Hotel refurbishments are not easy, but they are essential to keep pace with the constantly changing décor trends, star-rating updates, technology advancements and chain-mandated requirements.
Having supported various large-scale projects in the leisure and tourism sector, we have discovered hoteliers can keep up with changing industry trends by following some basic principles. Here are our handy tips to get the most out of your renovation project and how to keep it hassle-free.
1. Consider your brand strategy!
Your hotel should reflect your company brand and values. So, before you even start your refurbishment project, make sure you won’t be undergoing a rebrand anytime soon. If this is on the cards, do this first.
2. Speak to the team
It’s important that you don’t just go with what you think is right. Speak to the people that will be interacting with the new facilities on a day-to-day basis. Gather intelligence on the things that your employees would like to see improved upon and get an understanding of what areas are sore spots.
3. Gather customer feedback
You need to make sure the proposed refurbishment works will also be right for your guests. Not only do your new facilities need to retain your existing customer base but they also need to attract new business. Check your reviews and run a short survey to see if there is anything customers really want or expect.
4. Define your project objectives
Once you have gathered feedback from your employees and customers, you can then set your project objectives. Ask yourself – what do you want to achieve? Why are you refurbishing your hotel? What areas need the most attention?
5. Set your budget
Once your project objectives have been agreed, you will then need set your budget. If you are not sure how much your project will cost, speak to an experienced contractor who will be able to give you an estimate based on your objectives. They will also be able to give you an idea of how long the works will take to complete and if this needs to be done in phases.
6. Find a design and build team
Now you have a budget set, reach out to a design and build team. Speak to Architects, interior designers, building consultants, project manager, contractors, sustainability consultants, M&E consultants and FFE suppliers. Either select your team yourself or speak to one of the above who can then make suggestions of companies they know or have worked with before.
7. Complete a site survey
Once you have identified the companies you want to work with, you can start gathering quotes. Before you ask your chosen companies for a price, make sure a proper site survey has been completed. Your contractor can do this for you, if necessary.
8. Consider sustainable options
There is an opportunity with refurbishment projects to reduce your carbon footprint. Not only will this save you more money in the long run but will also reduce environment degradation. Engage with a sustainability consultant early in the planning stages of your project, as they will be able to help identify suitable, environmentally friendly materials and green technologies.
9. Engage with a hotel technology consultant
Smart technology is reshaping the hotel industry – from energy management solutions, parking, guest experiences to even room service. There is a plethora of options available on the market and the growth of IoT is only increasing demand for these types of services. You don’t want to complete a hotel refurbishment only to have to retrofit these solutions at a later date, so make sure to factor this into your designs.
10. Work out a phasing plan
You will mostly likely want to undertake your refurbishment project outside of your busy periods. Note down key dates for completion and plan backwards from there as this will help ensure you have the capacity to do the work and limit the impact to trade. Most hotel refurbishments have very tight budgets and deadlines, so you will want to partner with a contractor that not only has the manpower but the ability to deliver an accelerated programme of works.
11. Refine your scope of works
Ask your Architect or interior designer to produce visuals of the proposed works. They should be able to provide you with concept CGI’s and a mood board to give you an idea of how the space will look and feel.
If you have already received an estimate from your chosen contractor, make sure to include them in this process especially if the scope changes. You will need to make sure you have the budget for the works as there is nothing worse than signing off on a design, only to realise that you don’t have the funds to pay for it.
This is an important stage and will help you immensely if both your contractor and design team work together. Once you are happy with the concept designs, you should then have a refined scope of works.
12. Ensure you have the funding available
At this stage you should have an agreed budget and a defined scope of works. Before you progress any further, you will need to secure the funding for your project. Tendering works out before you do this can be a pointless exercise. Quotes are typically only valid for a few months so you will need to be able to move forward within that timeframe to avoid repeating the process all over again.
13. Set a Programme of Works
As part of the tender or negotiation process, your contractor should provide you with a detailed programme of works. The programme of works will highlight key milestones within the project and specify an anticipated completion date. It is imperative that the contractor understands your requirements and time constrains so partner with a firm that is familiar with delivering fast-paced rollout scheme or hotel fit-outs.
14. Keep your staff informed
Refurbishment works can be very disruptive to guests and staff if not properly managed. It’s important you maintain good communication throughout to reduce the risk of potential complaints. Guests and visitors are likely to have questions about your project so make sure your team are informed about what works are going on and when.
15. Communicate to customers
Let your customers know in advance that some areas of your hotel will be out of bounds during their stay. If there are particularly noisy works happening, you may want to check with your guests they are comfortable with this before they arrive.
16. Project meetings
You also need to maintain good communication with your design and build team. You should have regular meetings throughout your project’s lifecycle. Your contractor should also keep you updated on the progress of work and if there are any potential issues.
Regular meetings with your delivery team are critical to ensuring your project stays on track. Collaboration is key and it is imperative to the success of the project that all parties remain involved throughout the process.
17. Be sure to create excitement
Don’t forget to create a bit of excitement about your new development. You’re investing a lot of capital into your hotel refurbishment so make sure your customers know about it.
18. Have a launch party
Once your hotel refurbishment is complete, why not have a topping off ceremony and invite local PR, staff, guests, and anyone else who will spread the word about your fantastic new hotel!