Brand Mandated Updates: Exploring Cost Effective Methods

By Fred B. Roedel, III Partner & Managing Member, Roedel Companies, LLC | April 01, 2012

The past three years have been some of the most difficult ever for our industry. Everyone from Owners to the Brands has had to defer a number of investments in a variety of areas. As the industry recovers the Brands will be diligent in not only making sure all of their hotels are in first class condition, but also up to speed with the latest brand standard mandates. It is important for us as owners that the Brands have this diligence so our investments are maintained and protected. Likewise it will be important for Owners to invest in brand mandated updates to insure their property is a relevant and integral part of the brand and to make sure their hotel is in the right position to take advantage of the improving marketplace. As with any investment it is critical to develop a well thought out effective plan. Here are some thoughts on cost effectively addressing your brand mandated update programs

Develop a Solid Plan Outlining your Objectives and Standards

First, make sure you clearly understand the objectives and critical elements of the mandated upgrades. Once you clearly understand the critical elements you will be able to manage your particular plan for more effectively.

Second, regardless whether the update program is large or small; take the time to clearly outline your objectives for time, cost and quality. Completing this relatively simple exercise is one of the simplest ways to stay on track throughout the design and implementation process. It will also be the basis by which you review alternatives that ultimately affect the overall cost of the project.

Third, define the investment amount. No one knows the economic elements of their hotel better than its Owner. We all know what we can afford to invest and we all have the ability to determine the right investment based on our own operation. It remains a positive environment cost wise from the construction perspective. There is no doubt that as time goes on construction related costs will begin to rise, simply because they have been so depressed for so long. So it may happen that more can be achieved now than a year from now on the same investment dollars. But what is so important in the development of your overall outline and plan is to clearly define the investment budget.

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Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.