{468x60.media}
Mr. Roedel, III

Development & Construction

How to Successfully Renovate Hotel Properties: Tips for Controlling Costs and Maintaining Quality

By Fred B. Roedel, III, Partner & Managing Member, Roedel Companies, LLC

Keys to a successful renovation

Renovation projects are successful only when all involved parties are aware of and plan for the unique challenges they pose. Completing renovations in an operating hotel, making today's standards work in an older building, completing work within a short down period, and effectively dealing with existing and unknown conditions without negatively impacting the budget, the schedule or guests are just a few common challenges.

The keys to a successful renovation project involving one or more hotels are:

  • Having a clear vision and objective for the project.
  • Defining standards for the time, cost and quality of the project.
  • Outlining scopes of work and linking them directly back to the objective and performance standards.
  • Developing a well-conceived and reliable schedule that integrates operations and construction to ensure a smooth transition for transitioning guestrooms in and out of service during the renovation process.
  • Involving qualified contractors who truly understand the work they are undertaking, have the resources necessary to meet the schedule and budget, and the experience to deal with unexpected challenges.

Project Team

No matter how large or small they are, all renovation projects have a set amount of dollars assigned to them. One of the best ways hotel owners and investors can ensure that projects are completed within a defined budget is to pull together a team of professionals who have extensive hotel experience and will work together to oversee the entire renovation process. Core team members should include owners/investors, operators, designers and contractors. Not including construction expertise early on in the process typically lowers the reliability meeting time, cost and quality standards.

Objective / Vision & Performance Standards

A clear vision and objective are critical elements to keeping renovation projects on track. Standards must be defined regarding time, cost and quality prior to starting a project.

Time:

  • Time standards include the time allotted for assessing a property, designing the renovation, bidding the work and completing the work.
  • Time includes the actual hours that construction can occur, e.g. 9AM - 3PM.
  • Staying focused on time standards is critical to a renovation project since customers will be staying at the property and the operations staff must be able to do their jobs. Not accounting for guests and operations during a project is disastrous. Cost:

  • Clearly define the investment limits for the project and break it down into the most relevant factors, i.e. design costs, construction costs and operating costs.

  • Prior to defining investment limits, do the evaluation necessary to be confident that the market will provide an economic return on the invested capital. Quality:

  • Be clear and committed to what you see the product being. If working within a brand, this standard is most likely outlined. If the standard is not well defined, then it will be incumbent upon the owner and/or operator to establish this quality standard.

  • Quality considerations include the level of construction drawings to be completed, the level of accountability, outlining current conditions; identifying the type of contractors needed and the methods of qualifying them prior to bidding; and detailing the condition and appearance of the property that must be maintained during construction.

Design

Once the standards of the renovation project are established, the exact condition of the property must be determined. Have an accurate building engineering and status report completed, it serves two purposes. The first is to identify existing conditions, which enables the designers and constructor to address and mitigate their potential impact on the project. The second is to identify outstanding building code issues that may require action.

If a building engineering and status report is not prepared prior to starting the design phase, it is unlikely that the final design will work when unknown existing conditions arise, a very common occurrence during renovations.

The Project Team needs to be actively involved in the design process. Design consultants should present progress reports at regular intervals to its members so the project is evaluated on an ongoing basis against the time, cost and quality parameters.** **

Construction

Three of the most demanding elements of a renovation are bidding the job, scheduling and the actual work.

Bidding:

  • Take the time to qualify all bidders. Renovating a hotel property requires people who are very good at their trade, can handle unexpected surprises efficiently and effectively, are able to work with people and maintain a clean organized process.
  • Never risk your property to an inexperienced contractor. Doing so will result in dissatisfied paying guests and a tainted reputation. Schedule:

  • A well thought out renovation timeline that accounts for the entire scope of a project is critical because it will minimize the impact on guests and operations. It is crucial to incorporate the operations tasks within it. Operations must remove operating elements from rooms before work begins and then re-organize all rooms before they are put back into inventory.

  • Whenever possible, renovate one typical room before starting the entire renovation process. Doing this will answer 90% of potential questions and provide all contractors with a chance to fine-tune their processes. The Work:

Despite qualifying contractors and completing a one-room test, there will always be questions and issues to resolve, especially at the front-end of a project. Make sure you have a team of experienced professionals in place that can quickly answer and address issues during the initial days of a project. Doing so will help ensure that your project will not come to a screeching halt.

  • Make sure the process for ordering and receiving materials is clear and that all necessary materials are readily available prior to starting work. Failure to do so will bring work to a stop and unfinished rooms will be unrentable while everyone waits for the materials to arrive.
  • Finally, have a clear and agreed upon process for reviewing and accepting completed rooms. The more actively involved either the owner and/or manager are, the more efficiently issues can be resolved and rooms put back into service.

