In This Issue:
  • "The Interior Designer and Purchaser: A Joint Team Working Together Towards the Success of a Project": by Sarah Ellen Churchill – Sr. Manager of Business Development
  • Featured Employee: Sam Hoss – Senior Project Manager, Dallas Office
  • Featured Project & Cover Photo: The Boca Raton – Boca Raton, FL

"The Interior Designer and Purchaser:
A Joint Team Working Together Towards
the Success of a Project

Sarah Ellen Churchill
Sr. Manager of Business Development

One of the most important fundamentals for success on any hospitality project is the working relationship between the Interior Design and Purchasing teams. This relationship is especially crucial in today’s environment, given the increase in demand our industry has seen so far in 2022, along with overall current global supply chain challenges our industry is facing coming out of COVID-19.

We have been anticipating a record level of demand in ’23-’24, however, projects have been ramping up quicker than we could have anticipated, with many projects requiring an immediate start. It is important for an Owner to plan and engage the Interior Design firm and the Purchasing firm simultaneously. By doing so, the Client will set the team up for success early in the process through open communication, shared expectations, and a proactive collaborative approach.

Some helpful tips to keep in mind when assembling and engaging the best project team for a successful project are as follows:

Project Planning Stage

  • To kick-off a project, the Client should schedule a kick-off meeting with the Interior Design and Purchasing teams as soon as possible. During this meeting, it is critical to discuss proposed vendors, so the Purchaser can offer input based on their purchasing power and knowledge, i.e., the financial security, quality control, and overall capabilities of any given vendor. This ensures that the Interior Design team does not get too far down the road in completing design work with a vendor that might ultimately have to be reselected.
  • Open communication is key to any successful relationship. Therefore, the Client should provide the Interior Designer with the same project budget, scope, and schedule that they provide to the Purchaser. By communicating this information correctly to the project team from the get-go, the Interior Designer and Purchaser will both have a clear understanding of the project parameters. The Interior Designer should strive to present FF&E selections that are within the Owner’s budget and schedule requirements from the beginning and help to identify any unique FF&E items that could negatively impact the project forecast.
  • It is imperative that the Interior Designer has obtained all necessary Client and Brand (if applicable) approvals before issuing the specification package to the Purchaser. If there is any pending information needed, it must be clearly identified and monitored closely to keep the project schedule on track. Once the specification package has been issued to the Purchaser, the Interior Designer must not continue to fine-tune the design, as this could lead to project delays, and pose a potential displacement of revenue for the Client
Project Implementation Stage
  • Before the specification package is issued by the Interior Designer to the Purchaser, ensure that it is concise and complete with the following information: a comprehensive specification numbering system that is easy for the Purchaser to follow (i.e., does the fabric item code correlate to the corresponding seating item); a room matrix complete with room types and keyed furniture plans; finish and fabric samples large enough to view the design intent and full pattern repeats; dimensions, and/or images and detailed drawings for all specified custom items.
  • The team should agree upfront that the Purchaser always include the Interior Designer in the submittal documentation process (shop drawings, finish samples, CFAs, etc.), as well as discussing and agreeing on any proposed alternates prior to sending to the Client for approval. The Purchaser should also give the Interior Designer enough time to review and approve all submittals and proposed alternates in detail. When possible, the project will benefit if the Interior Designer selects one vendor for multiple products within the same commodity. This will save time during the PO issuance and submittal process, as well as provide the Client lower product and shipping costs.
  • The Interior Designer and Purchaser need to be in sync and share the common goal of meeting all required project drop-dead dates. For instance, if there is a delay in the specification package issuance by the Interior Designer, it would then lead to a delay in the Purchaser bidding out to multiple vendors in order to issue a bid comparison to the project team for review. This, if combined with any untimely communication with the selected vendors during the submittal process, could create a potential “snowball effect” of project delivery delays that could have otherwise been avoided.

When put into practice, these tips can help to avoid many of the common pitfalls that arise during each stage of a project. At the project close-out stage, Benjamin West will always want to have a review between the Client, Interior Designer, and the rest of the project team to discuss any “lessons learned,” as we believe that even with the very best project team at the helm, there is always room for reflection and continuous improvement to carry over to the next project. 

