Post by Mike Stevens, Vice President, Project & Procurement, Hospitality Ventures Management Group
At Hospitality Ventures Management Group (HVMG), we specialize in turning around underperforming properties and as you might suspect, that frequently involves a major renovation. I’ve been involved in revitalizing dozens of hotels in a wide array of destinations, brand and service sectors.
Through it all, I’ve identified five team principles or “Ps” that are critically important to successful property renovations that I’d like to share with you.
Due diligence is the starting point of asset repositioning. It must be precise and agreed upon by the entire team in order to move forward. Many factors determine brand and asset needs and ultimately, what the property will become, such as:
- Market demand
- Brand conversion options
- Destination/ non- destination
- What sets it apart from the competition after renovation/repositioning
The budget, design and renovation timeline are dictated by these factors. They key is having the same vision and end goal throughout the team from operations, sales and marketing to design, architecture and construction. Getting the budget as accurate as possible with all visions aligned is a key to the success of the project.
Be the keeper of the budget. Allow for the unexpected, especially with older properties that can pose “what’s behind door #1” type challenges. Assembling and finalizing the budget takes a great deal of careful investigation, forecasting and knowledge. Allow for some movement, but ensure that you can clearly track the movements and changes before they occur. If you can plan around any delays that might occur, you can minimize any potential negative monetary impact. The budget is an ever-moving target and how well you “buy out the project” will also determine the success of the project.
Working through the project in spite of the many obstacles that come into play requires planning, planning and more planning. Simply put, you cannot plan enough. The key is to get your team in the “What is my next challenge, 3 steps before” mode of thinking. Like a good game of Chess, a wrong move can cost time and money, so expect the unexpected.
Lack of proper planning is the top reason that projects go over budget and past deadlines, so team leaders and the entire team must always think ahead of what can and cannot happen. What are the potential hold ups as the project progresses? Lead times on materials, weather delays and underperforming subcontractors can be major factors in the delay of a project.
A team that performs effectively as one and balances each discipline is an invaluable asset to a project’s success. Always revisit the due diligence phase; “buy out the project” with peak-performing subcontractors and ensure they can handle the project all the way through no matter what phase you are in.
Again, each part of the team needs to perform as a turn-key unit with unity at the expected level—design to procurement, procurement to jobsite, etc. It is imperative that all parts of the team understand the disciplines that will lead to a successful project. The team leaders need to maintain direction and focus throughout the project itself. Detailed scheduling and clearly established and stated goals make for a successful project.
Precisely scheduling every aspect of the project is vital to meeting the forecasted timelines and successfully finishing the renovation. Logistics coordination with every detail will help identify and “tie up” the loose ends. Conversely, not accurately forecasting materials and subcontractors needs and not verifying what is needed 10 steps ahead will kill a project schedule and destroy the bottom line.
By staying focused on the end goal during the entire project from “Point A to Point Z,” you can achieve success no matter how detailed and complicated the project.