In the Marketplace: Q&A Hospitality Services’ Emille Aboona

Two guys, two laptops and a coffee shop marked the humble beginnings of Q&A Hospitality, a hotel construction and design company headquartered in Elk Grove Village, Ill.

Both Emille Aboona and his partner, Ken Qualtier, were seasoned veterans with extensive hospitality backgrounds, having worked in operations, purchasing, project management, sales and interior design; together the two had accumulated almost 80 years of industry experience. In 2014, they decided to go into business for themselves.

Just a decade later, the 10-employee company is now a major player in the hospitality design and construction field, but that is not the full picture.

“We offer turnkey services for furniture, fixtures and equipment design, procurement, installation, and project management all around,” said Aboona. “We work on all types of projects: new construction, renovation, conversions, and, in the last couple of years, we’ve dabbled in casino hotels, which was a fantastic experience.”

Emille Aboona
Emille Aboona (Q&A Hospitality Services)

The company serves as a one-stop-shop for clients, from beginning to end, planning to implementation. The company’s partnerships with general contractors and architects is part of the winning formula. “We are very hands-on: from inception to completion, design procurement, installation and general contracting to the architectural components. It can all evolve under one umbrella, and that is the winning formula. We pride ourselves on that; it’s a selling point and it works,” said Aboona.

Aboona believes that his and his partner’s background in the industry provides a strong foundation for a solid client relationship. “We understand their wants and needs and speak their language. We’re confident in what we are conveying to them and want to bring that level of confidence of trust first and foremost to them,” said Aboona, adding that they are always reachable and are involved in all aspects of the project. “We have a ‘roll-up-your-sleeves-and-dig-deep’ approach.”

It didn’t take long for the company’s reputation and its way of doing business to make an impact—the company’s designs have gained approval status with a variety of hotels. Their client roster includes big name hospitality brands such Best Western, Wyndham, Hampton Inn, Sheraton, Cambria and Quality Inn, as well as smaller independent hotels, like the Mount Vernon Grand Hotel in Ohio.

Q&A Hospitality was one of 25 companies selected by LaQuinta to develop a prototype for an interior design schematic. Called Dwelle, the scheme is one of only four approved designs by LaQuinta, used for guest rooms and public areas. “It has a modern, mid-century feel; they were looking to replace one of the previous schemes that was kind of dated. It has been received very well so far. We have about five agreements in place, including 15-18 proposals that will turn into agreements as well,” said Aboona.

The company was also chosen to be one of the approved design procurement firms for Spark, a new economy brand under the Hilton portfolio, and signed 50 design agreements over a six-month period. Q&A recently worked on an interior design and conversion project at the Spark by Hilton Midland South in Texas, including lobbies and guestrooms.

Looking ahead, the company has many projects in the pipeline with several major hotel brands that will keep them busy over the next three to five years. One major goal is to increase Q&A’s infrastructure and add more designers and project coordinators. “We’ve expanded our offices, and we also have a space that we rented for a model (hotel) room,” he said.

“Overall, we’re very bullish about what is to come. We have many opportunities with brands across the board. We’re always there in the trenches and do our best to meet the deadlines, deliver the best product, and have a successful project overall, whether that is new construction, renovation or conversion.”

Logic in Logistics

Regarding design trends, hotels are leaning toward a simple, timeless concept, one that won’t need to be replaced in a few years. “That has been the theme for a couple of years; this extended-stay concept is really strong now, that home-away-from-home feel,” said Aboona.

Clicking with Clients

A key component of services offered by Q&A Hospitality is making site visits to every project, which Aboona says resonates with the client. “When you’re there, you establish a rapport, a relationship.” Working alongside the client and being present builds trust, conveying the message to the client that they are hands -on and are there to help them meet their deadlines. The company also communicates with clients every step of the way so that the client knows where the project stands. “That is an operating procedure, not a one-off or an exception; that is the rule here,” said Aboona.

Services Offered

Turnkey new build and renovation design, construction, purchasing and full-service installation services.