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 June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.