What is hotel renovation?

Hotel renovation is an essential aspect of maintaining and enhancing your small hotel or guest house’s appeal and functionality. While your property may exude a charming vintage allure, it’s crucial not to overlook the importance of regular updates and refurbishments. As the hospitality industry evolves and guest expectations shift, keeping your property fresh and up-to-date becomes an integral part of your business strategy.

Over time, wear and tear, changing design trends, and advancements in technology make hotel renovations inevitable. These renovations can range from minor cosmetic updates like a fresh coat of paint or new decor to major overhauls like upgrading the plumbing system, remodelling rooms, or installing new technological amenities.

However, the concept of hotel renovation extends beyond mere repairs and upgrades. It’s about enhancing the guest experience, improving operational efficiency, and staying competitive in the market. A well-executed renovation can breathe new life into your property, boost guest satisfaction, and potentially increase your revenue.

That said, hotel renovation doesn’t necessarily mean draining all your profits. With careful planning, strategic investment, and creative solutions, you can achieve significant improvements without overspending. Whether it’s repurposing existing spaces, investing in energy-efficient upgrades, or simply refreshing the decor, there are numerous ways to make impactful changes on a budget.

Below, we’ll explore how you can effectively keep your hotel up to date without blowing the budget on expensive—and sometimes unnecessary—renovations.

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What is the difference between hotel renovation and hotel remodelling?

Hotel renovation and hotel remodelling are terms often used interchangeably in the hospitality industry, but they do have distinct meanings:

  1. Hotel Renovation: This typically refers to the process of repairing and updating an existing structure to improve its appearance, functionality, or safety. Renovations can range from minor updates like repainting walls or replacing outdated fixtures to major projects like overhauling the entire plumbing or electrical system. The key aspect of a renovation is that it works within the existing structure and layout of the hotel.
  2. Hotel Remodelling: This involves changing the structure or layout of the hotel. Remodelling might include projects like knocking down walls to create larger rooms, adding new rooms or facilities, or significantly changing the layout of the hotel. Remodelling is generally a more extensive and costly process than renovation, as it involves more substantial changes to the hotel’s structure.

While both renovation and remodelling aim to improve a hotel’s appearance and functionality, renovation typically involves updating or repairing existing structures, while remodelling involves making significant changes to the hotel’s layout or structure.

Renovation vs remodelling costs

The costs of hotel renovation and hotel remodelling can vary significantly based on the scope of the project, the size of the hotel, the location, and the materials used. However, generally speaking:

  1. Hotel Renovation Costs: Renovation projects typically involve updating or repairing existing structures, which can be less costly than remodelling. The costs can range from minor (such as repainting walls or replacing fixtures) to more substantial if the renovation involves major systems like plumbing or electrical. The cost of a hotel renovation can vary widely, but it is generally less expensive than a full remodel.
  2. Hotel Remodelling Costs: Remodelling involves making significant changes to the hotel’s layout or structure, such as knocking down walls, adding new rooms or facilities, or making other structural changes. These projects are typically more extensive and therefore more costly than renovations. The cost of a hotel remodel can be quite high, depending on the extent of the changes being made.

It’s important to note that while remodelling may be more expensive upfront, it can sometimes lead to greater long-term savings or revenue increases if it results in more efficient use of space, increased room rates, or higher occupancy rates.

Hotel renovation cost per room

The exact cost of a hotel renovation can range from $12,000 to $50,000 per room for budget hotels and mid-scale hotels respectively. For luxury hotels, the cost can go up to $75,000 or more per room.

The cost breakdown could be as follows:

  • Soft goods (like bed linens, curtains, upholstery): 30%
  • Case goods (like furniture, lighting fixtures): 20%
  • Bathroom: 20%
  • Design (including fees for interior designers): 10%
  • Construction costs: 10%
  • Contingency: 10%

Please note that these are rough estimates and the actual costs can vary based on a variety of factors.

Guest house remodelling cost estimate

The cost of remodelling a guest house can also vary greatly depending on the size of the guest house, the extent of the renovations, and the location. It can start at $60,000 for a 600-square-foot one-bedroom guest apartment. A 150-square-foot single-room cabin with just sleeping quarters could be as little as $15,000.

If you’re converting an existing structure like a garage or shed into a guest suite, the costs can range from $6,000 to $21,000, with the national average for this type of project falling around $13,075. Here’s a rough breakdown of the costs:

  • A bedroom with one window, ceiling, flooring, heating and cooling, insulation, plus furniture: $10,000 to $15,000
  • Suite with a bathroom: The cost of a bedroom, plus at least $3,000. If you have to add plumbing, you’ll pay up to $1,800 more.
  • Guest house with one bedroom, a living room, kitchen, and bath: $15,000 to $30,000

Again, these are rough estimates and the actual costs can vary based on a variety of factors.

