards across 500 financial services branch locations, but proves even more valuable in the current hotel environment as flags consider how they can create a unique environment using valuable standards.  Picking the package will not deliver the value of standards maximized for your property in both design and purchasing. At a minimum, standards should be “tweaked” to make your property stand out.

What Doesn’t Work?

The typical situation every hotel owner/management company/general manager faces is:  I have a PIP, the brand has a “standard” approved scheme to meet the requirements of the PIP, why not just buy it?  Won’t it be cheaper and easier?  Given the additional flexibility the flag is allowing, the answer is NO.  A “package” offered by any flag does not achieve the optimal results without personalizing it for each property.  It is like buying an outfit (pants, shirts, socks, belt) without trying them on. It just might not look exactly right on you when you put the whole thing together.

Same (or less) Money and Better Outcome

The simple answer is, owners can spend the SAME amount of money and make it look BETTER by utilizing the services of a firm that has significant expertise in both design and purchasing.  The standard scheme is just that...standard.  It does not have eyes on your specific property and it has not customized the standards to better fit your specific space, or switched it up to make your property more unique.  An owner can have this customized scheme for the same, or potentially less, cost.   Our expertise in design makes us better purchasers and our expertise in purchasing makes us better designers.

An example:

We Want to be Your Voice

We had a new client meeting with a General Manager of a Hilton Garden Inn recently that was a crazy reminder to us that we have to work harder to get our message out and explain our niche.  The HGI recently completed the required Project Grow lobby with the standards package offered by Hilton and purchased through Hilton Supply.  The property owner took advantage of the national negotiated vendor costs, and met all the requirements of the Project Grow specifications.  Our meeting took place in his lobby and provided us with the opportunity to discuss what we would have done differently for the same money, or in this case, less.

The three banquettes that sat along the window wall of the restaurant met HGI standards completely. However, the way they were measured, they had to be pulled forward in front of the columns to fit properly, losing a lot of floor space and making the restaurant smaller.  As a result, the other free standing tables and chairs were bunched together tightly to accommodate the loss of space resulting in too much furniture in the space.  This necessitated pulling some of the expensive chairs out of the way so people could walk through to the buffet.

If we had been involved, we would worked with HGI to obtain necessary approvals to ensure that the banquettes were measured and fitted in the best manner suiting the space, ordered the appropriate amount of standard chairs and tables to work in the space (less).  The end result would have been a better design using the standards and less money spent to achieve it.  One of the most valuable services we offer is to be the voice of the owner.

Try Some Cust-ard (as in … Custom - Standard)

Over the years we have collaborated with flag decision makers to make the case on behalf of owners to achieve a better outcome for both the flag and owner.  Standards are extremely valuable, but like most things in life, can always be improved.  An open minded approach by all is the best way to achieve the best result. The value of custom mixed with standard results in a great “custard” approach.  Again, within the same costs. We encourage all owners to give change a try.


Tammy Miller brings 30+ years of significant experience in design and purchasing for the hospitality industries. As Founder and Principal of Alternate Resources,, founded in 1991, Tammy provides full-scale interior design and purchasing services for hotels, restaurants, senior living centers and many other contract/hospitality projects. Prior to forming Alternate Resources, Tammy spent 8 years in the corporate sector as Senior Vice President at Shearson/American Express, where she established national standards for office design and spearheaded the design of all branch offices for the company. While Tammy has received numerous accolades for her award-winning design projects, she feels her greatest achievement is being Mom to her three boys Josh, Alex and Jason. She is also a self-professed foodie and passionate about photography.

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