flexiblefullpage -
billboard - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
Currently Reading

Renovations could be hospitality’s stopgap for next few years

Hotel Facilities

Renovations could be hospitality’s stopgap for next few years

Modular and prefab construction are already more prominent.


By John Caulfield, Senior Editor | August 5, 2020
Renovation of the Plaza Hotel at Pioneer Park in El Paso, Texas

The $78 million renovation of the 131-key Plaza Hotel at Pioneer Park in El Paso, Texas, was completed in June. The team, which included Cooper Carry and Forrest Perkins, reimagined the 1930s hotel with an eye toward establishing the facility as a regional destination. The lobby includes an intimate library (pictured). Photo courtesy Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park

    

Their clients don’t expect the hospitality sector to fully recover from the coronavirus outbreak for at least two years. And while AEC firms serving this sector say they’ve restarted hotel projects that had been put on hold during the pandemic, they also foresee mostly renovation and adaptive reuse, rather than new construction, in their immediate futures.

“Compared to other sectors, hospitality is probably only better than retail at this point,” says Bob Winter, PE, Director of Hospitality for the engineering consultant IMEG.

Even PCL Construction—which as of early June was working on 39 hotel/resort projects, including a first-of-its-kind immersive adventure resort, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser at Disney World in Florida—expects the negative impact from COVID-19 to “linger for years,” says Bob Hopferberg PCL’s Vice President of National Business Development.

Some firms say they are girding for a spate of hotel foreclosures over the next 12 to 18 months. Distressed and half-built assets will be in demand among private equity firms, and some of these properties will likely be renovated and converted to multifamily, mixed use, or student housing.

 

HKS evaluated more than 15 manufacturers with modular and industrialized construction capabilities to discover the most advantageous solutions for recent design projects such as prefab bungalows for a private island resort. Courtesy HKS

To save time and money, more hotel building teams are turning to prefabrication and modular construction. HKS evaluated more than 15 manufacturers with modular and industrialized construction capabilities to discover the most advantageous solutions for recent design projects such as prefab bungalows for a private island resort. Courtesy HKS

 

While HKS sees the prospects for new hotel construction in the remainder of 2020 as “bleak,” it is also seeing positive signs for renovations meant to reposition existing buildings. “The mixed-use developments that have a residential component continue to show good health,” say Luis Zapiain, HKS’s Director of Hospitality, and Jennifer Dohrmann-Alpert, its Senior Hospitality Advisor.  

“Most hotel owners and operators are looking at strategies that do not require physical architectural changes,” observes Nancy J. Ruddy, Founding Principal and Director of Interior Design with CetraRuddy in New York. She’s seeing hotels planning soft reopenings that span over three months, after which owners will reassess what’s working over six- and 12-month intervals until a vaccine is available.

 

Renovation projects to make hotel guests feel safe

Hotel survival is all about rebuilding guests’ confidence about their safety, and their comfort about traveling again. HKS created a document that provides guidelines for welcoming guests back, with a priority on safety and wellbeing. “Operational procedures have been changed, likely permanently, affecting everything from check-in/registration, housekeeping, room service, food and beverage, and use of amenities,” adds Tom Philippi, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, Design Principal at SmithGroup’s Dallas office.

Hotels desperate to win back customers are now engaged in what Randy Shelly, Executive Vice President–Hospitality for Shawmut Design and Construction, calls a “competition for cleanliness.” As a result, Shelly expects the renovation cycle for existing hotels to shorten after the pandemic, which might ultimately help hotels increase their revenue per available room.

The biggest change occurring at hotels is the increasing importance of their food and beverage offering. “When designing hotels, one of the first questions is: How can we bring F+B into this space? We expect to see more areas in the hotel become flexible spaces to dine informally. The entire hotel could become a great F+B experience,” says Bob Neal, a Principal with Cooper Carry’s Hospitality Studio. He, like other AEC sources, is seeing a spurning of buffets (which are highly profitable but can be infection traps) in favor of prepackaged room service and grab-and-go areas in lobbies and corridors.

The other prominent renovation trends for hotels is creating a touchless environment that minimizes the spread of air- and liquid-borne diseases. For that effort, “technology is coming front and center,” says Ruddy. Guest rooms will include enhanced in-room technology to accommodate guests who want to spend more time in their rooms working or relaxing.

In June, the hotelier citizen M introduced safety standards that include a mobile app that allows guests to create a keycard they can use to get into their rooms, order food, and control their in-room environment. The app streamlines contactless check-in/out, payments, and in-room service requests.

“We see hotels and resorts developing more ‘touchless’ interactions at all levels,” says Chad Wisler, PE, LEED AP BD+C, Managing Principal at Vanderweil Engineers’ Boston office. These interactions range from front-of-house entrances to guests’ use of their mobile devices for their virtual room keys, charge accounts, and menu and amenity selections. “COVID-19 has forced this sector (and clients) to adopt this new paradigm,” says Wisler.

Technology will also play a bigger role in hotel sanitization. For example, PCL has developed what it calls a Hygiene Lighthouse, which deploys Far-Ultraviolet bulbs that can kill 99.99% of pathogens quicker and more efficiently than other UV or traditional methods for cleaning rooms, housekeeping carts, and bell carts. 