Please note that these costs can vary greatly depending on the specific circumstances, including the location, the condition of the existing structures, the specific design choices, and more. It’s always a good idea to get multiple quotes from contractors to get a more accurate estimate for your specific situation.

When should you consider hotel remodelling?

When was the last time you renovated your small property? Have you walked through your small property and noticed the paint chip off the walls or tiles in the bathroom start to crack?

These are all the precautionary warning signs that tell you it may be time to renovate your property.

The idea of hotel renovation can trigger the question, ‘will I need to shut my property to perform the renovations?’, resulting in a delay to refurbish the property.

However, the state of your small property is very important – especially in today’s world of online reviews. The first thing that guests complain about in their reviews is if the property is outdated, needs a revamp or is falling apart. The last thing your small hotel needs is a review like that!

It’s time to face the facts. Don’t turn a blind eye to renovations and accept that you will have to renovate from time-to-time, whether it be minor improvements or a complete face lift.

Top 10 signs it’s time for a hotel renovation

Maintaining the appeal and functionality of your hotel is crucial to attracting and retaining guests. Over time, wear and tear, changing trends, and evolving guest expectations can make even the most well-maintained hotels seem outdated or lacklustre. 

Recognising the signs that it’s time for a renovation can help you stay ahead of the curve and ensure your hotel continues to deliver the high-quality experiences your guests expect. 

Here are10 signs that it might be time to consider a hotel renovation.

1. Cracks or chips in walls, floors or tiles; these will only become more severe overtime if not actioned.

2. Signs of mould, most common in bathrooms. Mould not only looks unpleasant but can also become a health hazard for guests.

3. Stained, dirty or worn out carpet looks tacky. Lay down a new carpet or refresh with tiles or wooden floor boards.

4. Loose or creaky flooring becoming a trip hazard for guests.

5. Doors and windows are creaky and showing rust. This is not a good look or sound for guests and makes them feel like your property is falling apart.

6. Toilets not flushing property, taps not running water consistently or hot water takes some time. Your bathrooms need their plumbing to be looked at and perhaps some replacement.

7. Damaged, scratched or permanently dirty fixtures and furniture need to be replaced as soon as possible.

8. Dark rooms or lighting not working properly. Get the electrician in to have a look at the power/wires or install more lighting in guest rooms and common areas.

9. Freezing in winter and sweaty in the summer at your property? To make guests happy and enjoy their stay, you’re in need of reverse cycle air conditioners.

10. When guests feel like they’ve entered a time warp when they step in the front door or a guest room. It’s time to leave the past and refresh!

Hotel renovation process

Navigating a hotel renovation can be a complex process, requiring careful planning and execution to minimise disruption to your guests and operations. Here’s a complete guide on how to approach this task:

  1. Develop a Comprehensive Renovation Plan

Start by creating a detailed renovation plan. This should include a thorough assessment of your property to identify areas that need refurbishment. Prioritise these areas based on their current condition and their importance to the guest experience. This prioritised list will serve as your roadmap for the renovation process.

  1. Renovate in Phases

Instead of undertaking a complete overhaul of your property all at once, consider renovating one area or room at a time. This approach allows you to keep most of your property operational and minimises disruption to guests. It also provides an opportunity to gather feedback on the renovated areas, which can inform future phases of the project.

  1. Schedule Loud Tasks Strategically

Renovations often involve noisy tasks that can disturb guests. To minimise this disruption, schedule these tasks during the middle of the day, ideally during the check-in and check-out period when guests are less likely to be in their rooms.

  1. Plan for Off-Peak Renovations

Consider timing your renovations to coincide with your off-peak season. This allows you to carry out the work during a period of lower occupancy, reducing the impact on guests. Plus, by completing renovations in time for your peak season, you can fully capitalise on your newly upgraded facilities.

  1. Leverage Your Property Management System

A property management system can be a valuable tool during renovations. Use it to block off rooms or areas that are being renovated to prevent them from being booked. This ensures that you don’t accidentally create reservations for guests in rooms that are out of service and helps maintain accurate availability across your online booking channels.

  1. Communicate with Guests

Finally, keep your guests informed about the renovation process. Let them know what improvements are being made and how these will enhance their future stays. If there are any inconveniences, such as certain facilities being temporarily unavailable, communicate this clearly and offer alternatives where possible.

