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  • Cicero Construction

Keeping a Hotel Open During Renovation

Updated: Apr 25

While periodic renovations ensure a hotel continues to be a popular destination, it's no secret that renovations can be disruptive for guests. Confronted with this dilemma, a hotel owner is left with the question: “Should we stay open during the renovation or should we close?” The correct answer depends on several factors.

Pros: Closing Your Hotel

On one side of the ledger, closing the hotel makes good sense. It allows for a far broader scope with work done in less time. Total re-branding of the hotel, a large-scale PIP, or a major build out can be completed on a fast track schedule without concern for subjecting guests to noise or other distractions. Also, time sequencing is more flexible for trade people to schedule work. Finally, in the event a hotel sees high occupancies only during certain months, such as a ski resort over the winter, closing down in the summer will not greatly impact revenues. 

Cons: Closing Your Hotel

The obvious negative of closing a hotel during a renovation is that your cash flow comes to a screeching halt. Hotel owners typically can't afford to not maintain a certain level of revenue to cover their fixed costs. In addition, valued employees must be put on paid leave or find another job. Plus, even the most loyal guests may discover an alternative place to stay. Finally, occupancy seasonality for most hotels doesn't fluctuate greatly over the course of a year so the example of the ski resort likely won't apply.

Tips to Keep Your Hotel Open

A gutted lobby or closed floors are impossible to hide from guests. That's why total transparency is paramount to managing guests’ expectations during a renovation. After all, would you want to arrive at your home only to discover a surprise construction project has started?Here are a few smart steps to prepare guests if you plan to keep your hotel open during a renovation:

  • Post renovation dates on the hotel’s website, blog and social media as soon as possible with architectural renderings highlighting its exciting future design and enhanced amenities.

  • Send out an email alert to your opted-in list of loyal guests. This is not only good relations but it can drum up bookings to boot.

  • Expedia and Travelocity offer a space on every hotel listing for renovation announcements. Updating your renovation status frequently will help travelers be more informed about its progress.

  • Hang signs notifying guests inside the hotel lobby weeks in advance of the renovation’s start, along with large-scale design boards. Also post “noise alert” signs to let guests know when especially loud events, such as demolition work, is scheduled.

  • Some hotels have gone so far as to build-out a mock room to show inquiring guest what’s in store. Let them see and touch the future of your hotel.

  • Hotel employees will be answering guest questions throughout the renovation, so make them your envoys. Give them the answers they’ll need to tell the renovation story, especially at the front desk.

  • If there is a guest complaint, a staff member must be trained to respond immediately, perhaps "comping" a room or offering a discount. In this day and age of instant reviews, a disappointed guest’s negative experience can cost much more than a free room.

Complex Projects Require Skilled Contractors

It takes a special breed of renovation contractor to successfully pull off a partial or staggered floor-by-floor renovation while a hotel remains open. To manage such a complex project effectively, it’s vital to gather as much information as possible about the building’s existing conditions. The contractor must be highly experienced in determining the physical state of the hotel, and on developing precise time sequencing of demolitions, deliverables and sub-contractor schedules. They also need to show a sensitivity to guest needs.

Cicero Construction Group has consistently demonstrated these best-in-class qualities for more than five decades, conducting complex renovation projects of hotels, large and small. Our team offers unmatched experience combined with a drive to deliver the highest quality, best value for your renovation. Contact us today to make your vision a reality.

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