The Benefits of Prefabricated Construction in High-Tourism Areas

By Scott Acton CEO & Founder, Forté Specialty Contractors | August 28, 2016

In the hospitality and tourism industries, guests’ happiness reigns supreme. With ever-changing consumer demands and evolving technologies, new developments and renovations alike often cause disruptions to the normal function of businesses, impairing the public’s accessibility to the venue, or adjacent venues. Hence, construction timelines become a crucial issue with projects situated in high-density tourism areas. Improved time-efficiency minimizes the disturbances in local businesses’ operation and profitability. Yet, shorter timelines might come at a price of higher expenses on labor, machinery and materials.

A solution, allowing for both time- and cost-efficiency in projects where construction impacts the sustainability of tourist inflow, is the use of prefabricated (prefab) construction methods.

Prefab is a construction method which features off-site assembly of either the entire structure or parts of its interior and exterior design at a manufacturing facility, with a subsequent transportation of the ready elements to the site. Typically, prefab steel and concrete structure elements, as well as elements of the interior and exterior design, feature fast-assembly compatibility and boost project efficiency compared to traditional ground-up construction. Therefore, projects in areas whose economies are heavily reliant on tourism are a perfect fit for the use of prefab methods.

Among the two most prominent metropolitan areas featuring tourism, hospitality and the entertainment industries as a significant part of their local economies are the greater Los Angeles area and Las Vegas. Known as major tourist destinations, extracting substantial revenues from tourist inflow, these two local economies are particularly sensitive to the potential disruptions and hazards caused by traditional construction, rendering the use of prefab methods increasingly prominent.

The greater Los Angeles area is a large urban setting, accumulating wealth from a broad range of tourist activity, concentrated around Disneyland, Universal Studios, as well as the arts and entertainment of Hollywood and Santa Monica. Los Angeles attracted a historic high of 45.5 million tourists in 2015, a 2.8 percent increase compared to the previous year, and this figure is projected to grow further. According to a report by Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti, and the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board (LA Tourism), the leisure and hospitality industry created 25, 300 jobs in LA in 2015, with one out of nine jobs in the city supported by tourism. Served by 464, 600 industry employees, the sustainable influx of tourists brought some $223 million in tax revenues that year for the City of Los Angeles.

The average daily rate of LA’s hotels in 2015 stood at $158.35 per night, an annualized increase of 7.4 percent, suggesting the tourism-related industry is booming. As such, construction-related disruptions and closures are highly unfavorable for the industry and tourists alike. Aside from enhancing the overall profitability of the industry, prefab methods pass positive effects of the expansion in tourism on to the local manufacturing and transportation sectors, as off-site assembly and transit of the prefab elements to the construction site have the potential to generate many market-sustainable jobs.

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.