Hotel room renovation checklist to work on

Embarking on a hotel room renovation project can be a daunting task. However, with a comprehensive checklist, you can ensure that every aspect of the room is considered and nothing is overlooked. Here’s a detailed guide to help you navigate the renovation process effectively.

Evaluate the Room Layout

Start by assessing the current layout of the room. Is it functional and appealing? Does it maximise the use of space? Consider how the room can be rearranged to improve flow and usability. Remember, the layout should enhance the guest’s experience and make the room feel spacious and comfortable.

Inspect the Flooring

The condition of the flooring can significantly impact the overall look and feel of the room. Check for any signs of wear and tear, such as stains, scratches, or loose tiles. Consider whether the current flooring material is suitable, or if it might be time to upgrade to something more durable and aesthetically pleasing.

Assess Walls and Paint 

Examine the walls for any cracks, chips, or signs of dampness. The paint should also be checked for peeling or fading. A fresh coat of paint can instantly brighten up the room and create a welcoming atmosphere.

Review the Furniture

The furniture should be comfortable, functional, and in good condition. Any pieces that are worn out, damaged, or outdated should be replaced. Remember, the furniture also contributes to the overall aesthetic of the room, so choose pieces that align with your hotel’s style and theme.

Examine the Bedding

The bed is often the focal point of a hotel room, and the bedding plays a crucial role in the guest’s comfort. Ensure the mattresses are supportive and comfortable, and the bed linens are clean, soft, and in good condition.

Inspect All Lighting

Good lighting can enhance the ambience of the room and improve its functionality. Check all light fixtures to ensure they are working properly. Consider whether the current lighting is sufficient, or if additional or different types of lighting are needed.

Check Appliances and Technology

Ensure all appliances and technological devices in the room are functioning correctly. This includes the TV, air conditioning unit, mini fridge, and any other devices provided for guest use. Upgrading to smart devices can also enhance the guest experience.

Review the Bathroom

The bathroom should be clean, functional, and well-lit. Check all fixtures, including the shower, toilet, and sink, to ensure they are working properly. The tiles, paint, and lighting should also be assessed.

Assess Accessibility

Consider the needs of guests with disabilities. The room should be accessible and comfortable for all guests. This might involve installing grab bars in the bathroom, ensuring there is enough space for a wheelchair to move around, or providing visual aids for guests with hearing impairments.

Plan for Regular Cleaning and Maintenance

Lastly, establish a regular cleaning and maintenance schedule to keep the room in top condition. This includes deep cleaning of the room, regular checks and repairs of all fixtures and appliances, and prompt replacement of any worn-out items.

Tips to renovating a hotel on a budget

Renovating a hotel doesn’t always have to mean a hefty price tag. Even with a limited budget, you can make significant improvements that enhance your property’s appeal and guest experience. The key lies in strategic planning, smart choices, and leveraging industry expertise. Here are some practical tips to help you achieve a successful hotel renovation that aligns with your budget constraints.

1. Work with contractors who understand the hotel industry

Hiring the right project manager is critical to the success of your hotel renovation project. A project manager who is familiar with the hospitality industry will know what needs to be done for your particular project and can provide you with an accurate timeline.

After selecting a project manager, you will want to hire local contractors who have experience in the hotel industry and come recommended by other business owners. Reliable contractors allow you to have confidence in the work that is being done to your property.

It’s important that you have details available to provide to your project manager and contractors, as this allows them to fully understand the scope of the project and the results that you want.

2. Focus on renovating one unique aspect of your hotel first

Instead of attempting to refurbish your entire property at once, decide on one key area that you would like to focus on for your hotel upgrades. For example, at a B&B, you can redesign one room in your hotel and give it a new theme.

You might also consider changing your kitchen and dining area while at the same time implementing a new type of menu for your hotel.

A smaller renovation project gives guests a fresh perspective on your hotel, and it doesn’t have to be as overwhelming for you.

3. Schedule the renovation project for a convenient time of the year

Be sure to plan any B&B repair projects or hotel upgrades for a time of year that is traditionally slow. If your B&B is located in a peak summertime destination, consider a late winter or early spring project date.

This allows you to complete your project when there are fewer guests around, and gives you an opportunity to promote the upgrades for the upcoming busy season.

A hotel refurbishment project might seem overwhelming at first, but remember that the results will be well worth the effort. Whether you update a room within your B&B to transform it into a honeymoon suite, or you are creating a more interactive or engaging lobby, you will be proud of the new look you have achieved for your property.

In addition, you will find that the renovation allows you to better promote your hotel, drive more traffic to your website and increase your direct bookings. You may even find that both bookings and profits increase in the months and years beyond the renovation.

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).