The three Cs of success in hotel refurbishment

  18 SEPTEMBER, 2017      INDUSTRY INSIGHTS
Decorator knelt down painting wall with ladder behind him

Hotels are almost like living entities and cannot simply be put on hold when maintenance work becomes necessary or when upgrades are required.

Our strategic operations manager Jeremy Ford recently wrote an article for Hotel, Sport and Leisure magazine where he explained how, by working carefully around hotel staff and guests, any works can be completed quickly and efficiently with as little disruption as possible. Read the full article below. 

Guests are the lifeblood of a hotel, with the experience of each and every visitor ultimately shaping the reputation and the future prospects of anyone in the hospitality business. No establishment can afford to cause major disruption to its clientele during a period of redecoration or building works.
 
Years of experience in the sector have taught the team at Novus Property Solutions that the successful delivery of refurbishments to hotels requires a firm focus on the Three Cs: coordination, communication, and consideration.
 
Coordination

Coordination of the schedule of works with the activities of all the hotel management and staff prior to, during and after the period of the fit-out is key to the success of any hotel project. It is of paramount importance that the interaction between tradespeople, hotel staff and guests is meticulously planned, so that the chances of unwanted or unexpected disturbances are minimised.
 
Room refurbishments must be subject to carefully phased plans, so that sections of the building are segregated and the work carried out in an optimal order. A phased approach may take longer to complete, but it allows the hotel to remain operational throughout the works, and keeps the number of rooms unavailable at any given time to a minimum.
 
Communication

Clear lines of communication with hotel management during the planning stage are vital, but once the work gets underway there must be an equally strong focus on transparency and openness.

Using clear signage and physical barriers to segregate all works whilst under construction, and monitoring construction areas at all times, making sure that fire exit routes are kept clear and hotel guests are safe is essential when working within a live hotel environment. In some cases, customers may need to be redirected through temporary entrances to gain access to rooms, and both signage and in-person communication are used to help this process run smoothly.
 
Consideration

Being considerate of hotel guests is key to a smooth operation and happy guests and hotel management. Novus restricts the times of noisy works during a project to between 9am and 6pm on weekdays, with an even shorter time frame over weekends.

Novus also holds daily briefing sessions to keep hotel management fully informed about the works and activities they can expect on site that day. These briefings ensure everyone involved in the running of the hotel knows what to expect, and they give hotel staff the chance to ensure guests who may wish to sleep in late are booked into rooms away from the works.

Other considerations that can make all the difference include keeping compound areas to a minimum to maximise car parking spaces for guests. In some cases, Novus is able to utilise other sites to place the compound and use a “just in time” delivery service to minimise disruption when car parking or servicing arrangements are tight for space.
 
Successful hotel projects should run smoothly from day one, and you can often tell when a project has been well planned and managed, because no one at the hotel will be talking about it – if staff and management are well briefed, and the workforce is considerate, there will be little need to discuss the works.
 

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SOCIAL HOUSING MAINTENANCE: INVOLVING TENANTS USING TECHNOLOGY

SOCIAL HOUSING MAINTENANCE: INVOLVING TENANTS USING TECHNOLOGY

Households living in private rented properties have more than doubled since 2001, and analysis from PwC UK suggests that by 2025 there will be more people privately renting in the UK than owning property.  The growing agenda requires greater involvement of tenants. It is set to ensure that they will have access to information about any changes that will occur in the building they live in and must be notified when fire prevention systems are checked, as well as gas, electric and water structures. Tenants will be consulted and offered choice wherever possible. They must also be able to make comments or observations about the building, and report these efficiently.  The challenge  Digitalisation in the private renting sector means that tenants are beginning to expect more from social housing providers, but 57% of the landlords that Halton Housing surveyed last year said that less than half of their current customer transactions involve digital technology.  As a result, Britannic technologies found that nearly 80% of customers feel that there is a lack of omnichannel support from their provider, and 81% had not had a positive customer experience at all. There are some improvements to be made, and it is time to tackle this challenge head-on.  The opportunity, and the role of technology Social housing maintenance contracts are one of our primary sectors of operation at Novus. Effective customer communication and support is promised from the outset by our dedicated Customer Care Team, which will engage with your tenants to identify and accommodate their needs. We are looking to further improve and digitalise our methods of communication by implementing a variety of new media and technologies.  73% of landlords claim that “meeting customer needs” is their biggest driver to use modern technology in communications, while 79% agree that increasing efficiency through better use of resources is theirs.  Technology could be about to change the way landlords manage their properties and communicate with tenants, and if they implement new technologies they could see an increase in satisfaction and retention rates. Social housing companies should consider how they will adapt to the changes that modern technology has enabled, as falling behind is likely to cause complications in the future and impact the success of the business.  Putting technology into practice  Day-to-day communications can be vastly simplified and improved by implementing technology. Whether that is through a text to confirm an appointment or the ability to communicate with landlords via an online chat feature.  Richard Jacques, letting director at Purplebricks, finds that 60% of activity happens when traditional estate agents are closed, so the company has given landlords and tenants access to a secure portal which enables them to liaise with each other 24/7.  There are also opportunities to use artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) when it comes to social housing maintenance. Tenants can report repairs online using AI diagnostic tools, or see proposed changes to communal areas for themselves using AR or VR. Ana Nekhamkin, Managing Director at Inhabit, explains how technology provides the opportunity to enhance the resident experience and create operating efficiencies for landlords.  One way of deciding how to best utilise technology in your housing association is to consider a current problem or disruption and look for a technology solution to assist you.  Why should I consider this? Increasing the use of digital technology could be a great way to cut costs, drive efficiencies and above all, improve services for tenants. There are also benefits when it comes to safety and the environment, and the quality of products is likely to improve with the greater precision and reliability that technology offers.  Alongside all of this, implementing technology is likely to positively impact the health and wellbeing of your tenants. Simplifying processes and offering more choice will reduce the stresses that typically come hand-in-hand with some of the more traditional methods of correspondence.  Balancing act  For almost half of social housing landlords, the key driver to use modern technology is to reduce overall cost. However, some have been slow to adopt technologies that do not directly benefit them in the short-term, despite certain technologies increasing efficiencies for both landlords and tenants.  An efficient and timely customer experience has become a baseline expectation. In fact, 42% of consumers cited a quick resolution as the most important element within customer service.  Balancing tenant demand and leaseholder restrictions can be a challenge, but customer satisfaction is not the place to cut corners. Technologies that have been developed and applied in other fields are low risk, and could be a great place to start.  Ensure you are getting it right by conducting tenant consultations. 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