Having worked for some of the industry’s best development firms over a quarter-century, Katherine Cortese and Mark Krejcarek had seen and heard just about every client request imaginable. Except for one: the client who asked them when they were going to start their own company. It was an innocuous question that led to some soul searching and more than a few late-night conversations on the part of the duo. For, if they ever did start a company, what would make it stand out? Over and over, they came back to one thing: better service from a better assembled team, a group built on industry-respected talent that was easy to work with and could scale appropriately to whatever the needs of the project demanded. In short, a guild.
Launched just over a year ago, Hospitality Design Guild, or “HDG”, is the incarnation of those meetings and their vision for a new model of collaboration in development. With an ever-expanding list of new clients, HDG is one of the fastest growing new companies in the commercial design space and takes pride in their mission of bringing true hospitality back into hospitality design. Or, as Krejcarek puts it:
“We put hospitality at the heart of our name because that’s the behavior that ultimately drives everything we do as company,” he said. “To put that in context, we often take calls from other projects we’re not even working on where someone needs some troubleshooting because to us, being hospitable is both goodwill and good design in action.”
Here’s a taste of what inspires HDG:
The guild presents an innovative approach to human-centered design, by empowering each member to exhibit their strong “Hospitality Quotient” (or “HQ”) and deliver the best customer service possible—a true white-glove treatment for each and every project and client. So far, their new model has been well received.
As Cortese noted: “We’ve had a few recent engagements with past clients who commented on how much they enjoyed getting to work directly with us without any layers. Like we were an extension of their team. That felt pretty great to hear as it validates what we’re trying to do. Hospitality genuinely is a team sport.”