Delegates sit on them (and lean back on them), hotel staff quickly stack/store/unstack them and set them out in countless theatre and banqueting formats, while hotel owners milk them for all their worth to maximise return on investment and protect the balance sheet.
The dedicated conference and banqueting chair can cost anything from A$50 to A$300. Typically the budget expectation is in line with a venue’s quality and aspirations. Hotels in the 3.5 to 5 star Oceania market generally spend over A$120 per chair. The choice of structural material used, be it plastic, mild steel, aluminium or even stainless steel, can often make a dramatic impact on the purchase price. Depending on the design and the quality of manufacture, and even the environment, that material choice can also impact the lifespan of the chair.
A chair’s balance sheet lifespan is determined by the property’s asset replacement plan, which tends to run in seven-year cycles on average. Most chairs are replaced between six and 12 years’ service. So if the wrong decisions are made at the purchase stage, the venue either has to live with that decision, or it is often necessary to reinvest prematurely outside of the planned cycle, either at the expense of operational budgets or through unscheduled capital expense and a headache for General Managers…
Customer-orientated properties in strong competitive sets who are focussed on winning return business are more likely to upgrade strictly within their asset plan timetables, whereas others marketing to one-off customers may work their chairs for up to 15 years. The same applies to up-front capital expenditure; those brands and properties who are focused on staging market-leading meet