By Kristin Alexin
Recent global events have affected countless people in the hospitality industry. But as the industry encounters a decrease in bookings, it may be advantageous for hotel operators and owners to consider renovations for their hotel properties.
Are there spaces that would benefit from a facelift or a fresh look? Are there amenities that would enhance guests’ experiences? By taking the time to refurbish, hoteliers will be well prepared for when business returns to normal.
If choosing to renovate, here are six areas that hotel owners/operators should keep in mind:
Since a hotel is all about its appearance, the flooring makes a strong statement. It sets the mood for guests while it also reinforces hotel management’s commitment to safety. If it has been a few years since the interior was last refreshed, is it time to incorporate new flooring? While it may be tempting to choose a softer texture to save on cost, hard surfaces typically have a longer shelf life, which will save money a few years down the line.
Wayfinding/Area Identification Signage
Upgrading wayfinding and area identification signage can only be a positive investment, especially if there have been recent signs of wear, tear or deterioration.
Signs are one of the last items hoteliers think about, but one of the first things each guest will see. Every guest stays in a guestroom, so at the very least, it’s important to make sure your room numbers are exuding a look that matches your brand and your hotel’s style.
Wayfinding and area identification signage always need to match the corporate brand identity, as applicable. Note that for hotel brands, specifically, the corporate office regularly will send out brand updates for its properties, so it is a good idea to check brand standards periodically for any updates. Also, if your brand doesn’t have a specific signage package, be sure to check with sign companies to see if they can create a custom sign package. You’ll be surprised how frequently companies will work with hotels to create a sign package truly unique to your hotel.
Wayfinding and area identification signs include room numbers, common room, lobby restroom, directional, meeting room, pool and fitness center signage.
The most sought-after hotel amenity coincides with the most important meal of the day—complimentary breakfast. If not already doing so, enhance existing amenities by offering a free morning breakfast program. In addition, since people rely on breakfast to start their day on the right foot, don’t gloss over the importance of creating a warm and inviting breakfast space. Establish a frequent cleaning schedule to ensure that each serving area is clean and well-stocked.
Also, consider working with a preferred sign company to create a signage package just for the breakfast area of the hotel. Possibilities include carafe wraps, food labels, easel signs, wall graphics, etc. After all, many people book hotels based on the quality of the breakfast; the more generous the breakfast offerings, the more likely the hotel will be recommended by others on the internet.
After a long, busy day, hotel gyms are a welcome sight for tired guests—these fitness rooms provide an opportunity to recharge and an outlet for stress relief. Even with a limited budget, there are always new items of equipment to buy that guests will enjoy using. Investing in more items now will make guests more likely to rate hotels higher, and more likely to return. And since hotel fitness centers are typically left unattended, it will be important to post proper policy and equipment usage instructions signage in easily visible areas.
Swimming pools, whirlpools, and saunas are well-enjoyed areas by guests, but they also require the proper regulatory signage as mandated by state law. When updating pool areas, hoteliers should check with all local and state laws to make sure they have all the brand-specific pool law and rule signs required.
There are other things for hoteliers with pool areas to take into consideration as well. For example, make sure that the hotel insurance includes provisions for the pool. Additionally, since most hotel pools do not have lifeguards, rescue equipment needs to be available at all times, preferably stored at a safe but easy-to-reach location. Consider offering special incentives or raises to employees trained in CPR, so that they can offer immediate assistance in an emergency after 911 is called.
Lobby areas are the perfect opportunity to make a great first impression, one that will stay with guests long after their visit. If guests are impressed by the interior space, they might even pull out their phone to snap a picture for Instagram—generating free publicity for the hotel! So, it is important to create a welcoming atmosphere. Considering decorating lobby walls with different textures and colors, and adding artworks, frames and other memorable objects and decor. Also, consider the hotel lobby’s layout: Open-concept designs are more inviting and encourage relaxation and social interaction.
By focusing on these six recommended areas, hotel renovations will hopefully appear less grandiose and more practical. Hoteliers that are able to renovate their properties during this unexpected lull will be well-prepared for when they will, once again, receive a large influx of guests.
Kristin Alexin is a VP of national accounts with HotelSigns.com, a provider of brand signage for numerous hospitality brands including Marriott International, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, InterContinental Hotels Group, Best Western Hotels & Resorts, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts and more. She has more than 20 years of experience in the signage industry and is a proud Chattanooga local.
This is a contributed piece to Hotel Business, authored by an industry professional. The thoughts expressed are the perspective of the bylined individual.