Boutique Design - July/August 2009 - (Page 34)

POINT OF VIEW James Lehouiller, President of DiLeonardo International, Inc. Shows Confidence in International Markets and the Human Need for Travel O ne of the key interview questions that we ask potential new hires is: “Do you like to travel?” The answer we are looking for is to have an understanding of a potential staff member’s willingness to explore, learn and expand their understanding of various cultures and regions through travel. Over the last year, the passion for travel has been a critical characteristic of our design staff as more than 90 percent of our work has been international. Sharq Village, Doha, Qatar — Royal Suite Roof Top Terrace We have been fortunate to keep our staffing levels stable as we have leveraged our offices in the USA, Hong Kong, Manila, Shanghai and Dubai to diversify our geographic project and client base. Most recently, we have redoubled our efforts to strengthen our current client relationships during these tough times to develop solutions as partners with our clients in keeping projects on track. Through our dialogue and travels, we are cautiously optimistic for 2009 as we are having a 34 • boutique DESIGN july/august 2009 great year considering the turmoil in our industry. The opportunity for a firm like ours is overseas. We are projecting 98 percent international work in 2009 compared to 50 percent international work in 2007. The United States has proven to be a market in complete stagnation. Obviously a recession always puts downward pressure on the hospitality industry, but the US market downturn is exaggerated with very limited capital from banks for our clients to purchase, renovate or St Regis Hotel, Sanya, China — Lobby develop. We are also seeing a corporate travel backlash as many companies are concerned about attending conventions, meetings, or other events that continue to apply downward pressure for the hospitality industry. The few bright spots for our industry are in the emerging markets of the Middle East, China, India and North Africa. Even ing a world-class city and we though the economies of China estimate that projects will initiand India are expected to post ate progress in the first quarter slower growth, the International of 2010. The strong markets in Monetary Fund has projected the Middle East are Saudi growth of 6.7 percent and 5.1 Arabia, Qatar and Abu Dhabi. percent respectively for 2009. The governments in each of Both countries have great these markets is focused on potential as the demand is ever- developing their economies and increasing for new hotels and they have the necessary funding resorts driven by domestic and from the higher oil prices of the last few years to push forward international guests. It is not all positive, as we with development. The great news is that there have seen several projects placed on hold, but the projects that are still many great projects to are financially viable are pro- be had — the difficult part is ceeding. We have signed several securing the work. We have been large projects in 2009 and we successful by getting into these fully expect to see continued markets early and building relagrowth for the remainder of this tionships with our clients and project team members. The selecyear and beyond. The Middle East market tion process is less transactional potential runs the gamut. On and more built upon building a the bottom end of the scale, the strong network and trust. Each Dubai bubble has popped and international project brings on many projects have stopped complexities and difficulties, but and/or are being reassessed. We the opportunity to create great are confident in Dubai’s govern- design and travel the world BD ment commitment to develop- makes it all worthwhile.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Boutique Design - July/August 2009

Boutique Design - July/August 2009
Boutique Buzz
Photos from YLH Las Vegas
Snaps from the Boutique 18 Bash
Hotel Designers, Owners and Operators Speak to International Design and Development Trends
Banyan Tree Mayakoba Fuses Cultures without Missing a Beat
Celeste Cooper Creates a New ‘Comfort’ Inn, The Inn @ St. Botolph
Business Sense
GKV Architects Design the Ultimate Bathing Experience, an In-room Spa in Istanbul
ICRAVE Takes its Experiental Design Style Global
Point of View
Wanda Jankowski Interviews WATG’s Meagan Jacobi
The Best of ICFF
The Goods
Calendar/Advertisers Index

Boutique Design - July/August 2009