Renovation 101: Tips for Minimizing the Impact on Your Budget & Guests

By Kalen Willis Senior Interior Designer, Hatchett Hospitality | March 20, 2011

Hotel renovation is on the rise. There are many reasons, but chief among them are:

  • brands are issuing Property Improvement Plans (PIPs) for properties that have recently been neglected.
  • banks are acting to enhance the value of assets they have foreclosed on.
  • owners of older hotels are trying to stay competitive with newer properties. And
  • that in today's economic climate, financing is easier for a new look than for new construction.

While the end result of a renovation is almost always satisfying, getting the project done can be hard on a hotel – fiscally and physically. So how can you manage the challenge in a way that minimizes the strain on your budget, your staff, and your guests? Consider these suggestions:

The Required vs. The Recommended

Most brands have some version of a Property Improvement Plan (PIP) or "Refresh Program" that is activated every few years for each property. Typically, there is a list of items that the property is required to revamp and another list of items that are recommended.

Evaluate the recommended items carefully, because doing some of them now is often more economical than doing them later. For example, let's say you're required to replace casegoods, draperies, bedding, and wall covering in guest rooms now but not the carpeting.

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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.