Mr. Roedel, III

Development & Construction

Advancements in New Hotel Construction

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

New products, techniques, and processes are always being developed in the construction field with the objective of improving quality, reducing total cost, and decreasing the amount of time it takes to open a hotel's doors. We all know that the sooner you can open your hotel's doors, the sooner you can develop free cash flow.

New construction advancements range from alternative materials and pre-fabricated systems to environmentally friendly alternatives. They improve new hotel developments not only from the construction perspective, but from the operations perspective. Evaluating new construction products, processes and techniques is a critical step when putting together a new hotel development. The most important thing, however, to remember is that the value you will ultimately gain from embracing a new construction product or approach is directly related to the amount of time and energy you invest in educating yourself and everyone on your development team about it.

How the latest construction products and techniques can influence a new hotel development

There are two important steps when considering using a new construction product or approach in your hotel's development. The first is to ensure that you have a solid grip on the core objectives of the project. It is essential to understand its true economics and to be disciplined when it comes to designing, building, and operating a property that will reliably perform to your investment objectives based on the time you plan to own it. The second is to take the time to understand a product or approach and the value it will bring to your development. Some processes in particular are so new that there are limited numbers of consultants and contractors who understand them. When designers, contractors, and even operators do not fully understand new construction products or approaches, the likelihood that you will realize the full a value of using them in your project's design is dramatically reduced.

Time

Every new hotel development project must have a well designed and coordinated t plan in order to meet timelines. When developing a project's timeline start with the processes and systems you know will allow you to most effectively develop a time sensitive construction schedule. Next evaluate new construction materials, systems and processes that could improve the timeline. It is important to note that in order to be able to correctly evaluate e new construction offerings' value that you must allow time to educate yourself and all parties involved in the development about them. This learning curve must be factored into your timeline.

My company completed construction of a new 81-room, four-story block and plank hotel with an attached pool building that incorporated two newer systems, integrated concrete forms and pre-built bathrooms, in New York in July 2010. Site work started in October and the hotel opened for business exactly nine months later in July. Originally we projected that the use of the new systems in the project would result in a 30 day reduction in the overall development time-line. We, however, ended up realizing a 45 day reduction (including the operations component) as a result. We added almost 30 days to our pre-development period to make sure we clearly understood the two new systems and that all of the designers, contractors and our operations people did as well. This time investment resulted in better coordinated plans, better written and estimated scopes of work and more reliable construction and operating budgets. The end result of our embracing new construction technology and ensuring that every member of the construction team understood how to use it was that the overall development time-line for the new hotel was reduced.

Cost

There is no question that the cost of developing a new hotel is critical when it comes to meeting business objectives. We evaluate cost from both the actual development and the time it takes to begin operations.

New construction advancements can positively impact a development's cost from both a material and labor perspective. From the material perspective there is a consistent flow of new that can replace older technologies at an equal or lower cost, i.e. PEX piping versus copper and Styrofoam concrete forms versus concrete block. In today's world where raw material costs can immediately impact a material cost, it is imperative to have a handle on acceptable alternatives. The challenge isn't necessarily finding an acceptable alternative material, it is in finding companies that understand the technology and can properly install the product so you will realize its full value. Remember, the newer a technology, the fewer the people who will understand and have experience with it.

The cost of the new hotel development in New York that I mentioned earlier was positively impacted through the use of new, integrated construction technology. Its cost was reduced because the nature of the new construction products required significantly less labor, equipment and material investment than traditional products. For example, when we compared the price of the pre-assembled bathrooms to a traditional fit-out by various trades, there was a premium for the pre-assembled that we deemed worthwhile since using them would enable the hotel to open 30 days sooner. Since the hotel's financial projections showed it would conservatively produce $2,000 a day in free cash flow from operations we knew that its opening 30 days sooner would generate $60,000, a figure that would more than offset the higher cost of the pre-assembled bathrooms. In actuality our electing to use a variety of new construction products in the hotel's construction enabled it to open its doors 45 days sooner than was projected, which further improved its operating cash flow.

Quality

Newer construction technologies and systems can improve the overall construction quality of new hotels and improve their long term operational quality. In order for this to happen, however, every detail of a new hotel's design and plans must be as close to perfect as possible, which will impact its final structural quality and how smoothly it will operate. Too often the lack of understanding of the long-term compatibility of both new and traditional building components and products leads to problems both during construction and when it comes to longer term maintenance issues.

