Five Effective Ways to Make the Most of a Hotel Renovation

By John Ely Senior Vice President of Marketing, Signature Worldwide | June 17, 2012

I occasionally suffer from migraine headaches. They're brutal, with pain beyond most anything I've experienced, including many broken bones and bumps and bruises from playing sports. Why do I tell you this? Well, my migraines are sometimes brought on by stress, smells, or lack of sleep - of which I experienced all three during a recent stay at a hotel undergoing renovations.

I arrived two days early for my conference because I had a series of big presentations due that week, and I wanted to review them to ensure I was on track. I was told upon arrival that the entire hotel was undergoing a massive renovation. I had my choice of either being awakened early by demolition noise or I could stay in an area of the property that had recently been painted. I opted for the new paint, as noise was not a great option since I was trying to concentrate.

I got to my room and could certainly smell the distinct odor of fresh paint, but there was something else in the air too. With a trip down the hallway, I concluded that there was fresh carpet laid and the overwhelming aroma of glue permeated the place. I tried to stick it out in that room but by 3 a.m., the migraine had taken hold. In the morning, I asked to be moved to the "noisy" section.

Well, as you can imagine, that section was no better. During the first evening, I felt I had made a smart decision, but at 6 a.m., all positive thoughts were shattered when it sounded like someone was breaking through my wall! A bit of detective work uncovered workers removing old wall dividers in the room adjacent to mine. On my short trip back to my door, I wondered why I couldn't be residing in one of the other rooms at the end of the hallway.

At this point, I'm not sure if I was more frustrated and stressed out by the lack of sleep, the killer migraine, or the total lack of knowledge that I was staying at a construction site prior to my checking in. Had I known about the renovation, would I have still stayed? Yes, probably. But not knowing until the moment I arrived set my mood for the entire week.

This begs the question, "Can a hotel maintain the guest experience during a renovation?" Probably not at the same level as without the renovation, but it is possible to manage it much better than the example shared above! Let's face it - part of the customer's experience is the property and amenities. If they are not all available or exist in a state of disrepair, then the guest's tangible experiences will be lessened. However, there are ways to make the experience much more tolerable.

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.