What is hotel refurbishment?

A hotel refurbishment is an effective way to keep your hotel looking fresh and modern throughout the life of your business. A refurbishment is a light aesthetic touch-up that can improve the appearance and condition of your hotel, and ensure that your guests continue to be impressed when they arrive.

With the right hotel refurbishment plan, you can make your hotel feel brand new, while spending far less than you would on a brand new hotel.

Is it time to update your hotel tech too?

Like your property, your tech needs a refresh every once in a while. Little Hotelier is the ideal platform to help you push your small property forward and succeed as a modern business.

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Hotel refurbishment vs renovation

Hotel refurbishment vs renovation: what is the difference? Hotel refurbishment is the less intrusive of the two – work that is primarily concerned with the superficial, such as design aesthetics and the condition of things like surfaces, furniture and amenities.

Hotel renovation, meanwhile, focuses more on the structural: the expanding of spaces, the addition of rooms, or the replacement of walls, roofs and entire kitchens.

Whether you need to conduct a hospitality refurbishment or renovation will depend on the depth of issues you face or changes you’d like to make.

10 key factors for successful hotel refurbishment 

Recent research from the UKreported that hotels increased their spending on refurbishments by 57%.

Given guests now expect a higher level of sophistication and technology, it’s not too much of a surprise. There’s also some suggestion the move is in response to home-lettings like Airbnb, but there’s currently no conclusive proof for this.

It does however raise the question of why, when and how you should refurbish your accommodation. Refurbishment or upgrade is a big undertaking and it’s important to know how it will affect your revenue short and long-term. Nothing would be worse than blowing your budget on an unnecessary or unsuccessful project.

Here are 10 considerations you need to take into account when refurbishing your hotel or B&B:

1. Does the market situation require hotel refurbishment?

In an area of high competition and innovation, it can be hard to keep up if your property looks the same and operates the same year after year. In the travel industry, something new is always coming along. With so many new developments, existing properties need to reinvent themselves to keep up.

2. Will room refurbishment make a difference?

Room refurbishment can garner your hotel real and valuable attention, but obviously it’s impractical to upgrade or refurbish every time something new enters the market so you need to consider if your hotel or B&B is able to keep attracting your target market or not, based on the state of your property and the surrounding competition.

3. Refurbishment vs upgrade

This is where the question of is your project a refurbishment or an upgrade enters the fray. According to Iconsult Hotels CEO Martin Kubler, refurbishment is for keeping your property in great shape inside and out, while an upgrade may be a response to what other properties are offering. For example, there may be nothing wrong with your showers so you don’t need a refurbishment, but if other hotels have rainfall showers you might need to upgrade to remain desirable for guests.

4. Typical alterations

While each property should be treated on its merits, there are some typical repairs and upgrades that are made during a major renovation.

These could include:

  • New furniture and equipment in guest rooms and communal areas
  • General redecoration such as artwork, wallpaper, carpet etc
  • Installing new bathrooms and plumbing
  • Introducing new facilities like wifi, cable TV, or a gym
  • Building new rooms from unused or newly created space

5. How will hospitality refurbishment affect revenue and occupancy?

Any major alteration to your property is likely to have an impact on everyday operations and could affect the amount of revenue you’re able to bring in while renovations are being done. It’s important to think carefully about how to use your budget. Should you perform your refurbishment in stages so you keep interruption to a minimum or choose to close for a period of time for a fresh opening at completion? Either way, seasonal downtimes would be the best option so occupancy isn’t affected if you have to partially close the business.

6. What are your guests saying?

Deciding if you should refurbish or not might be a seesaw between yes and no but given the importance of online reviews and customer feedback, this is a good way of making up your mind. Your online reputation is vital to your booking strategy so any mention from guests about outdated facilities should be taken very seriously. The power of TripAdvisor should remove any hesitation or doubt.

7. Don’t spend all your budget in one place

It’s all very well to have a flash ‘new’ property but if nobody knows about it, what’s the point. Don’t spend all the budget on the renovations alone. Hold onto some to use for marketing and advertising so you can attract new business. If you’re struggling to make it stretch, consider using the last 10% on advertising and finish the rest of the build later.

