Drawing inspiration from millennial fashion, several hoteliers have developed new uniform styles that make young employees feel more comfortable—and match the changing vibe of the property, and in some cases, the surrounding neighborhood.
Ever since Hotel Indigo Lower East Side New York opened in December, its door attendants have worn orange military coats and its female front-desk associates have been dressed in block orange and gray dresses.
Although the Hotel Indigo brand usually features a more traditional uniform style, its executives felt that because art and graffiti are such integral parts of the property’s design—and because the hotel is located in an artsy, graffiti-covered neighborhood—it was fitting to create uniforms that blend in with the environment.
JW Marriott Grand Rapids in Michigan switched from dark suits and ties to suits with colored pocket squares to give employees a more fashionable and approachable appearance. Not all staff all wearing these uniforms, but managers’ suite styles were modernized and front-desk associated are now allowed to wear statement necklaces.
Before Hilton West Palm Beach opened, some of its executives traveled to Manhattan to check out the fashion style of bartenders at chic bars. As a result of their observations, the hotel’s bartenders are dressed in leather vests; baristas don flat caps and valets wear black shell-top shoes.
The executives wanted to provide uniform styles that suit the hotel’s young staff and abundant millennial guest market, but they also have given employees several uniform options to allow them to express their personal styles. These include choice of colors in shirts and ties.
Properties report that allowing more flexibility in dress and incorporating more millennial fashion have been a win-win for them.
“I think [the uniforms] are a benefit for our guests because the customers come in, they see it and it feels fresh; it feels good,” said John Parkinson, general manager of Hilton West Palm Beach, in an interview with online site Hotel News Now. “The team members are comfortable in what they wear.
“When I was in college playing sports, we always said, ‘You look good; you play good; you feel good.’”