Your establishment, be it a guesthouse, hotel or B&B, is going to need a refurbishment at some point so that fittings are in tip-top shape and your space is up-to-date. While it can be trying for both staff and guests, here’s some advice to make the refurb as painless as possible as well as some things to consider when decking out your establishment.
Set the Date
Most establishments don’t have the luxury of shutting their doors during renovations, so when you do choose to do a refurb it’s natural to choose a period when you have low occupancy – in the Cape, the winter season is an obvious choice. Go back through your records to find which periods have been your quietest historically, and double check that there aren’t any big events taking place during the time period you’re thinking of.
Plan, plan, plan
Once you’ve set the date, the planning starts in earnest. The more time you give yourself, the better, so plan far ahead and get in touch with your contractors to firm up dates and costs well-before time. Be realistic about how long the refurb is going to take, and add a bit of buffer time between processes in case there are time delays – furniture being delivered while the rooms are still a construction site would be an absolute nightmare. Work closely with all of the contractors in the planning stages and create one large master document filled with the timeline and contact details of the relevant parties. You can then use this document to create internal communications to staff so that everyone knows what is happening on what day.
Spread the Word
Well before renovations begin, spread the word. Using your social media platforms and website, send out the information on when the refurb will be taking place, what guests can expect, and which areas are going to be out of bounds. You can spread the word on different platforms by sending out a press release, emphasising the exciting benefits of the refurbishment, and update your listings on platforms such as Bookings.com and TripAdvisor. Send emails to corporate clients and event planners that use your services, and think about adding information on the refurb into your teams’ email signatures.
Keep your guests happy
It’s exceptionally important to ensure that every guest that has booked a room during that time is well aware of what will be taking place. Also make sure to create a buffer zone around the refurbishment so that guests are as undisturbed as possible; if the renovation is taking place on the 10th floor, then don’t rent rooms directly under or above the action. It’s a nice idea to give each guest a special treat to compensate for the disturbance – a complimentary meal or a bottle of wine would go a long way to ensure your guests’ goodwill. Lastly, make sure that every staff member knows the ins and outs of the renovations so that they can inform guests when asked.
Safety is paramount so you must cordon off the areas that are undergoing a facelift. However, you can use this as a marketing tool or an opportunity to showcase what the new spaces are going to look like with imagery and text printed onto the barricades.
If possible, schedule the noisiest parts of the refurb for the quiet times between check out and check in. If guests are opting for a late check out, an early check in, or will be staying for a long period of time, book them into a room that’s far away from the refurb.
Create temporary venues
If the refurb is affecting communal areas, don’t just hastily put together a temporary space. Invest some time and effort into creating temporary venues that are guest-friendly, reflect your establishment’s look and feel, and are comfortable and enjoyable for guests to spend time in. Your guests should not be put out by the refurb any more than they have to, and their comfort is paramount.
Choose your furnishings wisely
When choosing items for your new spaces, research thoroughly and invest in furniture and furnishings that are high quality and durable. It’s best to work with wholesalers who work directly with the hospitality industry as you’ll naturally be working with suppliers who know how to meet your needs and budget. A good idea would be to visit this year’s Food & Hospitality Africa powered by Hostex, running from 6-8 May, as you’ll get to interact with loads of suppliers and their products.
If you want to check out a wide array of leading suppliers to the hospitality industry of furniture and furnishings, make sure to visit Food & Hospitality Africa powered by Hostex, which will be running from the 6 – 8 May 2018 at the Gallagher Convention Centre. The show is a not-to-be-missed event where you’ll be able to check out all the latest equipment, products and trends in the hospitality industry, as well as network with industry leaders. To register for free, click here and for more information on the show, click here.