Conquering the Challenges of Custom Backdrops in Boutique Hotel Spaces

May 15, 2021


At the birth of the boutique hotel boom around 2008, many in the industry wrote them off, saying they were nothing more than a passing fad and would never compete with their much bigger peers.

Fast forward 10 years and the boutique hotel industry is as strong as ever with new brands launching every year. Now with the industry recovering from the global pandemic boutique meetings will be a force to be reckoned with in 2022.

Like their spacious counterparts, boutique hotels are also now competing in the special event space to host corporate meetings, company retreats, and other special events. And while boutique hotels will never wrestle away large tradeshows and conventions from some of the biggest hotels, they are making their way into the smaller event venue market.

As a leading designer, fabricator and installer of custom event backdrops, Expressive Structures is now providing modular scenic rentals at many boutique hotel events each year.

What we’ve learned with a few years of experience under our belts is that boutique hotel events present their own unique set of challenges and circumstances. As you probably can imagine, most of these issues revolve around space.

Smaller Event Rooms

Boutique hotels offer an intimate experience for the attendees and this means smaller meeting rooms and event spaces. So, instead of seemingly endless wall space and unlimited ceiling height to accommodate our custom backdrops and scenic elements, we’re now working in rooms with ceiling heights of 9 to 11 feet.

Because all of our backdrops and modular scenic elements can be custom configured for the specific space they’re used in, they can easily be adjusted to these challenging spaces. Working in these boutique event venues has become second nature for our team of design professionals.

The photos below show just a few of our backdrops in spaces with low ceilings and unique rooms.

Click all photos for full-size images.

Smaller Elevators

Of course, smaller hotels also mean smaller elevators. Bigger hotels normally offer freight elevators that have plenty of room for all our equipment and custom backdrop pieces. However, boutique hotel elevators are normally not much bigger than the normal guest elevators, which again present setup and haul-away challenges.

In cases like these our set-up team will bring the scenic packed in rolling trunks designed to fit through standard size doorways. The modular style of most of our designs allows for quick and easy setup and assembly, making smaller elevators a challenge that’s easy for us to overcome.

Many of the country’s most exclusive boutique hotels have notoriously small elevators, and the photos below reflect two recent events where we were able to seamlessly transport and assemble our custom backdrops.

Event Code Enforcement

One aspect of what we do that many people never consider is working with our clients and the hotel staff to navigate local rules and regulations regarding blocked doors and exits. Smaller spaces in boutique hotels can often make it difficult to place backdrops and scenic pieces without closing off means of exiting the room in case of emergency.

Fire codes in both high-end boutique brands and less traditional spaces can be very strict. We work within these rules and help the client achieve a design that meets those safety needs.

At Expressive Structures, we also work closely with the hotel staff to discover what is required before we set up any room.

Pictured in the photo below is one of our backdrops in a space in which the exit doors could not be blocked. By incorporating floor to ceiling doors into the scenic design emergency egress was easily maintained — another design challenge conquered!

About Expressive Structures

If you’re planning an event at a boutique hotel, don’t assume that a backdrop or other scenic elements are out of the question. At Expressive Structures we have years of experience working in small venues and our team can make it work in just about any space. Contact us today to discuss your next boutique hotel special event.

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