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:

JANUARY: Mobile Technology: A Permanent Sense of Immediacy

Alastair Cush

A growing number of properties are implementing mobile access guest room locking systems and the apps that support them. Many chain standards mandate mobile access and independents are joining the trend. What few operators understand is that mobile access implementation has changed not only every aspect of hotel door locks but also many other areas of hospitality operations. More people are actively involved in the decision making process for hotel locks than before. Mobile access has integrated the lock process with numerous property and chain departments from sales to guest loyalty and brand marketing. The original purpose of improving guest door locks was exclusively loss prevention and security. READ MORE

Jim Vandevender

Meeting data and technology have evolved considerably since the days of the bulky ,expensive mail ordered meeting planner guides and hotel catalogues. The ways in which hotels find and book groups is far different than the antiquated methods of not so long ago. As better technology surrounding meetings and events becomes available , hotels appetites for group business seems to also increase at a parallel pace making the need to keep the related technology evolving even more paramount. The companies that provide hotels with this meeting intelligence are continually developing new and more advanced methods of gathering this sought after data to keep up pace with the demand. READ MORE

Dave Weinstein

As with so many industries, the smartphone has transformed how organizations interact with their customers. Look at the automotive industry, the airline industry, and of course, the hospitality industry. You start your car’s engine and set the climate control to the desired temperature, buy airline tickets and check-in on your flight and do the same with your hotel room, all from your phone. There is a slew of services that traditionally are offered by hotels via the “book” on the desk. The book is still there, but some hotels allow you to order via the television while others offer integrated tablets. READ MORE

Kacey Butcher

Can you imagine your bank choosing not to provide a way to check account status and transactions outside of your monthly paper statement? Can you further imagine a popular franchise restaurant only having paper take-out menus? You would be forced to contemplate what other aspects internally within the organization would make doing business with them complicated and archaic. There you find your own personal underlying immediate expectation of baseline service and operational procedures, where a decision is often made instantly to move onto the next provider. A decision to choose another provider that seemingly knows how to service customers with the utmost up-to-date standards. READ MORE

Coming Up In The February Online Hotel Business Review




Feature Focus
Social Media: Interacting with the Hotel Customer
Consider these astonishing numbers: 1.49 billion active monthly Facebook users. 1.1 billion active monthly YouTube users. 320 million active monthly Twitter users and nearly 400 million registered users on LinkedIn. 400 million active monthly Instagram users and 200 million active Google+ users. The power and reach of social media is an awesome force and it has transformed how hotels interact with their customers. In the past year, social media advertising spending increased 33.5% to nearly $24 billion dollars. Social networks are being utilized by hotels to reach more visitors, expand brand awareness, enhance brand reputation and to establish more direct and personal communication with their customers. Savvy hotel operators are adopting a comprehensive social media strategy, and there are several emerging trends to note. Video continues to be a powerful and influential element in social media marketing, with 70% of companies saying that it is their most effective marketing tool. Video generates a 62% higher engagement rate than photographs alone, and with new social sites like Meerkat and Periscope which offer live video streaming, those numbers will only increase. Sponsored content is another growing trend. Though advertorials have been around for decades, hotels are finding new ways to maximize the visibility of their content. Some are placing sponsored content on Facebook, or on influencer blogs. Another trend is the integration of a “Buy Now” button into social media websites. Customers will be able to make purchases without ever having to leave their favorite social sites. This development is a major convenience for customers and should also be an additional revenue source for hotels. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.