Matthew McClelland will be on the InspireDesign panel at Hospitality at Market.
Ask Matthew McClelland, EVP of operations at Concord Hospitality, about the upcoming Hospitality at Market and you can’t help but share his enthusiasm.
“I am going in with my eyes wide open and I’m looking forward to it,” said McClelland. “I always love the interaction and learning. As simple as that may sound, learning can be about trends and styles to design, or people that you meet.”
Thinking about the sheer enormity of the showroom spaces on display in High Point, NC, and what’s to come, McClelland is at once intrigued and ready to absorb all that there is to offer next month at the show.
“The design trends… It’s cool to wrap your brain around what they are going to be in the next couple years. I’m always looking for something that’s fun and makes people go ‘wow’—all kinds of opportunities,” he said.
Right now, McClelland is fully immersed in all that’s cool, including next-gen technology such as augmented reality (AR) to enhance the customer experience.
“We’re doing some cool AR photos on the wall; they start moving, can cycle through and we can change it around, too,” he said. “It’s an experiential journey we’re doing at Autograph Collection Hotels. What’s so great about AR is that it’s very fun and I look forward to learning more about how that’s being done in consumer shopping experiences. It’s really everywhere.”
As a panelist on the InspireDesign panel, McClelland will share how incorporating a sense of place can make a design meaningful and memorable for guests. He’ll tell you, himself, that he can go on and on about the process. It’s his passion.
“It’s a little bit about tapping into this DNA of each individual city. That is how we create experiences. We look at how we tie in the design phase now compared to five years ago and how we work with branding agencies to design a story that ties into hotels we’re building today. It’s important. It used to be that we created a story after it’s built, but now we work though a story.”
Concord Hospitality has numerous projects in the pipeline, including the Autograph Collection’s first property in Pittsburgh, called The Oaklander Hotel; The Ben Hotel in West Palm Beach, FL; The Beaufort Hotel, an Ascend Hotel Collection, in Beaufort, NC; The Walter in Raleigh, NC; and yet to be named projects in Calgary, Alberta, and New York’s Hudson Yards district—both slated for 2020.
“It’s not about bricks and sticks. You have the flexibility and creativity to create a more physical being. It’s just fun and you become really close to the personality of the hotel,” said McClelland. “I have everything spec’d up and create the experience. I have slept on it, made changes and then more changes. I have pounds of different kinds of soap that I have everybody try and I ask if it fits the property. We’re doing personalized scent programs, so we can play the right kind of scent music. It’s so personal that you care about it. It’s the little things that make people go ‘wow.’ The presentation is powerful. It all matters to the experience.”
Always learning and ready for new experiences, McClelland shared his own wish list of what he’d like to see and do at Hospitality at Market:
Technology: “I’m impressed by technology and how it can influence things, how it influences design and how the design of any product is being influenced.
Sustainability: “I ask myself if we are being responsible and how we’re designing products. It’s what I love learning the most about.”
Discovery: “I love when you see something interesting on a wall. I’m saying to myself, ‘Can I touch that? Is that wood, laminate or molded plastic? What is that? I love that and it’s fascinating.”