Take care,

Featured Employee:
Sam Hoss
Senior Project Manager, Dallas Office

Sam joined Benjamin West in August of 2016 as a Project Coordinator. He is an MBA graduate from the University of Dallas. Prior to Benjamin West, Sam was a Project Manager at Atlantic Hotels Group. He was responsible for purchasing and overseeing installation of FF&E and OS&E for model rooms and public space areas for several hotel brands. In his current role as a Senior Project Manager, Sam demonstrates competence, the ability to multitask, and effective communication with the Vendors and Clients.

Sam's Recent Projects:
  • The Boca Raton – Boca Raton, FL
  • Fierce Whiskers Distillery – Austin, TX
  • Hawks Cay Resort – Duck Key, FL
  • Hilton Atlanta Airport – Hapeville, GA
  • Hotel Phillips, Curio Collection by Hilton – Kansas City, MO
  • Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach – Honolulu, HI
  • Omni Austin Hotel Downtown – Austin, TX
Sam's Favorites:
  • Favorite City.– Florence, Italy
  • Places I'd Love to Visit – Santorini, Greece
  • Caffeine Vice of Choice – Coffee
  • Favorite Color – Yellow
  • Favorite Cuisine – Mediterranean
  • Favorite TV Show – The Walking Dead
  • Hobbies – Soccer, Skiing, and Table Tennis
  • Favorite Sports Team – Manchester United F.C.

Featured Project:
The Boca Raton
Boca Raton, FL

The Boca Raton is a luxury resort and club in Boca Raton, Florida. Founded in 1926, the dreamy 200-acre resort comprises 1,047 hotel rooms across 5 distinct hotels. Its facilities include two 18-hole golf courses, a 50,000 sq. ft. spa, seven swimming pools, 30 tennis courts, a full-service 32-slip marina, 13 restaurants and bars, and 200,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. The property fronts both Lake Boca (part of the Intracoastal Waterway) and the Atlantic Ocean. 

Design Firm: Rockwell Group
Owner/Developer: MSD Partners L.P. and Northview Hotel Group

Project Management: Northview Hotel Group
FF&E and OS&E Purchasing: Benjamin West

King Guestroom | The Boca Raton | Boca Raton, FL
Guestroom Suite | The Boca Raton | Boca Raton, FL
Palm Court | The Boca Raton | Boca Raton, FL
Sadelle's | The Boca Raton | Boca Raton, FL
MB Supper Club Lounge | The Boca Raton | Boca Raton, FL
The Flamingo Grill | The Boca Raton | Boca Raton, FL
The Flamingo Grill | The Boca Raton | Boca Raton, FL
The Flamingo Grill | The Boca Raton | Boca Raton, FL
Harborside Pool Club | The Boca Raton | Boca Raton, FL
Press Releases and Announcements:
Hotels: What Should You Do When You Wind Up in a Run-Down Market
USA Today
Feature by Alan Benjamin, ISHC
Published July 8, 2022
Upcoming Events:
The Lodging Conference
September 19-22, 2022
JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa
Phoenix, AZ

2022 ULI Fall Meeting
October 24-27, 2022
Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center
Dallas, TX

November 13-14, 2022
Javits Convention Center
New York, NY
Employee Milestones:
Welcome to the Benjamin West Team:
Katie Sheridan  Project Director, Boulder Office
Carla Mazighi  Project Manager, Chicago Office
Ludo Harcar  Project Manager, Chicago Office
Lynn Clements  Project Manager, Dallas Office
Alicia Beason  Project Coordinator, Dallas Office
Cara Valentine  Project Coordinator, Boulder Office
Melissa Madison  Project Coordinator, Dallas Office
Andrea Peterson  Project Accountant, Boulder Office
Angela Murphy  Project Accountant, Boulder Office
Tania Gutierrez  Project Accountant, Boulder Office
Tywan Randall  Project Accountant, Boulder Office
Victoria Cockerham  Project Accountant, Boulder Office
Krupa Patel  Accounting Coordinator, Boulder Office
Stormi White  Accounting Coordinator, Boulder Office

Lauren Trujillo  Promoted to Project Director, Chicago Office
Contact Our Team:

Alan Benjamin, ISHC

Europe, Middle East, Africa
Daniel Englender
Managing Director

Boulder    |     Chicago    |    Dallas    |    London  
Benjamin West has earned an unparalleled reputation for cost effective, industry-leading results. Benjamin West has provided purchasing services in 40 countries and 6 territories, for both renovations and new builds. Benjamin West’s average daily purchasing spend is about $1.5 million per business day. With six offices worldwide, Benjamin West has over 100 dedicated employees who are passionate about creating the best, most innovative FF&E and OS&E solutions for our clients around the globe.
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