“I’m not meant to be a house cat,” — that’s something a regional flooring sales rep said last summer in the midst of the pandemic, and I wholeheartedly agree. Whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert, I think after more than a year, most of us are at our wits end with the work-from-home situation. I miss connecting in person with our flooring friends and colleagues.

Thankfully, things are shifting. We’re starting to travel again: the Dallas regional market, the spring National Floorcovering Alliance meeting in April, Surfaces in June and Coverings and NWFA Expo in July.

“We’ll get past the epicenter of [the health crisis] this spring and summer, and we are going to need to help jump-start travel and jump-start the economy,” Hilton President and CEO Chris Nassetta told Hotel News Now.

The hospitality sector was the hardest hit by the pandemic, and there is still a long way to go before a complete recovery. Yet as more people are vaccinated and group activity slowly resumes, flooring professionals are cautiously optimistic, and are looking forward to showcasing the designs we’ll see in our leisure spaces in the coming months.

In this issue, we look at the future of hospitality floors. “People have decorated their homes, and now the next step is going to be decorating their extended homes, the hotel spaces and wherever we travel,” said Arnavaz Barshan, director of design for Durkan Hospitality.

And as we transition from a world inside four walls to venturing outside again, we also note that post-pandemic life will look for comfort in interiors. Our feature on soft-surface innovation covers the latest technologies and designs taking shape in carpets in both the residential and commercial sectors. What’s refreshing is that product manufacturers took this pandemic time to invest heavily to rejuvenate a slowing category. Research is showing that maybe carpets are healthier for our home environments than originally told—hear more about that research and other strategies for innovation on our podcasts.

Do you have a topic we should cover? Drop me a line at kernt@bnpmedia.com.