Barry Gallace, national sales director at EZ Stacker, is set to attend Hotec Operations, an annual conference presented by Questex, the parent company of Hotel Management. At the conference—scheduled this year for June 12-15 at the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz.—buyers meet one-on-one with hospitality-focused suppliers to learn about new products and services and to keep up to date on emerging trends. Ahead of the event, Stacker shared his insights on how hotels are using luggage carts and how the company is adapting to new needs.
1. How has your segment of the industry changed over the past year?
We continue to see a move toward guest use of luggage carts, which has had a direct effect on the needs of property owners. The evolution of cart operators from professional bell staff to hotel guests calls for a new approach to not only cart design and functionality but safety and the protection of the property itself—preventing damage to walls, doors, elevators etc.
2. Can you share some ways you and your company have adapted to these changes?
While EZ Stacker is manufactured by a 60-year-old company, is a relatively young brand. We started with two models and over the past year, drawing upon feedback from our partners and property owners, we’ve not only expanded the line to include three models, but we’ve also recognized opportunities for innovation where storage and the ability to keep items secure in transit are concerned.
3. What are some trends you think will have staying power beyond 2023?
It’s no doubt that the shift to guest use of luggage carts is here to stay and the reduction we’re seeing in labor capacity only reinforces the move to a self-service model at properties where appropriate. Additionally, something we’ve heard mentioned countless times throughout the year (and not a positive trend, unfortunately) are the concerns regarding cart theft and security. One simple step toward minimizing cart theft is the simple presence of the property’s brand on your luggage cart, rendering it useless to most other hotels. Our customizable deck achieves this simple deterrent with the bold placement of a property's design or logo.
4. What is the biggest challenge you have overcome over the past year?
Freight and shipping costs are constant challenges for everyone. In many cases, many people don’t realize what they are paying as it’s not always transparent. What we have seen is that freight, in addition to inflation, is driving up the cost for everyone. We’ve managed to stay competitive with our bi-coastal and central production facilities (California, Texas and Virginia) complemented by a system of regional logistics facilities.
5. How have you incorporated environmental, social and governance efforts into your hospitality operations?
We have unique programs made possible through our parent company that ranges from cart buyback to remanufacturing that can extend the life of luggage carts up to two times, increasing salvage rates by over 97 percent.
6. What are you most excited about accomplishing over the next year?
Further expansion of our product line is planned for the year ahead. In addition to our latest introduction of the Metro, we expect to enter new verticals with the EZ brand.
7. What is the value of meeting hospitality buyers one on one?
I'm a firm believer that nothing replaces one on one personal relationships and after years of virtual meetings, I think a lot of people agree and welcome the opportunity to establish meaningful connections face-to-face.