Avoid Unpleasant Surprises

In order to keep a renovation project on time and within budget, it is important to be cognizant and on top of the following areas:

  • Work hard on communications: The property manager must have a reliable contact with the workforce that they can go to at anytime. The manager of the project must be prepared to address issues. Proactive communication between operations and construction will bring reliability to the time it takes to renovate and re-activate guestrooms. It is also important to communicate to guests all the positive aspects that a renovation will translate into for them through appropriate signage and by keeping operation's staff in the loop so they can inform curious guests of the wonderful changes.
  • Adhere to the Schedule: Ensure that neither too few nor to many rooms are out of service at any one time. Work crews must be methodical and organized in their work. They cannot be going back to address issues, this will only hinder the entire process. Continually review the schedule, the required tasks and seek opportunities to bring reliability to the time, cost and/or quality of a project.
  • Keep the work zone and guest areas separate and distinct: Design all work processes to avoid interaction between guests and operations. Never allow guests in a work zone or contractors in guest zones.
  • Maintain clean work and staging areas: Work and staging areas, inside and outside, must be cleaned daily. If the potential exists for guests and/or operations to be around a work area, be certain to use that proper signage and barriers to protect everyone. At the same time, take advantage of the opportunity to market the improvements you are making to the property. All workers need to maintain a clean and orderly presence. They are a reflection on your property. While renovating a hotel can be challenging, proper planning and being prepared for the unexpected makes the process smoother and helps maintain positive guest relations.

Mr. Fred Roedel is a Manager of Roedel Companies, LLC along with his brother David. He shares the responsibility of developing and implementing the annual strategic plan of Roedel Companies. He also shares the responsibility of approving the final design, budget and timeline of any asset developed. Mr. Roedel is President of ROK Builders, LLC, the wholly-owned Construction Management subsidiary of Roedel Companies. In this capacity he is responsible for developing the strategic and annual plans of ROK Builders. Mr. Roedel, III can be contacted at 603-654-2040 ext. 105 or FredRoedel@roedelcompanies.com Extended Bio...

HotelExecutive.com retains the copyright to the articles published in the Hotel Business Review. Articles cannot be republished without prior written consent by HotelExecutive.com.

Receive our daily newsletter with the latest breaking news and hotel management best practices.
Hotel Business Review on Facebook
RESOURCE CENTER - SEARCH ARCHIVES
General Search:

JUNE: Sales & Marketing: The Rise of the Millennials

Jon Conching

While the millennial traveler is a relatively new demographic, these Gen Y travelers are becoming increasingly important for resort marketers to target in order to gain enduring brand loyalty and consumer trust. They make up a quickly-growing demographic seeking thoughtfully-curated leisure and business experiences and use various mediums to research and finalize travel-related purchases. According to Pew Research, millennials represent the largest generation of consumers today, totaling 75.4 million, surpassing the 74.9 million Baby Boomers. Within this group of consumers, is the millennial family traveler – individuals or couples with children who are looking for travel experiences that fit their wants and needs as a family unit. READ MORE

John  Kraft

A 2012 survey by SilkRoad Technology revealed that some 75 percent of employees use social media on the job, and that 60 percent do so multiple times a day. Of those surveyed, 49 percent said they use social media to connect with coworkers and 44 percent said they use social media to connect with customers. Yet, only 23 percent of employees had received a social media policy from their employers, and only 7 percent had received social media training. Clearly, employers are not communicating with their employees their preferences about using social media. But not addressing social media issues can be as bad as encouraging them. READ MORE

Maja Derviskadic

Millennial’s may look to OTAs and Airbnb when they just want to book a room, but they’re flocking to social media to build robust itineraries that will be the envy of all their friends. Savvy marketers know that winning over this generation is about immersive experiences that sell the property and destination vs. a package or special room rate. Now is the time to pay attention to emerging platforms on the rise like Snapchat, Periscope and Facebook Live Stream, which can take audiences on a visual journey from the lobby to the bar and behind-the-scenes in 60 seconds or less. READ MORE

Megan Paquin

Millennial travelers crave connections to local culture. Large convention hotels and boutique resorts alike are challenged to offer the authentic, memorable experiences travelers in this influential demographic demand. But, rather than compete with local artisans and tastemakers, hoteliers can boost their bottom line with collaborative initiatives. Along with local influencers, curating native experiences within the hotel can increase incremental revenue and drive repeat business. Locally sourced food and beverage options have become a standard in most hotels. Some hotel restaurants even boast ingredients sourced from their own on-site farms, gardens or breweries. Yet, millennial travelers trend toward dining experiences outside of the hotel for a true taste of the destination. READ MORE

Coming Up In The July Online Hotel Business Review


{300x250.media}
Feature Focus
Hotel Spa: Front and Center
The Spa/Wellness movement that exploded a few years back continues to reverberate and expand. Once considered to be an "add on" (which was often relegated to an unused space in the hotel basement), spas are now front and center within the hospitality industry, and hotel management is realizing just how much a luxurious spa can contribute to the bottom line. Room rates are higher. Bar tabs are higher. Food checks are higher. In addition, guests now frequently choose a hotel based on its available spa services, so having a spa within the facility can provide significant financial returns. Plus, guests are using those services in new and novel ways. Some guests are requesting treatments upon arrival (as a way to counter jetlag or to kickstart productivity) and they are often booking their sessions through a hotel app. Some hotels are even offering free massages upon check-in as an inducement to stay. Still other guests are building their entire travel and vacation plans around exotic spa and wellness experiences and of those, thermal hot springs are currently very popular. More and more people are seeking out thermal hot springs as an affordable, social and naturally therapeutic spa experience. Honeymooning couples are seeking out spa packages designed just for them. Couples massages, aromatherapy treatments and nutritious cooking classes make for a romantic and healthy honeymoon they can both enjoy together. Other leading spas are offering stress management courses, classes in meditation and yoga, anti-aging treatments, and spa services designed specifically for men. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on all these trends and developments and examine how hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.