Minimizing Disruptions

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Taking an innovative approach to renovation.

By Matt Assenmacher

In most destinations, an influx of tourists can be tracked and forecast by peak seasons, and hoteliers can plan accordingly for renovation and refurbishment. But what about destinations that no longer experience an offseason?

Cities like New York City, Los Angeles, Miami and Las Vegas welcome more and more visitors each year, and in every season. In Orlando – which hosted 72 million visitors last year alone – hotels and resorts run at or near full occupancy year-round.

It is in these spots that hotel and resort renovations can be the most difficult to pull off without disturbing the guest experience, or negatively impacting RevPAR.

Keeping up with hotel construction, renovation and remodeling when the tourist traffic never slows, can be a challenge – but it is not impossible. And the lessons learned can be helpful even for operators in seasonal destinations. Here are just a few tips we’ve learned through years of renovation management in full occupancy markets.

The Pro’s Approach to Pre-Planning

To ensure projects are completed on time and on budget, detailed pre-planning must be made a priority. A key component of this process is selecting the right contractor to have on your side. Take the time to thoroughly vet contractors by going beyond simply requesting references. Dig into the contractor’s project history and reach out to trusted colleagues for referrals. While there are many variables in the vetting process, taking these extra steps will help ensure that a solid foundation for a successful project has been laid.

Once the right contractor has been identified and expectations for schedule and communication have been set, much of the pre-planning leg work can be handed off, leaving you and your team with more time to stay focused on the big picture, including daily operations. A successful contractor will work closely with your key staff to develop a project plan to accommodate your projected occupancy to minimize revenue Minimizing Disruptions 2impact.

Superior Products, No Sacrifices

Once a comprehensive plan is in place, it’s time to source the right materials for the project. By this point, project designers have likely identified the look, feel and preferred materials that are on-trend and meet the required brand standards.

It is all too common that the designer’s selections put a project over budget. Fortunately, designer intent does not need to be sacrificed to ensure financial practicality. In fact, both can be achieved with significant savings through effective value engineering of key finishes such as flooring, countertops and vanities.

Working with a well-connected supplier can open the door to a global network of factories and quarries that offer quality products at competitive prices that are virtually identical to the materials that support the designer’s vision. Savings on materials can go a long way toward offsetting budget overages or the revenue impact of taking rooms out of inventory during the renovation.

Rolling Renovations – Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Even with a fully developed plan and the right materials in hand, there is always a risk of negatively impacting the guest experience if proper planning is not in place before renovations begin. With a rolling renovation schedule, working public spaces at night or guest rooms floor by floor, operational impacts are significantly reduced and guests are free to enjoy their time on-site without disturbance or interruption.

Underlining the importance of pre-planning, it is crucial to share the week-by-week renovation schedule with operational staff long before work actually begins. In doing so, you can ensure that peak reservation times or large group bookings are not negatively affected. Once work is underway, open communication and regular contractor updates are imperative to ensure seamless hotel operation during renovation and the minimization of construction impact on the guest experience.

Between wear and tear and ever-changing trends in hospitality design, routine renovations are inevitable, but they don’t need to be painful. Using these tips as a guide to inform choices throughout the process can ensure the success of your next renovation.

 

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Matt Assenmacher is managing partner of Top Tile & Stoneworks, a commercial flooring and stone contracting business that has completed more than 70 projects within the luxury, upper upscale and upscale segments of the hotel and lodging industry. He is also founder and managing partner of ViaMaris Imports, a strategic sourcing business that supplies high-quality and cost-effective stone and tile products for new construction and remodeling projects. The companies’ client portfolio includes Ritz-Carlton, Hyatt, Marriott, Westin, St. Regis and Omni Hotels, among others. For more information, visit www.TopTile.net and www.ViaMarisImports.com, email matta@toptile.net or call (407) 296-0113.

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