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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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.