It’s not surprising: when the COVID-19 pandemic started, hotel occupancy rates fell dramatically, leading to drops in room revenue and ancillary revenue from sources like in-hotel restaurants, room service, and other amenities. The good news? The travel outlook for 2022 trended positively, and experts predicted that occupancy rates and room revenue would approach 2019 levels in 2022.
Continued volatility is expected for the travel industry, though, according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s 2022 State of the Hotel Industry Report. There’s a perk of some unexpected downtime, however, which many hotels took advantage of during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic: the time and flexibility to make hotel renovations.
To continue to attract guests and keep up with competitors, consider making some of these renovations to your hotel.
1. Update your front entrance and lobby.
The front entrance and lobby are the first things that your guests will see when they get to your hotel, and earning a good first impression (which makes it more likely that guests will come back) means it’s worth it to invest in revitalizing these areas. Projects to freshen up the exterior of your hotel could be as simple as a power wash to brighten up the building and remove any dirt, or as thorough as redesigning and refurnishing your lobby to make it a more comfortable, inviting space for guests to spend time in.
Additionally, consider other details that increase convenience for guests: a coffee station with light snacks and hot drinks, TV screens that show the news and weather conditions, and clear signage that points to guest rooms, elevators, the fitness center, or the front desk.
2. Add extra sanitation and cleanliness measures.
The pandemic caused many hotels and travelers to increase their standards for cleanliness. In your next renovations or updates, consider putting in additional hand sanitizing stations, making gloves available for staff members, and enhancing cleaning protocols, a few methods that show your guests that cleanliness is a priority for your hotel.
Many hotels also made air handling a priority because of the pandemic, adding in air containment and sanitation systems that bring in more fresh air, help minimize guests’ exposure to germs in the air, and make indoor spaces smell better.
3. Make the space work-away-from-home friendly.
If they’re not required to be in the office, many workers may take their work on the go so they can take longer vacations without taking too much time off. Updates that make hotels more friendly to business travelers include semi-private spaces in the lobby where they can take phone calls, high-speed internet that’s easily accessible, and a desk with plenty of outlets — either in their room, or in a separate business center.
4. Upgrade technology around the building.
In addition to adding TVs and offering access to high-speed internet, digital renovations may include installing charging stations around your hotel, adding streaming services like Netflix and Hulu to in-room TVs, and adding smart technology to guest room TVs like touchscreen thermometers and tablets.
5. Improve accessibility.
While there are minimum accessibility requirements that every hotel has to meet, there are renovations you can add to make your hotel stand out from other options. Opportunities to make your hotel more accessible include adding more disabled spaces in the parking lot, installing power doors throughout the building for wheelchair access, and putting in wheel-in showers and safety handles in all bathrooms.
6. Make eco-friendly updates.
If you’re making other major renovations, consider going “green” by adding environmentally-friendly hotel solutions like water bottle refilling stations, reducing single-use plastics around the hotel, making recycling bins prominent, and printing signs that encourage guests to reuse their towels.
7. Create more comfortable guest rooms.
There’s a lot you can do to make guest rooms more comfortable, but hotel owners and managers can start with what the rooms are mainly used for: rest and relaxation. Simple guest room renovations include buying high-quality mattresses and pillows, easy-to-use blinds that darken the room at all hours of the day, and replacing worn-out linens with new towels and robes.
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