With hotel bookings trending back to pre-pandemic levels in 2023, is your hotel prepared to compete for today’s travelers? A hotel property improvement plan (PIP) is an inevitable part of being in the hotel business. Hotel PIPs are also an invaluable opportunity for hotel property owners to gain an advantage over their competition, increase market share, and provide a better customer experience.
So, how can you get the most our of your hotel PIP and the opportunity to enhance customer experience and increase your bottom line? Follow these quick tips to maximize the return on investment on your next hotel PIP.
Scrutinize the Hotel PIP and Exceed the Minimum Requirements
Thoroughly review the PIP to understand all required hotel upgrades. Mandated renovations may extend beyond guest rooms and lobbies to cover the exterior, landscaping, and installations like security systems, electrical, and plumbing. Watch out for vague PIP language like “throughout the property.” If upgrades are required for “all” furniture, fixtures, and equipment, it should be clear whether that means moveable or non-moveable and in what areas.
Another way to get the most out of your PIP is to go above and beyond the minimum requirements. This may seem like the opposite of what you should do for better returns. However, at the end of the day, property improvement plans are designed to help your bottom line. Consider investing in any enhancements that will make your property more appealing to customers and more competitive in your market. It may help to contact an experienced renovation team to review the scope of the PIP. Architects, engineers, and designers with hospitality experience can help you find new ways to improve the guest experience.
Negotiate Your Hotel PIP
Negotiation is an essential part of the PIP process and negotiating will help you maximize your ROI. Hotel PIPs are designed to improve guest experience but how that happens may look different for each property. Brand corporations and circumstances may not always play to your favor but with the support of a great team, the PIP can be molded into what you make of it. The right general contractor can be your advocate when you’re looking to cut project costs through value engineering. Together with them, you can identify opportunities to save money without compromising branding goals.
As you plan for your hotel PIP, engage with the brand to find cost-cutting measures. Depending on the brand there is always leeway to bush back on changes being required. Make sure you are not pushing back on the wrong thing though. One of the biggest mistakes that can be made in this area is trying to do minimal work to common areas. The first impression of a hotel is critical and you want your guest to walk into a bright clean lobby as it sets the tone for their entire stay. When done strategically, hotel PIPs are mutually beneficial for owners and brands. That means corporate brands want your property to succeed as much as you do.
Prioritize Where You’re Investing
As you plan your renovations, you may want to prioritize where funding goes based on the longevity of elements in your hotel PIP. Furniture, lighting fixtures, decor, and other brand elements have the potential to cycle every 5-7 years to reflect corporate brand standards. Whereas, structural components, energy efficiency, and mechanical systems with longer lifespans may have higher price tags but, their durability can pay dividends over time.
There is an increased emphasis on handicapped accessibility or ADA requirements. Hotels are one of the largest targets for lawsuits dealing with accessibility. In all hotel PIPs there will be requirements to conform to federal accessibility laws which should be considered for long-term use. Energy efficient systems and technology infrastructure may also be part of your long-term use plan as hotels are increasingly putting more emphasis in technology and electronics. Efficient and ample places to charge phones, tablets and laptops are being required and this could mean upgrades to electrical panels and service in addition to adding outlets and USB ports.
Keep the Project Moving and Stay Open During the Renovation
Overall rebranding costs can increase if the contractor keeps restarting the project. This problem usually occurs when the franchisor allows the hotel PIP to be broken into multiple phases that correspond to the hotel’s business and cash-flow cycles.
Renovation work will always move faster and more efficiently if you halt your hotel operations but, staying open helps retain your valued employees and protects bookings, cash flow, and operating income. There are several strategies to keep the project moving and complete a hotel PIP without shutting down such as working on guestrooms floor by floor. The right general contractor will work with you to ensure your property remains fully functional even while renovations are taking place.
Market Your New Hotel
Today, a customer’s first impression of your hotel happens long before they walk through the front door – it happens online. Your thoughtfully decorated and spacious new lobby may convince customers to choose your hotel over the one down the road but, only if they can see the difference during the decision stage.
Customers would rather stay at a new hotel rather than an old one. In order to show off the money you have invested get quality photographs taken and put them all over your website, Facebook, Instagram, and local newspaper. Make sure the reservation services at brand corporate also have these photographs on their website.