Hotel owner, operator and development firm Hotel Equities (HE) continues to grow its Development Services platform for new hotel builds and property improvement plans to meet the demands of an industry challenged with supply chain issues and labor shortages.
HE’s portfolio of more than 250 hotels includes national chains and boutique hotels with different brand standards, coding requirements, community highlights and preferences.
“The most important criteria for working with a development services team are experience and the ability to look at a new hotel build or remodel through multiple lenses,” said team leader Patrick Trainor, VP, projects and facilities, HE. “With experience comes a greater level of brand knowledge—what works well and what doesn’t—and the ability to apply best practices to make projects cost-effective and operationally efficient at every level.”
HE’s Development Services specialists assess needs to assemble the right team for each build, manage timelines and collaborate with brand ambassadors, designers, architects, general contractors and operations and procurement staff. This benefits owners and operators in many ways:
- Optimal efficiency, flow and functionality of guestrooms and public spaces
- Utilizing HE’s 33 years of brand and procurement relationships that owners become a benefactor of
- Direct access to brand decision makers and exposure to the latest trends and design packages
- Compliance with brand standards, local codes, permits and ADA requirements
- Ability to negotiate large-scale pricing for FF&E
- Attention to process, pricing and approvals to keep projects on schedule and within budget
“Hotel builds and property improvement plans are major investments. It’s important to work with a team with deep resources and industry connections to make sure you get it right and don’t make costly mistakes,” said Trainor.
Below are some recent examples of the Development Services group’s work:
Courtyard Downtown Winston-Salem earns Marriott’s Hotel Opening of the Year Award
The Courtyard Downtown Winston-Salem hotel in North Carolina incorporates emerging trends and showcases local landmarks and businesses:
- An oversized fitness room, with floor-to-ceiling windows, overlooks a baseball park with a view of post-game fireworks
- The rooftop bar, with indoor and outdoor seating, hosts happy hours, weddings and receptions
- The bar features seasonal beers and artwork from a brewery next door
HE’s Development Services team came on board during the request for proposal process and built a solid team that earned the 2021 Marriott Hotel Opening of the Year award.
“When your team knows what they’re doing and can communicate effectively with everyone involved in this massive undertaking, everything moves along more smoothly,” said Brad Rahinsky, CEO, HE.
The Fairfield Inn & Suites at Berry College in Rome, GA, pays homage to the area with unique features and interactive art:
- A stone tower at the hotel entrance replicates college campus architecture
- Artwork displayed throughout the hotel features campus landmarks
- QR codes reveal the history of each landmark, with directions for finding it
This project team, recruited by Berry and HE, was able to open the hotel four months ahead of schedule, which brought in additional revenue.
Dual-brands offer more options
Dual-brand hotels utilize a single building with separate entrances that allow guests to choose accommodations that suit their needs, whether that’s a spacious suite with a kitchen or a more basic room for overnight business travel. Sharing staff, common spaces and amenities helps owners cut costs while appealing to different market segments.
HE capitalized on the Colorado Springs Downtown SpringHill Suites & Element dual-brand’s scenic location and fitness-oriented clientele:
- A rooftop bar with fire pits and water elements overlooks Pikes Peak
- A restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooks downtown, Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods
- Meeting spaces with scenic views can be adapted to just about any meeting size or purpose
- A large fitness room and an indoor swimming pool cater to health enthusiasts
- A shared courtyard features TVs for watching sports and grills for group cookouts
Converting an outdated SpringHill Suites in Missouri to the Fairfield Inn & Suites St. Louis Chesterfield, and adding a new SpringHill Suites to expand the building into a dual-brand (slated to be completed this month), proved to be particularly challenging with a lot of moving parts.
- New Fairfield Inn rooms had to fit into space designed for SpringHill Suites
- The original hotel stayed open with the section connected to the new building blocked off
- A new front desk, lobby, restaurant and bar space in the new building will serve both hotels
- The former lobby and front desk will become a large fitness room
- All signage and IT functions will move, or be adapted, to reflect the correct brand for each room
Hamilton Curio Hotel honors history
The Hamilton Hotel by Hilton in Downtown Alpharetta, GA, is a Curio hotel with more freedom for customization. HE’s design team maintained historical notes while adding modern touches and technology. The result: a boutique hotel with tremendous curb appeal and popular spaces for gathering, according to the company.
- There is a full-service restaurant and a bar featuring live bands and large local draws from the community
- An outdoor patio/terrace that accommodates everything from weddings to weekend yoga classes and a “Yappy Hour” for dogs
- A hidden speakeasy draws people downstairs
- This hotel is the centerpiece and lighthouse of the community
Post pandemic pivots
Collaboration and communication are more important than ever with supply chain delays and limited contractor availability.
Lindsay Meadows, HE’s director of procurement, negotiates large-scale contracts for operational supplies and equipment to save money and maximize efficiency. More supplies are being warehoused to ensure contractors have everything they need before closing a floor for an installation.
Including operations in design maximizes space by considering flow, function and staffing. Since operations knows the layout, they know what they need and where to store it. Coordinating schedules, deliveries and installations also keeps everyone on the same page.
“Building a new hotel, renovating or converting to a new brand can be complicated,” said Joe Reardon, HE’s chief development officer. “An experienced partner like Hotel Equities can manage all of the moving parts quickly and cost-effectively and coordinate internal teams for a smooth transition to operations once construction is completed.”