Travel rebound is fantastic news for hospitality furniture sector

Thanks to a strong rebound in travel – notably leisure travel – the hospitality sector is finally emerging from its Covid-induced slumber. Despite significantly higher fares, airplanes are crowded again, hotel occupancy rates are on the rise, and some markets are reporting that rental cars are in short supply.

While that might not necessarily be good news for residential furniture vendors competing for those same discretionary dollars, it’s great news for suppliers of the often-overlooked segment of hospitality furniture.

The lodging industry, which includes everything from hotels to Airbnb’s to condo rentals to beach houses, is gobbling up new furniture at a rapid pace, while other parts of the hospitality sector such as senior living facilities are starting to freshen up their furnishings as well.

“It’s a more important part of the furniture business than most people realize,” said Luis Ruesga, CEO of Zuo. “We’ve had strong relationships with many key players in the hospitality segment for a long time, and it has helped drive our growth.”

Ruesga and many other observers said attendance was strong at the latest HD Expo, which took place in late April in Las Vegas. While international attendance was still hampered by travel restrictions – especially from Asia – we’re told that buyers, sellers and designers from North and South America more than made up for that shortfall.

“The enthusiasm was great, and the show seemed to have a lot of energy,” said Ruesga.

Interestingly, a new Zuo product that commended considerable attention at the Expo also was a star at the April High Point Market. We’re talking about a pool table that can be converted into a ping pong table and a dining table.

At the HD Expo, the 3-in-1 item drew a lot of interest from Airbnb operators and owners of condominium complexes who plan to place them in common areas such as club houses. In addition, Ruesga said senior living communities also expressed considerable interest.

That’s not to mention the bar stools, dining chairs and other seating pieces that have been staples of Zuo’s hospitality business for years. Ruesga reported that those items also did well, and customers were pleased to learn that many were in stock for quick shipment.