When is it time to renovate?
According to global reports, the hospitality sector is investing in refurbishments more frequently and the driving force behind this is believed to be technology coupled with the overriding need to meet the demands of digital-savvy guests.
“Operator and investors typically work on seven-year cycles for room refurbishments, 15-year cycles for bathrooms and five-year cycles for food, beverage and public areas,” said the Colliers Capital Markets Australia & New Zealand Investment Review 2019.
However, Suresh Subramaniam, CEO of the U Hotel Group, noted an increase in the need to invest in relevant refurbishments and is of the opinion that hospitality properties need to be freshened-up every three years to remain up to date with guests’ needs. If all the new hotels are fitted-out with the latest technology, then the longstanding established properties need to be as well. It’s not just a trend, it’s critical if you want to remain competitive – which could mean a much shorter refurbishment cycle.
We asked VOASA members to weigh-in on the debate:
Peter Pienaar: General Manager – Business Development, Southern Sun Resorts
“There’s a basic cycle which could be anything between seven to ten years, but this could change based on general wear and tear. It’s seldom that a total refurbishment takes place all at once, as things like “softs” might be done sooner than a lobby upgrade, for example. We do try to co-ordinate major works to take place at the same time to minimize the impact on the guest experience. A large part of refurbishment planning also entails ensuring that modern trends, styles and technologies are incorporated, to ensure that the product remains relevant.”
Charlene Gibbon: Purchasing Manager, Legacy Hotels & Resorts
“I would not necessarily agree with the fact that refurbishments are taking place more often, but rather that refurbishments are changing the timeshare units into a far more modern look and feel. We no longer consider replacing mattresses and/or appliances as a refurbishment. As a Group we make use of a professional designer who specifies timeless pieces which are hard wearing and suitable for high use, but with a modern look and feel. We therefore only refurbish when necessary, which is normally around seven to ten years.”
Lara Pretorius: Senior Regional Resorts Manager, Beekman Group
“I agree. High occupancy levels in our units result in more wear and tear on our furniture and appliances. The expectations of our guests have also increased, and we need to keep up to date with the continuous change in market trends. Previously our guests expected a comfortable unit where they could sleep. Now they expect certain facilities within the unit such as Wi-fi connectivity, smart TV’s, gas hobs (for load shedding) and upmarket appliances.”
Charlene van den Berg Director: Administrative Services, Vacation Recreational Services
“While the industry is still feeling the effects of the various COVID lockdown regulations and the impact that has had on members, ensuring quality accommodation offerings is of utmost importance in our drive to provide exceptional holiday experiences. To this end, we prioritise eliciting input, feedback, and reviews from our guests, to facilitate our ongoing consideration and evaluation of guest experiences. This information is extremely helpful in assessing refurbishment needs, and, in many cases, affords us the opportunity to act quickly and proactively on smaller aspects, that can be addressed operationally.”
Brett Bailey: General Manager of The Strand Pavilion
“I agree. Conventional timeshare resorts previously had limited public rental availability supplied by the conventional owners placing their weeks into resort rental pools. Now that clubs have also joined the online travel agencies with short term stays and overnighters, we need to be as, if not more alluring, than B&B and hotel accommodations. Also, at our Resort we do not have the luxury to close sections off to do a refurbishment, so smaller refurbishments need to be done more often.”