Hotels: how to refurbish with minimal disruption

With Directors Peter Newman-Earp and Nik Clarke

The idea of refurbishing a hotel can be daunting, the thought of the mess and disruption can be overwhelming. Morrison Design have worked on refurbishing hotels for many years and can support clients through the process, ensuring they can stay open throughout.

What are a client’s biggest fears when they speak to you about refurbishing their hotel?

Nik: “One of the main concerns is how much the work will disrupt guests. Complaints are taken very seriously by our clients and the hotel management do everything possible to provide a good guest experience. It’s become even more important in recent years since the rise in popularity of review sites such as Tripadvisor, travel blogs and social media.

Peter: “The other major concern is how much revenue will be lost during the refurbishment. Of course, it’s impossible to keep the whole hotel open but we can support them to maximise their available rooms throughout the process.”

Browns Hotel

How do you plan around paying guests?

Peter: “We have a few tricks up our sleeves to support the hotel team. Firstly, we draw up a phase of works, which means that we take the refurbishment one stage at a time. For example, this could be one section of guest bedrooms or one floor at a time. The guests in other areas are then minimally impacted.”

Nik: “We’ll often screen areas off so many guests won’t even notice that work is being done (we did this recently on our Brown’s Hotel project). Of course, the majority of work is completed in the daytime when guest bedrooms are less likely to be occupied so noise disruption is minimal.”

Directors Peter Newman-Earp (left) and Nik Clarke (right)

How do you work with the hotel’s management team to manage guest communication?

Nik: “The hotel management team play a vital role in managing guests. Before we start scheduling the refurbishment, we’ll work with them to fully understand the hotel’s back of house operations. Our schedule of works then takes this into consideration and we plan around it as much as we can.”

Peter: “One of the most crucial roles we play is ensuring the management team understands what rooms are available when. We know if a room has been sold it must be finished on time, so it keeps the work moving swiftly!”

DoubleTree by Hilton, West End

What’s the result?

Nik: “Refurbishing is a necessity to guest satisfaction. Whether it’s a simple refurbishment of guest bedrooms or more structural changes to layouts or creation of new guest bedrooms. Ultimately, guest expectations are high and our clients understand that in a competitive market, ensuring their spaces are not just adequate, but stand out from the crowd is essential.”

Peter: “One of the main reasons to refurbish, along with guest satisfaction, is increasing the value of the property and the revenue from paying guests. It’s impossible to avoid all disruption but our clients know it’s always worth it in the long run. And, as we project manage as well, we’re here to help them every step of the way.”

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