But what hotel owners also need to be cautious about, warns IMEG’s Winter, is not allowing technology and cleanliness to make their properties bland, sterile, and impersonal in ways that dissipate “the social aspects that drive the business.” 

 

Hotel design: A bigger push for prefab and modular options

As the hospitality sector claws its way back to something resembling normal, certain venue types could recover faster. Philippi of SmithGroup cites extended-stay and apartment-style hotels. Wisler of Vanderweil Engineers—which now leans toward design-assist delivery—thinks experience-based resorts and wellness retreats will be in demand. Shelly of Shawmut Design and Construction says hotels in New York are looking at their properties as “mini mixed-used developments” and are focusing on using “engaging public spaces” to connect with their surrounding neighborhoods. Shawmut is also seeing hotels in southern California redesigning spaces to activate revenue; he points specifically to the Four Seasons Westlake Village that turned lobby space into a bar and restaurant area.

CetraRuddy and SmithGroup are among the AEC firms that see connections to the outdoors and nature becoming more common to hotel/resort design and wellness programming. 

 


ALSO SEE: Why clean is the new green in the U.S. hospitality sector

Why clean is the new green in the U.S. hospitality sector

Three design firms share their takes on what will make customers more comfortable about returning. Read the article.


 

While luxury hotels foundered during the pandemic, firms like Shawmut and HKS believe affluent guests will eventually return to these venues. “On the bright side, investors are still buying hotels, and the focus has shifted to ultra-luxury or to limited service/select service properties,” observe Zapiain and Dohrmann.

They’re also seeing modular design “making waves” in the hospitality sector. HKS has been working with suppliers “to refine and develop their hospitality products” for recent projects that include prefab bungalows for a private island resort and a fully modular urban hotel in Anchorage, Alaska. HKS estimates that prefabricating guest rooms in factories can reduce a project’s schedule time by up to 50% and its construction budget by 20%.

Prefabrication “is a major push” in hospitality, concurs Matt Murphy, Commercial Core Market Leader with DPR Construction. Applications range from full modular units to prefab bathrooms, electrical rooms, and exterior skin systems. For AC Marriott in Phoenix, DPR used a prefab structural system from Digital Building Components; the JW Marriott in Charlotte, N.C., features prefab bathrooms from SurePods. “We anticipate this trend will increase, post-pandemic, as contractors look at ways to limit on-site labor and the challenges of COVID-19 prevention measures such as social distancing,” says Murphy.

Related Stories

Hotel Facilities | Jan 23, 2023

U.S. hotel construction pipeline up 14% to close out 2022

At the end of 2022’s fourth quarter, the U.S. construction pipeline was up 14% by projects and 12% by rooms year-over-year, according to Lodging Econometrics.

Fire and Life Safety | Jan 9, 2023

Why lithium-ion batteries pose fire safety concerns for buildings

Lithium-ion batteries have become the dominant technology in phones, laptops, scooters, electric bikes, electric vehicles, and large-scale battery energy storage facilities. Here’s what you need to know about the fire safety concerns they pose for building owners and occupants.

Cladding and Facade Systems | Dec 20, 2022

Acoustic design considerations at the building envelope

Acentech's Ben Markham identifies the primary concerns with acoustic performance at the building envelope and offers proven solutions for mitigating acoustic issues.

Sponsored | Resiliency | Dec 14, 2022

Flood protection: What building owners need to know to protect their properties

This course from Walter P Moore examines numerous flood protection approaches and building owner needs before delving into the flood protection process. Determining the flood resilience of a property can provide a good understanding of risk associated costs.

High-rise Construction | Dec 7, 2022

SOM reveals its design for Singapore’s tallest skyscraper

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) has revealed its design for 8 Shenton Way—a mixed-use tower that will stand 63 stories and 305 meters (1,000 feet) high, becoming Singapore’s tallest skyscraper. The design team also plans to make the building one of Asia’s most sustainable skyscrapers. The tower incorporates post-pandemic design features.

Modular Building | Nov 22, 2022

FullStack Modular prepares to begin work on its first California project

It will supply 200 complete modules for Treehouse Hotel’s first U.S. property.

Hotel Facilities | Nov 8, 2022

6 hotel design trends for 2022-2023

Personalization of the hotel guest experience shapes new construction and renovation, say architects and construction experts in this sector.

Hotel Facilities | Oct 31, 2022

These three hoteliers make up two-thirds of all new hotel development in the U.S.

With a combined 3,523 projects and 400,490 rooms in the pipeline, Marriott, Hilton, and InterContinental dominate the U.S. hotel construction sector.

BAS and Security | Oct 19, 2022

The biggest cybersecurity threats in commercial real estate, and how to mitigate them

Coleman Wolf, Senior Security Systems Consultant with global engineering firm ESD, outlines the top-three cybersecurity threats to commercial and institutional building owners and property managers, and offers advice on how to deter and defend against hackers. 

Hotel Facilities | Oct 12, 2022

Global hotel chain citizenM opens its first Chicago property and its fifth of the year

citizenM, a global chain of affordable luxury hotels, has opened its first Chicago property—its fifth opening of 2022.

boombox1 - default
boombox2 -
native1 -

More In Category




halfpage1 -

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021

 



Magazine Subscription
Subscribe

Get our Newsletters

Each day, our editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.

Subscribe

Follow BD+C: