Maximizing Hotel Profits Even While Renovating

By Paul van Meerendonk Director of Advisory Services, IDeaS Revenue Solutions | December 07, 2014

Money never sleeps, and neither do hotels. It’s often one of the biggest challenges faced by hoteliers: maintaining facilities to the standards expected by discerning guests, and determining how and when to upgrade those facilities without turning away or losing business.

Hotels need upgrades, but it’s important to keep guests happy while major physical changes are occurring around them. Careful attention must be paid in facility upgrades, and hoteliers must minimise guest disruption and use renovations as an opportunity to refresh and maximise branding and revenue generating opportunities.

Some hoteliers may take the view that there is never a good time to renovate their property; it can result in a whole or partial closure of their business. Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid substantial property refreshers in the longer term if hoteliers want to ensure their property looks its best and caters to the expectations and desires of targeted guests. The question then for hoteliers considering an upgrade or renovation: total or partial?

To Close or Not to Close

Many hoteliers struggle to decide whether a total or partial renovation is best for their property given the likely short-term impact on revenues. A major factor in the renovation decision is whether or not short-term cash flows are needed. If that is the case, then a partial or staggered renovation is often the best course of action. Major hotel brands usually take this approach, whereby the whole property does not close and a level of operating revenues are maintained. However, if long-term revenue and profit generation—or even repositioning the hotel at a different service or star level—are the key motivators behind the property refresh, it would be best to close the whole property while the refresh is undertaken. A major re-opening of the property then elevates visibility and interest: similar to the project undertaken by the Savoy in London.

The Perfect Time to Reposition Your Business

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Food & Beverage: Millennials Rule

The Millennial Generation has surpassed the Baby Boomers to become the largest living generation in America, and their tastes and preferences are being reflected in the Food & Beverage industry. In general, Millennials insist on more natural, healthier, less-processed food and beverage sources, and in part, this inspired the farm-to-table movement. However, now the trend is becoming even more pronounced and hyper-local. Millennials no longer simply want to know their food is farm-to-table, they want to know which farm, and where it's located relative to the community. As a result, hotel F&B directors are redesigning entire menus to feature area brewers, wineries, and family farms. Not only is this a proven way to satisfy Millennial tastes but it also opens the door for hotel guests to enjoy immersive experiences such as tours and excursions to local farms and breweries. Also, thanks in no small part to Millennials, coffee consumption is at an all-time high. In response, F&B directors are creating innovative ways to enhance the coffee experience for guests. Nitro-brewed coffee, cold brew, lattes on draft, and the introduction of unique milk options are part of this trend, as are locally sourced coffee beans where available. Millennial influences can also be found in the Craft and Artisan Cocktail movement where the same preferences for locally sourced and high-quality ingredients apply. One leading hotel even offers a drink menu featuring liquors infused with herbs recommended by experts for their health and well-being benefits. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will document the trends and challenges in the food and beverage sector, and report on what some leading hotels are doing to enhance this area of their business.