Hotel Renovations: Keep an Eye on the Return on Design

By Eric Rahe Principal, BLT Architects | June 16, 2013

This article co-authored by Donna Lisle AIA, LEED A Senior Associate of BLT Architects and Harry Stenger RA, LEED BD+C, a registered architect and Associate of BLT Architects

Most of the hotel owners and operators we have worked with recently plan major renovations on their properties at least every five to eight years. They often face very a similar challenge: managing risk and surprises through the process of maximizing the return on their investment. Very few renovations go as predicted though, resulting in significant danger to the physical plant, guest experience, and bottom line.

From crumbling infrastructure to environmental hazards to undoing and/or figuring out what happened during prior renovations, theres literally something often something costly behind every wall or ceiling.
As a best practice, property owners and operators should always do some homework or hire someone to do it for them before beginning a renovation project.

Begin by Considering the Goal of the Renovation

Transformation to an upscale hotel? Sprucing up a mid-priced family hotel? A more technologically advanced place for business travelers? Budget accommodations? A better meeting or special event destination? Something in-between?

These questions may be easily answered with a clear vision from leadership as well as an understanding of the local market. Not knowing the answers in advance will lead to confusion throughout the process and could lead the entire process astray.

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Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.