8. Review financing options

When seeking hotel refurbishment finance, you should remember that this isn’t a cost, but an investment that should pay itself off over time, as word spreads about your newly refurbished and truly stunning hotel. Consider financing options carefully. If you need to take out a loan, look closely at the terms of any agreement you are considering signing: the interest rates, the repayment schedule, and any impact the work may have on cash flow and your ability to make loan repayments.

9. Contingency planning

Sometimes things don’t quite go to plan. Perhaps your hotel refurbishment contractors have got stuck on another job and need to postpone. Perhaps the materials that you need to complete your refurbishment are proving difficult to source. There are any number of reasons why your hotel refurbishment could take longer than expected or be more expensive than expected, so if your hotel refurbishment plan goes sideways, you need to be prepared. It’s wise to set aside funds for unforeseen expenses or potential disruptions, in order to minimise the potential financial setbacks.

10. Capitalise on hotel refurbishment

After you’ve completed your refurbishment or upgrade, you need to reevaluate your whole business. It’s all very well to carry on the business as usual and revel in the heightened satisfaction of your guests, but you also need to improve the overall performance of your property. New facilities means you can be more aggressive with your pricing to increase your revenue or appeal to a new market.

All in all, a refurbishment should always be done to benefit your hotel or B&B, not because you feel you have to. It’s a large project so if performance at your property is strong then hold off as long as possible. By the same token, if you’re getting clear indications you need it, don’t hesitate.

Hotel refurbishment tips to maximise space

Boutique hotels can be cosy and inviting, but space is often at a premium.

Thinking about how to maximise space in hotels can help guests have a better customer experience, and it can help managers be more efficient in their back office environment.

Here are our top three  favourite space-saving tips and techniques that can be implemented in small hotel environments to help improve the enjoyment of a cosy hotel.

1. Under stairs waiting area and storage

It’s amazing how often the space under a hotel’s stairs is left as a cavity in construction, and never put to good use.

Not only can the space under the stairs be used as a place to store guest luggage near reception, but it can also be used for linen and spare parts storage, or even as a peaceful nook for guests to enjoy your communal areas.

Installing lockable rolling drawers and cupboards under stairs will ensure access to the space is maximised, while also ensuring the safety of items stored.

Existing linen and maintenance cupboards in hotels with stairs can then be turned into additional guest space or vending machine vestibules.

Alternatively, under stair spaces can be converted into reading nooks with the addition of support beams under the stairs, a downlight, a bookshelf and a few cushions.

2. Folding desks and hanging chairs

In very small hotel rooms it can be tough to provide a desk for guests to sit with their laptops and do some work. But it is possible to install folding and tripod-style desks that can be attached to a wall for easy setup and removal, and where space is very tight.

There are a series of different models of folding table units, including some on simple brackets, or freestanding drop-leaf tables, but our favourite is a unit, which is installed onto a wall, and includes a space for stationery and could even include a power outlet for technology use.

Where even a desk chair can be difficult to position, it is possible to pair a folding desk with a hanging chair. The simplest version just uses wall hooks to hang up a simple folding chair alongside the fold-out desk. But we also love these folding chairs that double as hangers for hotel wardrobes.

3. Sofa bunk

And where you’re trying to accommodate families in a small hotel, it can be difficult to squeeze a single bed into a double room.

But rather than having to add rolling beds into confined spaces, what about including a sofa in a room that converts into bunk beds for the kids? It combines the practicality of a sofa in a double room, with the functionality of bunk beds for families.

By Dean Elphick

Dean is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist of Little Hotelier, the all-in-one software solution purpose-built to make the lives of small accommodation providers easier. Dean has made writing and creating content his passion for the entirety of his professional life, which includes more than six years at Little Hotelier. Through content, Dean aims to provide education, inspiration, assistance, and, ultimately, value for small accommodation businesses looking to improve the way they run their operations (and live their life).