FF&E and project management for hotel renovations

If you’re a hotel owner undertaking a renovation project, you want to know what you’re up against. Yet, certain obstacles are unique to a property based on the building, brand, project dynamics, and other circumstances, making them more difficult to anticipate. 

In a previous post, we discussed five common hurdles generally facing hotel owners during renovation. In this follow-up, we’ll reveal some lesser-known, property-specific challenges and situations to watch out for, along with how Innvision recommends that you tackle each one. 

Hidden Challenges: Accurate Drawings & Measurements 

Unless a hotel renovation is very minor, your interior designer will want to work with a current set of CAD drawings. After all, determining whether the new FF&E will fit is an important step to eliminate guesswork and risk. However, with some older hotels, depending on the prior owners and the information available, it is difficult for the present owner to locate CAD drawing files from the past. It can sometimes be a challenge to even find a basic pdf file of the property’s original architectural plans for the designer to have a starting point from which to work. 

Despite having architectural plans in a readable format, the “as-built” conditions on-site can be different than what the original construction documents specified. Even when there is an architect involved on a major renovation, they too may just be working from the original plans that don’t reflect actual dimensions. If modifications occurred during construction but there are no as-built drawings, the project team won’t know which changes to expect unless they ask questions, do research, and likely conduct on-site measurements. Without a partner to do this due diligence, there is risk of FF&E not fitting and mismatches between quantities and room types. 

Innvision recommends that when you acquire an existing hotel, you get digital files of all available building drawings, including as-built drawings, from the previous owner. Also ask whether any room types have changed and/or get a second set of eyes to review that. 

Innvision works with the architect, general contractor, and/or hotel owner, often face-to-face on property, to ensure accurate on-site measurements and seek out potential problems before they occur. A “pre-measure” site visit for verification is critical when procuring new bathroom vanities, window treatments, and other FF&E items that depend heavily on correct, precise dimensions with little room for error. It’s not always easy to get the needed information from each room during a measurement visit if the hotel is still open and many rooms are occupied, but it’s important. 

Hidden Challenges: Brand Conversions, Electricals, & More 

Other less obvious situations or trade-offs to look out for when renovating a hotel: 

  • When converting from one flag to another, a property’s guest rooms and bathrooms’ sizes and/or layouts can differ from the new flag’s prototype. The brand scheme and FF&E could need modifications to fit the rooms’ existing footprints. It’s best to have your design and procurement professionals work closely with your hotel brand’s designers in this situation. 
  • Existing electrical outlets may not be located in the right places to support the new room layouts and/or incoming FF&E. Having a design and procurement partner who does the due diligence to identify this issue early and locate where new outlets are needed can save time and headaches. It’s always best to move or add electrical outlets well in advance of product delivery and installation. 
  • Many hotel owners who are renovating do not shut their properties down during the project. They often refurbish one floor at a time, breaking FF&E shipments into smaller quantities per delivery. The good news is that by staying open, they can keep some guests and revenues coming in. The bad news is that this approach can be more costly from a shipping, storage, and installation standpoint. 
  • Sometimes hotel owners want to keep a few existing FF&E items while replacing others. Brand designers won’t always agree on which items to keep. Experienced hospitality design and procurement professionals are needed to effectively work around the existing product and assist in getting those items approved by the brand. 

Expert Advice 

As illustrated above, a renovation can present a hidden set of property-specific challenges and decisions for a hotel owner. Innvision recommends keeping accurate architectural plans, staying flexible, thinking creatively, and hiring a good hospitality design and procurement provider. 

Innvision serves hoteliers as an experienced guide, handling everything from understanding brand standards to choosing the best vendors to managing deliveries and installation, all while keeping a close eye on the entire process to spot and resolve issues before they become problems.  

Innvision is there at every step as hoteliers move through a renovation (or new construction), with its hundreds of moving pieces and thousands of variables. Innvision’s start-to-finish approach provides hoteliers a partner they can trust to own the details of design and procurement without losing sight of the true goal: getting the project done on time and on budget so the property can rent rooms and make money. Contact us today to learn how we can help you with your project.