How to Successfully Renovate Hotel Properties: Tips for Controlling Costs and Maintaining Quality

By Fred B. Roedel, III Partner & Managing Member, Roedel Companies, LLC | October 28, 2008

Keys to a successful renovation

Renovation projects are successful only when all involved parties are aware of and plan for the unique challenges they pose. Completing renovations in an operating hotel, making today's standards work in an older building, completing work within a short down period, and effectively dealing with existing and unknown conditions without negatively impacting the budget, the schedule or guests are just a few common challenges.

The keys to a successful renovation project involving one or more hotels are:

  • Having a clear vision and objective for the project.
  • Defining standards for the time, cost and quality of the project.
  • Outlining scopes of work and linking them directly back to the objective and performance standards.
  • Developing a well-conceived and reliable schedule that integrates operations and construction to ensure a smooth transition for transitioning guestrooms in and out of service during the renovation process.
  • Involving qualified contractors who truly understand the work they are undertaking, have the resources necessary to meet the schedule and budget, and the experience to deal with unexpected challenges.

Project Team

No matter how large or small they are, all renovation projects have a set amount of dollars assigned to them. One of the best ways hotel owners and investors can ensure that projects are completed within a defined budget is to pull together a team of professionals who have extensive hotel experience and will work together to oversee the entire renovation process. Core team members should include owners/investors, operators, designers and contractors. Not including construction expertise early on in the process typically lowers the reliability meeting time, cost and quality standards.

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.