Tips for Drama-Free Hotel FF&E – Shipping & Receiving


A hotel construction or renovation project can become a major headache when things go awry. But by taking a few proactive steps and partnering with the right FF&E provider, your project will run more smoothly so you can enjoy your completed hotel and the journey it took to get there. With a focus on deliveries, we’ll discuss how to prevent mishaps.

So what, exactly, does it take to have a drama-free hotel FF&E project from a shipping and receiving standpoint?

There are three things that halt delivery drama before it can even begin:

  1. Planning
  2. Collaboration
  3. Communication


Detailed and thoughtful planning is the number one key to a successful FF&E shipping and receiving process. Ideally, your project team will include a general contractor and FF&E procurement provider with experience and specialization in hospitality, since they will know what to expect and can plan together more efficiently. Your procurement team needs to know your General Contractor’s timeline, schedule, and scope of work early on in order to plan deliveries accordingly and in sequence. Desired arrival dates will depend on the completion of construction or other GC deliverables. Without proper planning, FF&E shipments may show up with no team to receive them or with nowhere to be stored or staged.

Important early steps within a project team are establishing roles and realistic expectations for all phases of the project, and then incorporating those into the plan. For example, a good FF&E provider will highlight contingencies with a higher degree of risk that could impact the delivery schedule, such as known raw materials shortages or port congestion for imported goods. That way, when changes to the plan occur, it is easier for everyone to anticipate and make the necessary adjustments. In addition, it is up to the team to plan so that when trucks do arrive, the unloading area is clear and unobstructed, designated storage and staging areas are ready, all necessary equipment such as forklifts are present, and the site is fully prepped.

When it comes to planning, every little thing matters because it can easily become a big problem if overlooked. For example, consider a situation where a hotel’s elevator installation is incomplete or has not passed inspection when product starts to arrive. The project team now faces the immediate, demanding, and possibly expensive challenge of how to efficiently load product into the hotel. This is a nasty surprise.

Another important detail to keep track of is local building code requirements when obtaining the hotel’s certificate of occupancy. Some municipalities require certain FF&E products to be already installed, while others will not allow them to be there. The GC and procurement team should have an awareness of that municipality’s code requirements to develop a specific plan before deliveries begin.

With shipping and receiving, planning is everything and sequencing is huge. It pays to plan early, review the plan often, and make any changes with your team so everyone is on the same page.

Here are our top planning tips:

  • Plan early and involve your FF&E provider ASAP
  • Work with hospitality-specific professionals who have experience
  • Set realistic expectations
  • Know who on the team is responsible for what and make sure everyone knows the plan
  • Know that timing and sequence are key
  • Always have an up-to-date plan and timeline in-hand
  • Understand the instructions for receiving products


Although you have separate teams for FF&E and construction (and even operations, design, and architecture), they must collaborate effectively to make your project a success. Your FF&E team needs to know the plans, scope, and schedules for all trades and teams to ensure everything happens in sequence and to protect and preserve your products when they arrive. With constant coordination from the start between all teams, they can resolve any challenges before it’s too late.

A professional procurement team will educate you on the requirements and processes necessary to be ready for the shipping and receiving phase in a collaborative fashion. This includes how FF&E items are packaged, how many trucks will arrive, and how to inspect shipments for damage in order to file a claim. With this information, you’ll play an important role in helping ensure the receiving team is ready and will follow those requirements and processes.

A high-quality procurement provider will also appreciate the importance of collaborating with the GC to know where they are in the construction process. With accurate and honest information from the GC and systems in place to confirm readiness every step of the way, FF&E shipping and receiving can occur without last-minute surprises.

Here are our top tips on collaboration:

  • Connect all teams on the project early
  • Share all up-to-date information and changes
  • Get educated on requirements and processes
  • Collaborate by ensuring requirements and processes are followed
  • Confirm that the GC is providing accurate and honest information and updates


When teams don’t communicate with one another about project delays, unexpected mishaps, or schedule changes, things can get messy. Finger-pointing can occur. Therefore, check-ins with the GC at the right time can be invaluable, sometimes revealing construction delays that would make unloading deliveries impossible due to incomplete flooring or cluttered hotel entryways. For example, if your procurement provider learns that carpet deliveries are still sitting in an area designated for FF&E staging, they will need to come up with another staging area or work with the shipping team to delay deliveries until there is space to properly receive them. With open communication, there is still time to make changes so your budget and timeline stay intact as much as possible.

At Innvision, we see ourselves as a partner to the GC and all the other teams on the project, which is why we’re passionate about planning, collaborating, and communicating with them. Our procurement specialists are responsive, cooperative, and supportive hospitality professionals. We pay special attention to the logistical details of your project because we know that these details will ultimately determine whether your project is a smashing success or an agonizing nightmare. Our on- and off-site support and incredible attention to the little things make a big difference when it comes to shipping and receiving.

Your procurement provider should be a trusted partner who makes your life easier. At Innvision, we take the drama out of the hotel FF&E process so your project flows smoothly. If you’re ready to see how Innvision can make your hotel renovation or new construction drama-free, contact us today! We’d be happy to help.