How to Keep a Small Hotel Renovation Project Under Budget

By Jed Heller President, The Providence Group | January 05, 2010

Rejuvenation of your hotel, whether it be new carpets and drapes in guest rooms or an upgrade in the ambience and functionality of the common areas, goes a long way towards protecting your assets as well as maintaining superior guest services. However, to achieve or exceed your long term ROI goals, it is crucial that renovation costs stay in line with your budget. It is very easy for even the smallest project to get out of control and create a "money pit" of unexpected expenses, cost overruns, labor issues and inconvenient delays.

There are many twists and turns that can occur during a renovation that can strain your patience and assault your project budget. Fortunately, there are tried and true practices that will help you navigate the minefield and complete your project on time and on budget. The key factors to keep in mind when planning your renovation are:

  • Choose an experienced project manager
  • Create a detailed scope of work
  • Assess cost estimates and timelines
  • Document the budget
  • Hire the appropriate contractors
  • Manage the process If care is taken to properly address all of these areas, your renovation project should go off smoothly with minimal disruption to your operations and your guests.

Engage the Right Project Manager

The project manager is key to success and should possess a number of skills ― time management , attention to detail, ability to develop a work schedule, set goals, create/implement actions plans, monitor progress towards goals, and make clear, timely decisions. He or she is the project maestro, organizer and traffic cop and needs to fully understand every component of the project. If there are multiple contractors involved, the project manager is the one who will ensure that each contractor has fulfilled their part of the project as expected and be sure that the next contractor is ready to go. If your renovation project involves plumbers, drywallers, painters and carpet layers, for example, there is an orderly progression of work that needs to be completed before the next stage can begin. It only takes one contractor to muck up the works - perhaps they can't start when expected, they may be having labor issues, or encounter other unexpected problems. Any of these problems can contribute to project delays and cost overruns.

Who should manage the project? For larger projects involving multiple contractors, it often makes most sense to hire a construction firm and use their experienced supervisor to manage the project and oversee the various stages and subcontractors involved. They should have the expertise and understanding to keep the project on track, from both a timeline and cost perspective. For smaller projects, it might make sense for the hotel general manager to oversee the project, but only if they have had some experience dealing with contractors. And it is important to understand if your general manager truly has the time, skills and inclination to manage a project as well as perform their daily management tasks. If not, your project may be at great risk.

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Hotel Spa: Oasis Unplugged

The driving force in current hotel spa trends is the effort to manage unprecedented levels of stress experienced by their clients. Feeling increasingly overwhelmed by demanding careers and technology overload, people are craving places where they can go to momentarily escape the rigors of their daily lives. As a result, spas are positioning themselves as oases of unplugged human connection, where mindfulness and contemplation activities are becoming increasingly important. One leading hotel spa offers their clients the option to experience their treatments in total silence - no music, no talking, and no advice from the therapist - just pure unadulterated silence. Another leading hotel spa is working with a reputable medical clinic to develop a “digital detox” initiative, in which clients will be encouraged to unplug from their devices and engage in mindfulness activities to alleviate the stresses of excessive technology use. Similarly, other spas are counseling clients to resist allowing technology to monopolize their lives, and to engage in meditation and gratitude exercises in its place. The goal is to provide clients with a warm, inviting and tranquil sanctuary from the outside world, in addition to also providing genuine solutions for better sleep, proper nutrition, stress management and natural self-care. To accomplish this, some spas are incorporating a variety of new approaches - cryotherapy, Himalayan salt therapy and ayurveda treatments are becoming increasingly popular. Other spas are growing their own herbs and performing their treatments in lush outdoor gardens. Some spa therapists are being trained to assess a client's individual movement patterns to determine the most beneficial treatment specifically for them. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these trends and developments and examine how some hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.