During the Great Recession, the decline in hotel operating performance left very limited, if any funding for hotel renovation reserves. In recognition of these challenging times, hotel brands were more flexible with their franchisees in enforcing property improvement plans and capital renovation cycles, resulting in the deferral of capital expenditures. Today, lodging demand has recovered and hotels are busier than ever, thanks to the strengthening economy and increased travel. According to Smith Travel Research, overall occupancy rates across the U.S. were reported to finish the 2013 year at a 2% increase from 2012; RevPAR over this same period was up 2.1%.
With the return of the business traveler, and continued improvements in the group lodging segment, hotel owners are no longer able to defer reinvesting into their properties. Franchisors are becoming increasingly stringent on enforcing PIPs (Property Improvement Plan) to ensure their products are in competitive condition to meet the expectations of the discerning guest. Additionally, hotel development is on the rise, opening newer and more modern hotels in many markets, and raising the competitive standard. Faced with increasing competition, hotel brands and owners are not only focusing on refurbishment plans, but showing a strong interest in keeping up with modern room trends and brand schemes. A recent trend in guestroom furnishings has become overwhelmingly popular among some of the larger, full-service brands. Recently, Creation Hospitality provided several full-service Marriott properties in Florida and Louisiana that are undergoing full renovations with Quartz Stone tops for the guestroom casegoods. At each of these properties, contemporary and elegant colored quartz tops have been placed over the guestroom desk, entertainment unit, and mini bar or storage cabinets. Mr. Eric Fong, Principal of Creation Hospitality, states that, “Adding a stone top to a furniture piece not only provides a unique design element and upscale finish, it clearly extends the life of the furniture. Hotels undergo a great deal of use during high-seasons, and over time, the casegoods tend to get scratched or damaged, but putting a strong barrier above it, such as a granite or quartz surface, protects it for an even longer period of time.”
Mr. Shaukat Chaudhry, President of AmeriLodge Hospitality Group, a hotel management group based in Rochester Hills, Michigan, has completed significant renovations at several of his properties in recent months, converting to new room schemes that include Quartz and Imported Marble stone tops on their furniture units. “Many years ago, when we built our hotels, renovation plans typically included new bedroom furniture with a customary veneer finish or high pressure laminate surface above the desk tops. However, it is starting to become a standard at all of our properties to place stone tops on all of the guestroom entertainment units, desks, nightstands, or end-tables. It gives our guests a unique experience and keeps the ‘WOW factor’ alive.” The AmeriLodge Group is currently building two ground-up construction Marriott properties with ultra-luxury stone finishes in all of the guestrooms, as part of the brand’s new generation scheme.
Many years ago, guestrooms would showcase an ordinary desk, adjacent to the armoire or credenza unit, and free-standing nightstands between the guest beds. However, current guestroom designs are beginning to tell a more unique story when guests open the door on their first visit to the property. New guestroom designs and rollouts are reviving the guestroom experience, with brand packages that now include the entertainment unit and desk/work area as one large modular piece accented with a Quartz top.