Beyond Reconstruction - Tips for Keeping Guests Happy During Renovation

By Michael Goldstein President & CEO, Packard Hospitality Group | October 28, 2008

As the hospitality industry continues to evolve, offering new and exciting properties and products, hotel guests inherently expect more of the hotels at which they stay. They are consistently looking for better accommodations, enhanced amenities and a more comfortable hotel environment. This often leads to either occasional large-scale renovations or smaller, more frequent renovation projects to enhance a property's offerings.

Many properties can not afford the luxury of closing down operations during renovation. As such, one of the biggest challenges that hoteliers across the country face is how to effectively complete either type of renovation while staying profitable and keeping the hotel property open to guests. A quick Internet search shows many disgruntled guests who were unhappy with the quality of service provided to them at various hotels where they stayed while construction took place. They have posted their unflattering experiences and reviews on popular sites where other potential guests are likely to read and be dissuaded from staying at that particular property. Many of the guests' complaints could have been easily resolved, or altogether avoided, had the property adequately planned or known how to deal with guests during a renovation.

The following steps and actions can be taken by an hotelier to maintain order, lessen the impact of construction on the guests, and create a more positive environment for everyone involved, including hotel staff.

Plan Accordingly

The most critical step to any renovation project where guests are involved is creating a detailed plan to follow. The general manager, general contractor, property manager and possibly even the owner, should be involved in the planning process, working to determine how to properly plan for the renovation and how the various construction projects will be scheduled as to not interfere with a guest's stay.

The overall goal of the plan should be presenting guests with a satisfactory product in an atmosphere that is virtually untouched by construction. Because every event, setback, and group booking can't be predicted at the beginning of the construction process, the schedule/plan will need to be flexible enough to be modified multiple times throughout the construction process, if not each day.

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Coming up in November 2018...

Architecture & Design: Expecting the Unexpected

There are more than 700,000 hotels and resorts worldwide and the hotel industry is continually looking for new ways to differentiate its properties. In some cases, hotels themselves have become travel destinations and guests have come to expect the unexpected - to experience the touches that make the property unlike any other place in the world. To achieve this, architects and designers are adopting a variety of strategies to meet the needs of every type of guest and to provide incomparable customer experiences. One such strategy is site-integration - the effort to skillfully marry a hotel to its immediate surroundings. The goal is to honor the cultural location of the property, and to integrate that into the hotel's design - both inside and out. Constructing low-impact structures that blend in with the environment and incorporating local natural elements into the design are essential to this endeavor. Similarly, there is an ongoing effort to blur the lines between interior and exterior spaces - to pull the outside in - to enable guests to connect with nature and enjoy beautiful, harmonious surroundings at all times. Another design trend is personalization - taking the opportunity to make every space within the hotel original and unique. The days of matching decor and furniture in every room are gone; instead, designers are utilizing unexpected textures, mix-and-match furniture, diverse wall treatments and tiles - all to create a more personalized and fresh experience for the guest. Finally, lobbies are continuing to evolve. They are being transformed from cold, impersonal, business-like spaces into warm, inviting, living room-like spaces, meant to provide comfort and to encourage social interaction. These are a few of the current trends in the fields of hotel architecture and design that will be examined in the November issue of the Hotel Business Review.