Distribution Partners are Critical to a Successful Renovation

By Bob Cerrone Director of National Accounts - Hospitality, Ferguson | September 20, 2015

According to the U.S. Travel Association, spending by U.S. residents on domestic travel has rebounded to around $928 billion from a recession-low of $700 billion in 2009. Furthermore, hotel occupancy rates have steadily trended up since the recession, going from 54.6 percent in 2009 to 64.4 percent in 2014. Price Waterhouse Coopers projects hotel occupancy rates to be 65.8 percent by 2016 as consumer confidence continues to grow.

The resurgence of the economy has prompted hotel groups to move forward with planned renovations that were previously stalled. Some of these renovations are necessary to comply with brand property improvement plans (PIPs), and some are to keep up with the demands of savvy travelers looking for clean, updated accommodations.

There's a reason hotels delay hard renovations to just every 10 or more years; rooms under construction are rooms that are unavailable. Every day a room is unavailable is a chance that a potential guest will choose to stay at a competing property. When the time comes to update plumbing, fixtures, lighting and HVAC units, hotel owners turn to their designers, procurement firms and contractors to make renovations seamless and within budget.

Hard renovations can take anywhere from 12 to 18 months to complete. Within this timeframe, several crucial steps involving many different players must take place: purchasing, demolition, delivery, installation and clean-up. Any missteps or hang-ups during the process can cost the hotel time and money – both of which are required to come within budget or else the property begins to experience unplanned revenue loss.

While some complications are unforeseeable and unpreventable, there are steps hotel owners and procurement firms can take to greatly reduce costly errors. Those steps involve an important partner in the renovation process: the distributor. Take advantage of the distributor's knowledge and capabilities to avoid some common, yet avoidable, costly complications:

Complication #1: The Products Specified in the Design Plans are Impractical

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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.