DevelopmentsManagementOpinion

Refurb? What refurb?

How to minimise guest disruption when upgrading your accom

We all understand the importance of staying relevant in today’s market and ensuring occupancy rates are maintained, or better yet, increased.

A refurbishment of your hotel will ensure it is up to standard, desirable, modern and aligned with the latest technology.

When planning a refurbishment project, two key objectives important to consider are how to minimise guest disruptions during and maximise ROI after the refurbishment, with the big goal of improving the overall guest experience.

A refurbishment project should see all areas of your hotel showcasing the same standard, including restaurant, bar, meeting rooms, guest rooms, bathrooms and corridors. Remembering always that first impressions count, so your lobby needs to make an impact. But, how do you transform your hotel without negatively impacting hotel revenue?

A priority for every project is to ensure the pre-planning stage is given adequate time and consideration. A key component is selecting an expert refurbishment contractor to partner with.

The right partner will understand the unique business of hotel operations, ensure that the project runs to schedule, and that handover of each stage goes smoothly, so you can focus on the big picture, and daily operations.

It goes without saying that determining the schedule and timing of the refurbishment is imperative to minimising guest disruption, particularly if your hotel runs at maximum occupancy or has no ‘off season’. A staged approach will often be favoured so that the hotel can remain in operation during the refurbishment.

Agreeing on a realistic refurbishment schedule which allows the business to operate at a certain percentage of occupancy, whilst maintaining construction efficiency, will ensure the hotel income can be sustained at your budgeted level throughout the project.

Once a detailed project plan has been developed, open communication between your refurbishment partner, hotel management team and hotel staff is a vital aspect in a successful refurbishment project. This keeps everyone updated on where the project is at, and any considerations they need to keep in mind in order to perform their roles and ensure the guest experience is maintained.

The contractors need to be invisible to the public and guests as much as possible. This can mean navigating materials, joinery, contractors and waste through a loading dock entrance, staff corridor and/or service elevator.

These areas will be shared with housekeeping and maintenance teams so again, the communication needs to be seamless to ensure everyone is aware of what is happening and can plan around it. Scheduling deliveries of joinery, carpet and other larger items first thing in the morning prior to check-out, or after check-in may be a suitable option to ensure everyone can move through the hotel efficiently and discreetly.

The detailed scheduling plan will also take into account when inevitable noisy works can take place without negatively impacting the guest experience. This may mean after check-out (generally after 10am) during the day, up until around 5pm, and it is crucial to communicate the works and potential for noise to guests.

Many hotels place their loyalty and/or VIP guests, as well as air crews, furthest from the works to ensure their repeat guests are well looked after.

Hotel guests don’t want to feel like they are in a construction zone, so hiding or blocking the view of the construction areas is another key factor to consider.

Partnering with an expert team of professionals is crucial to delivering a seamless refurbishment project whilst the hotel is still in operation.

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Rebecca Mulder

Rebecca Mulder is marketing manager for leading hotel refurbishment and fit-out company Reward Group

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