Guestroom to Dorm Room: Three Steps for Transforming Hotels Into Student Housing

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Converting a guestroom into a dorm room isn’t that difficult, according to Jeff Brainard, vice president of sales and marketing at Southern Management Corporation. “We just change how the room operates a little bit,” he says. Here is how his team transformed guestrooms at the Hotel at the University of Maryland and Cambria College Park into student housing.

1Bare Bones 

The first step for converting rooms is simple. “We strip out the linens, terry, and the bathroom and coffee amenities,” Brainard describes, noting that the property expects students to bring their own bedding, towels, and toiletries. “We also remove all of our marketing collateral from the rooms.” He adds that the rooms have a high-end design and come standard with work desks.

2Operations Update

Brainard says the properties have tweaked their housekeeping operations for the student housing floors, but it hasn’t been a difficult update. “Perhaps the biggest change is that we’re offering daily trash service, so trash bags need to be in the hall by a certain time for collection,” he explains.

3Student Guidelines 

Students coming to live in Southern Management’s properties are provided with guidelines regarding the typical dorm room essentials, like a minifridge or microwave. “We want to be sure these appliances are within the rooms’ electrical capabilities,” he notes.

Editor’s Note: Read about how higher education is offering hoteliers a new revenue stream here.


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Kate Hughes, Editor, LODGING Magazine