If you’re in the hotel industry, chances are that you know or at least know ‘of’ Michael Sagild, now CEO of Blink. I have been alive for a relatively short time compared to others in the industry and in my short time here, I am very aware of who Michael Sagild is, and his legacy. Today, Hotelintel.co is privileged to be sitting on the other side of table of Sagild. Enjoy as he talks about design and what it takes to be one of his clients.
“Working in hotels, you are introduced to design. You walk into a space and you will know whether there is something right or wrong about it. That feeling of ‘bad design’ might actually come down to just bad lighting. In restaurants, you can’t use too much blue or yellow. It doesn’t make food look good.”
“Also, it’s just personal interest. I’m interested in design and was always attracted to good design. I’m a fan of design that from a commercial standpoint, ‘works’. The reasons for some F&B outlets and restaurants ‘working’, is because they have pulled off a successful ‘commercial design’.”
A few years ago I had afternoon tea with Michael – even a simple cup of tea can be a learning experience with him. When it came time to call for the bill, I grew frustrated as my waving didn’t catch the attention of the staff. I ended up having to walk over and physically present myself to the staff to get their attention. I thought it was bad service, but Michael pointed out a set of shelves that stood between the guests and staff service station. Good design, but bad positioning led to what a guest perceives as ‘bad service’. Design affects service.
“This is where me being here adds value; the clients know I’m not an architect. I’m not a designer. I add a solution to hotel issues and problems”
With 30 years of experience in the industry, Michael knows what works and what doesn’t, and now as the CEO of Blink, he is passing on his knowledge to his team.
“I’m taking my team on hotel tours – showing them how hotels work, and really get them to question designs and to find answers to them for the owners or operators”
Michael sees his firm as a concierge service knowing what clients want, and taking the time to listen and understand them. The designers know what it takes to build a successful hotel, and also know what should be taken into consideration to avoid future issues.
“It’s about understanding where their trigger points are. Is it a commercially driven decision? Is it because you have a beautiful piece of land and you want your hotel to enhance that site? Do you want your hotel to not have a negative impact on environment? Is sustainability a big thing for you?”
Michael has experience looking through the lens of both operator and owner. He understands operators from their brand standpoint and at the same time, can sympathize with the owner’s need for ROI.
*“I often get into a situation with independent owners who might say something like ‘Oh, I want a 200-seat Chinese restaurant’, or I want ‘this’ or I want ‘that’. *
I usually ask them do you know where the market for the restaurant will be coming from? What’s happening on Friday nights? Is it a weekend market only? What’s your day-of-week pattern? How do you see this is working for you?
Our success is possibly because operators feel that Blink speaks the same language as them.”
“I’m very keen to introduce a sustainability angle to projects which brings both commercial benefit and also a positive impact on the people of the land that the property will occupy. We can do things now that have a massive positive impact on operating cost of a property. We can build systems that reduce development costs by 18-20%, and we can control the utility costs much better.
If you have a piece of land that sits quite far from the grid, it will mean running power cables. How do you get access to water? How do you get rid of garbage? You need to allow that site to be studied from a topographical standpoint – from wind, solar and several other factors, and then create a sufficiency economy around it.
Michael is passionate about sustainability, and if you want to learn more about it, you will find him sitting at his ‘Blink’ office. Michael aims to add 10-20 more projects each year with projections of increasing revenue to 50 Million Dollars.
“We will strengthen our office in China. We think there is much more work for us in China because of the type of firm we are, and the quality of our designers. Also the Middle East and India. We are hoping to do some more resort work in Mauritius and the Seychelles. For urban space, we are looking at North Asia. Tokyo and Okinawa, Seoul and Hong Kong.”
If you have opportunities in those areas, give Blink a call.