Renovations of hotels and resorts are only successful when all the parties involved are mindful of and plan for the unique challenges they (almost always) pose. Some common challenges could be completing a renovation in an operating hotel, or integrating today’s standards in an older building, working within a short down period, or efficiently dealing with unknown conditions without negatively impacting the budget, just to name a few. You never know, you could renovate your whole hotel within budget and deadlines with seemingly no problems, but suddenly, you realise that you forgot basic precautions such as pest control, and before you know it, your fancy new hotel is crawling with rats. If you want to be on the safe side regarding pests, you may want to check out something like pest control services Carlisle for ease of mind and a guarantee of zero pests in your newly renovated hotel.
The 5 keys to Renovating a Hotel within a budget, while maintaining quality are:
• Having a clear upfront understanding of the project’s status and outcome goals.
• Setting realistic standards for the schedule, budget, and project team. This is important as you’re going to need to have some place to storage the inventory from the hotel, keepsafestorage offer a simple solution to this!
• Involving only qualified vendors who understand the project scope (and goals) and have the resources necessary to meet them.
• Integrating operations into your construction schedule to ensure a smooth transition for rooms that go in and out of service.
• Managing expectations through a dedicated project manager who has the experience to deal with unexpected challenges.
1. Project Information
I cannot stress enough, the importance of conducting sound due diligence. Have an accurate building engineering report serves two purposes. The first is to identify existing conditions, which enables the designers and constructor to address and mitigate their potential impact on the project. The second is to identify outstanding building code issues that may require action, and identifying this early is a time and money saver.
Aside from understanding the project’s current status, make sure to understand the project at-hand. The purpose of having a clear upfront understanding on the project, is to effectively develop goals for the projects overall outcome. Project information could be PIP requirements, brand design standards, or even owner’s consultant selection processes. In order to provide efficient and successful completion of the project, a complete understanding of the projects status and project requirements must be identified and qualified in realistic goals.
For example: The owners might have to have 250 rooms completed by Spring Break to satisfy their brand conversion requirements. Therefore, the general contractor’s goal should be to have 250 rooms back to operations before Spring Break.
2. Approach and Methodology
Project approach and methodology, in terms of setting realistic project standards, should be focused on: 1) Communication, 2) Organization, and 3) Timeliness. In my experience, a breakdown in any of these areas during the construction phase can lead to project delays and negative cost implications.
Communication: Present a plan for the project communication procedures at the pre-construction meeting. Written inquiries from the Contractor are in the best interests of all parties since it provides clear, definitive direction that can be confirmed at a later date. Routine items can be orally authorized as typical; however, written communication should always be stressed. Discussions should be had early on regarding site coordination with hotel operators, schedule, permit status, other permits required to be obtained by contractor, shop drawings, submittals, and overall coordination.
Organization: Project organization is key to insuring an on time and quality project. Knowing how to track submittals, shop drawings, RFI’s, and other critical construction documents is a must, in order to keep the project progressing without important details falling through the cracks. Also, managing materials and products need to be organised. If you’re renovating a room then you’ll be wasting time is you weren’t organised enough to have the full size mattress arrive in time.
Timeliness: Always provide timely reviews of Contractor requests for RFIs, shop drawings, and other critical construction documents. Meeting minutes should be provided in 1-2 business days (unless otherwise defined), and e-mail correspondence and phone calls should be returned the same day. The exchange of contact information is paramount in providing the best possible access for timely responses.
3. Assembling The Team
One of the best ways to ensure a project comes to a screeching halt, is to assemble a team of unqualified individuals who lack in hotel experience. Just because they may have completed a mid-size apartment complex a few years back, does not mean they possess the skills and experience needed to complete your hotel renovation. Always put together a team of professionals who have extensive hotel experience and will work together to oversee the entire renovation process. Core team members should include owners/investors, operators, designers, contractors, and dedicated project managers. Not including construction expertise when soliciting vendors early on in the process typically lowers the reliability in meeting time, cost and quality standards.
Take the time to qualify all bidders. Renovating a hotel property requires people who are very good at their trade, can handle unexpected challenges, and are able to work with other people. Never risk your project (or reputation) to an inexperienced contractor.
Despite qualifying contractors, there will always be questions and issues to resolve, especially in the early stages of a project. Make sure you have a team of experienced professionals in place that can quickly answer and address issues during the initial phases of a project.
4. Schedule 101
It should be a no-brainer, that hotel rooms are a hotel operator’s product, and offline rooms cannot generate revenue. Therefore, quickly returning finished rooms to the roster is the driving motivation for the hotel’s stakeholders. Being transparent with the financial impact of your hotel renovation helps contractors better align their timelines and execution plans with the owners’ (“stakeholders”) goals.
A well thought-out renovation timeline that accounts for the entire scope of a project is critical because it will minimize the impact on guests and operations. It is crucial to incorporate the operation’s tasks within it. For example: operations must remove operating elements from rooms before work begins and then re-organize all rooms before they are put back into inventory.
Tip: Whenever possible, renovate one typical room (also known as a “model room”) before starting the entire renovation process. Doing this will answer 95% of potential questions and provide the contractors with a chance to fine-tune their processes.
5. Managing Expectations
Depending on the experience a hotel owner has in construction or renovation, Project Managers (PM) can range from hotel General Managers with little construction experience to hired renovation experts. Go ahead and do yourself a favor and go with the latter. Identifying the PM’s construction knowledge early allows you to set realistic expectations regarding daily communication, receiving approvals, workflow management and budget spending. For example, working with less experienced PM’s may result in you spending more time detailing budget items and explaining the nuances of hotel renovations. No one has time for explaining the nuances of hotel renovations.
So remember, hotel renovations of are only successful when all the parties involved are mindful of and plan for the unique challenges they (OK, always) pose. Keep these “5 keys to Renovating a Hotel” in-mind for the next time you have a project, and see the difference it makes in staying within a budget, while never sacrificing quality.