Navigating the Changing Business Model of Hotel Construction
Hotel construction management has, without a doubt, outgrown the age-old business model of mass-produced blueprints to brick and mortar construction. There’s more to new hotel construction than a prime highway location, a big name chain logo, and 155 standard size guest rooms. Gone are the days of patchwork renovation projects; fresh paint, new curtains, and ceramic tile can’t save a hotel from its inevitable demise due to declining occupancy. During the next decade, the hospitality management company’s profitability and success ratio will depend on securing a new business model, one that didn’t even exist 10 years ago. Hotel management companies need to take a second look and predict further ahead, because the competition’s changing.
Big and small hospitality brands alike are increasingly feeling the effects of some new competitors like Airbnb, VRBO, and homestay internet companies like www.CouchSurfing.com and the more classic bed and breakfasts. The Millennial generation is seeking out less “corporate options.” Weekend and business travelers are passing on accruing hotel loyalty points and seeking out locations in mixed use developments, those that are walking distance to restaurants, and properties that fit their lifestyle. Hotel construction management needs to win over the customer with an experience far beyond the basics. The ambiance, the aromas, the local flair and character of the property are just as important to the hotel guest as is a quiet night’s sleep and excellent service. Building a hotel means building an impression on the guest – one that makes them want to explore the central public spaces, stay for drinks at the bar, and eventually recommend it on TripAdvisor and become a repeat customer themselves.
Learn From Other Business Models
Consider the transportation service business model. Uber and Lyft aspired to transform a stale market of old transportation options, limited to bus or taxi service, into a staggering new empire. Taxi service declined, drivers complained, and union leaders pushed back. But cities and governments were rapidly blindsided with this new transportation business model, and without a doubt, had to accept the market changes in order to progress towards the future.
Similarly, hotel construction management needs to adapt just as quickly to the ever-changing competition. Guests want their stay to be personalized. They want a destination for a weary traveler, a company’s convention space, and an all-inclusive family vacation. The property itself becomes the second home for each guest, and needs to satisfy those personal qualities to maintain competitiveness. Guests want to see responsible building practices, efficient use of space and resources, and environmentally friendly products and foods. The well-planned architectural design of the rooms and public meeting spaces are crucial to the perceived economic value of the entire stay, and are just as important as the food they are served and guest services they receive. Larger hotel brands are now customizing the construction of their properties from individual concept and design, to using LEED and other green building techniques and sustainable resources in order to serve the the niche market of their location. Big brands are addressing the homestay options with new sub brands like Home2 Suites by Hilton, and Marriott’s Aloft Hotels, serving customers who want something more than just a room, a bed, and a window. A new brand Tru by Hilton opened its second location this month and offers “a brand-new hotel experience that is vibrant, affordable and young-at-heart.” Witness Construction is continually looking for opportunities to evolve with the newest materials, design approaches, aesthetic trends, and technology to deliver projects that offer a competitive edge, while remaining fiscally responsible.
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