How the latest techniques in hotel construction can influence a renovation

Advancements in construction materials, systems and processes can be equally valuable in a hotel renovation. For example, pre-fabricated components reduce on-site construction time and new materials can be less expensive than traditional ones and installed more efficiently.

Whether you are undertaking building a new hotel or renovating an existing hotel, advancements in the construction industry can positively impact your project. When implemented correctly they typically shorten timelines and reduce long-term operations and maintenance costs. The result is more free cash flow.

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:

AUGUST: Food & Beverage: Going Casual

Mathias Gervais

Sometimes new is old, and old is new. In time for the 2015/2016 Miami Beach season we, together with our new Ownership, launched Jaya, a modern Asian cuisine restaurant whose concept was made to be a true departure from a traditional luxury hotel restaurant. Jaya, which means 'victory' in Sanskrit, was chosen by our team to honor The Setai Miami Beach’s renowned interior designer Jaya Ibrahim and the hotel's first decade of successful Asian-inspired hospitality. My sous chef, Vijay Veena, and I collaborated to create dishes that much like the Hotel, did not focus on just one Asian country but featured cuisine from a number of Asian regions. READ MORE

Jonathan M. Raz

When it comes to dining at hotels, guests immediately consider their restaurant, bar and in-room dining options, but there is a new movement taking hold in the hospitality industry: fast casual dining. This trend presents hotels with an opportunity to engage with guests and staff while creating added value, providing guests with an abundance of dishes to explore without leaving the property. Internally, these menus encourage team members to experiment with new cuisine and showcase their culinary talents. Ultimately, fast casual dining allows guests to rediscover food as a social experience, where they interact with staff and other guests while sampling dishes rarely seen on sit-down menus. Hotels can take advantage of the fast casual trend in countless ways. READ MORE

Adrian Kurre

Many hotel guests enthusiastically book rooms online, bypass a front desk check-in with their digital room key, and choose to receive their bill via e-mail in an effort to streamline and control their own experience – and at Hilton we support (and have led the charge on!) many of these innovations. At the same time, human interaction remains the crux of hospitality. And hospitality is, after all, a main driver of guest satisfaction and repeat business in our industry. Year after year the J.D. Power North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index StudySM has shown that the number of interactions guests have with hotel staff READ MORE

Thomas  McKeown

Faced with new, demanding guests, hotel restaurants are relying on local sourcing, quality ingredients and authentic experiences to return to the glory days of hotel dining. Not all that long ago, the best dining you could find in any city in America was in a hotel. In cities like New York, Chicago, San Francisco, even in my city of Atlanta, grand hotels offered acclaimed restaurants known for their fine cuisine and memorable experiences. People got dressed up to enjoy steak and lobster, oysters and fine wine. For their discriminating guests, chefs served surprises like shrimp cocktail, baked Alaska and smart cocktails. READ MORE

Coming Up In The September Online Hotel Business Review


Feature Focus
Hotel Group Meetings: Demand is Trending Up
Corporations and businesses are once again renewing their investments in people, strategic planning, and training and development. As a result, all indicators point to 2016 being a robust year for the hotel group meetings business. Group demand is strong and rates, especially during peak periods, are trending up. Still, hotels must continue to evolve to meet the changing expectations of group meeting planners and their clients. There are several trends and factors that are driving decision-making which planners have identified as being essential to the process. Though geographic location and room rates continue to be the most important factors when selecting a host property, food and beverage choices are becoming increasingly influential. Planners understand the value of first-class culinary options as these are often used to facilitate networking experiences. Another critical factor is the availability of sufficient bandwidth for high-speed wired and wireless connectivity to the internet. In addition, in an effort to eliminate unsightly and unwieldy power cords, planners are requesting the installation of mobile-device charging stations. These portable charging stations (which do not require devices to be plugged in) can be conveniently placed in common areas or directly in meeting rooms. Finally, there is a greater emphasis on teambuilding activities that are intended to challenge groups, and bring them closer together. Some hotels are offering scenic walking trails, GPS-aided scavenger hunts, kayaking into secluded coves or rollerblading on oceanfront boardwalks, among many other recreational activities. The September Hotel Business Review will examine issues relevant to group business and will report on what some hotels are doing to promote this sector of their operations.