Companies such as Dream Hotel Group, Hilton and InterContinental Hotels Group are updating on-property uniforms to give team members flexible wardrobes that allow them to incorporate their individual personalities.
REPORT FROM THE U.S.—Gone are the days of seeing every hotel employee in the same uniform.
Now, hotel companies are aiming to give employees wardrobes that are comfortable and durable for their specific role while still allowing team members to showcase their personalities while on the job.
Crowne Plaza recognized the trend of work becoming “more informal, flexible and connected more than ever,” and decided to update uniforms to reflect that, said Angela Esposito, director of brand design at InterContinental Hotels Group. Crowne Plaza caters to business travelers whose work and lives often blend, and she said it was important to give team members uniforms that mimic this idea and make these types of guests feel comfortable.
“Our uniforms (were made) to communicate this tone (of flexibility, casualness and connection) … that was the intention with Crowne Plaza’s program was to really make our uniforms more fun, more approachable, comfortable and really help guests see us as trusted allies in that we’re really mirroring what’s going on in their lives,” she said.
Front-of-house associates have uniforms that are more fashion-forward while employees in back-of-house roles have comfortable options based on performance fabrics as they are “the athletes in the hotel,” she said.
Stacy Paschal, valet at the Crowne Plaza Atlanta Airport, wearing the latest from the brand’s updated uniforms collection. (Photo: InterContinental Hotels Group)
Dream Hotel Group
Uniforms across Dream Hotel Group’s brands are “very curated and specialized to match the vibe and feeling of the outlet,” said Cory Brian Ingram, SVP of creative at Dream Hotel Group. Uniforms usually start with a dark jean as the base and then there is a variation for tops and different accessories across different brands, he said.
Ingram said properties under the Dream and Unscripted flags “stray away from the traditional hotel uniform” and try to stay relevant and up-to-date on fashion trends. Team members at these brands are given different options for footwear and can choose something that fits their style, he said.
The Unscripted Durham in Durham, North Carolina, is now in the process of updating some uniforms to match a new concept that is being developed at the hotel, Ingram said. The uniform updates are for team members in food-and-beverage roles, he said.
Ingram added that Dream works closely with operators to come up with uniforms that work for team members.
“We work hard and close with operators to make sure the aprons and the pockets of the aprons aren’t too deep and that the right amount of pockets are what they are looking for,” he said. “From a material standpoint, (we make sure) it is durable and that it is going to hold up in the wash and that it is forgiving and (made from) fabrics that are cleaned easily.”
Jonathan Pettus (back left), director, customer experience & innovation; Tori Roberson (back right), senior manager, customer experience & innovation; and Dustin Riggs, senior manager, hotel leader support, in Tru by Hilton uniforms. (Photo: Hilton)
Hilton is updating uniforms across all of its brands except for newer brands that are in the infancy stages, said Rachel Russell, SVP of operations at Hilton.
Hilton decided to re-evaluate some of its uniform options after hearing feedback from associates. Russell said employees are caring more and more about how they look and what they wear to work.
She said there is “a massive effort going on with our team members in highly physical roles,” and Hilton has partnered with a clothing company to give employees in these roles uniforms that are more durable, have breathable technology, are odor resistant and “have pockets where (associates) want them.”
A different approach was taken for uniforms that front-of-house staff wear, she said. Hilton has found ways to incorporate mix-and-match options with blazers, skirts or pants so associates can express their individual styles, Russell said.
For corporate roles, employees have the flexibility to “dress for what is appropriate for the day,” she said. Associates can decide what they want to wear based on whether they are working in guest-facing roles, working big events or completing tasks in the back office that day.