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Thinking About Attending Hospitality at Market? Just Say ‘Yes’

Editor’s Note: We’re excited to present Marriott International’s David Kepron as the keynote speaker for the third annual Hospitality at Market program during Fall Market, October 13-17.

“Life puts omens in your way and your responsibility is to say yes and follow them,” said David Kepron, VP of design, global design strategies, distinctive premium brands, Marriott International Inc.

With sheer enthusiasm, Kepron is paraphrasing a line from The Alchemist, a book by Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho. It’s an inspirational tale about a shepherd boy who travels in search of treasure and instead discovers his destiny. You might say Kepron was in search of something, too.

After 20 years in retail design—he’s also a speaker and author of the book Retail (r)Evolution: Why Creating Right-Brain Stores Will Shape the Future of Shopping in a Digitally Driven World—Kepron left the retail industry to work on hospitality projects for Marriott International.

“We started doing a lot of work with Baskervill, one of the consultants to Marriott, and that led me to a connection with Gary Inman [VP of hospitality at Baskervill], who offered me an opportunity to see what Hospitality at Market was about,” he said.

Kepron had no idea what was in store when he, in the spirit of following his omens, rented a Chevy Suburban and headed down to High Point, NC. “I was working on a new Westin design, and I thought, ‘If this thing is all what it’s purported to be, I’ll go down and go shopping for Westin,’” he said.

“At every turn, there’s something new to consider or another element that is a potential opportunity to innovate, create and be inspired.”

Upon arrival, Kepron was at once “completely overwhelmed and amazed,” he said. “I was slightly dazed at the amount of what there is to see there. I was like a kid in a candy store. That was my introduction to High Point Market and building relationships with vendors who provided materials to Marriott and our vendor Baskervill.”

In a conversation with InspireDesign, Kepron shares the reasons why he attends Hospitality at Market—and why you should, too.

Source of Inspiration

It’s inspirational to look and see because there’s no substitute for experiencing things in person. The depth of what you’re able to see is an amazing associative trigger. At Hospitality at Market, there’s innovation and inspiration.

A New Lens

You walk through the showrooms and think about FF&E packages in your room, you think about public spaces. You might look at those things and say, “Gosh, I never thought of that seating arrangement for a room I’m designing or groupings in public spaces.”

There’s Potential Everywhere

Give yourself the benefit of time; take the time to be immersed in what goes on there. Stay longer and enjoy it; take in all of what there is to offer. By doing that, you’re exposing yourself to so many potential opportunities for unlocking the creative juice or a solution to a problem you may have been working on. At every turn, there’s something new to consider or another element that is a potential opportunity to innovate, create and be inspired.

—Corris Little


…and more!