Planning a smooth hotel renovation takes foresight

Photo credit: Getty Images/ginton

When it’s renovation time, remember to “expect the unexpected.” Smart planning is the key to a successful renovation because unexpected surprises can throw you over budget and off schedule.

Some tips to make your next project a success:

Define Project Scope

Your scope and your schedule will be determined by your budget. Understand any brand requirements and determine what is preferred and what is mandated. Also ask your operations team for their input as well. You may not be able achieve all their wants, but they know their guests and can provide what needs to be updated for maximum guest impact. Knowing how to work within these guidelines will create a successful project.

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Budget And Bids

Obtain multiple bids from reputable contractors. Focus on contractors with hotel experience. They understand the impact of lost revenue and the urgency in turning around rooms efficiently and quickly. In H-CPM’s experience, contractors less familiar with hotels tend to fall behind, causing the schedule to slip and additional revenue displacement. When reviewing proposals, the lowest bid is not always the best. Leveling proposals is a significant step to confirm each contractor is quoting the same scope.

Plan For The Unexpected

Be sure to set funds aside for soft costs such as architectural fees, procurement fees, project-management fees and other applicable costs. It’s also essential to put additional funds (contingency) aside to cover unexpected costs such as hidden conditions and weather-related issues.

It Takes a Plan

For a new build or conversion, ownership along with the franchisor will need to determine if a market will support a particular brand. For a renovation, brands will have specified refresh requirements based on a property’s condition, age and current standards. The cost estimate or budget must be identified early on to determine if an acceptable return on investment can be achieved.

Building The Team

Proper selection of the team is vital. All players need to possess extensive knowledge of the lodging industry and the brand being considered for the project and be able to work well with team members. Local knowledge is a bonus with access to labor and the municipal approval process. Interviewing applicants prior to engagement helps get an understanding of their hospitality knowledge.

Open Communication

Consistent communication with the teams is essential. A project can take anywhere from a few months to several years and communication will keep everyone informed, eliminate challenges and keep the team engaged in the process.

Following these simple rules will help provide a rewarding renovation and allow owners to keep control of cost and minimize lost revenue.

Stephen Siegel is principal of H-CPM.