With reduced income for properties, how are guest expectations met over the next 12 months?
To put it bluntly; 2020 has been a shitshow. The good news is, for refurbishments we have a program in place to meet budgets set by previous year on year cost forecasts. But we need time to plan; we need double the lead time of previous projects.
Traditionally, this is how it worked:
Brief > Concept > Design > Prototypes > Production > Installation
These steps remain the same, but each one is tweaked. The following outlines some of the changes:
- Brief - We all need to understand new rules of what is required in a hotel room. For example, how can accommodation can be deep cleaned?
- Concept – During this step, we need to keep in mind what is available. For furniture, we see the “off the rack item” going towards plastic furniture. Beautiful, custom furniture will still be available using prototypes but to ensure seamless project completion, keeping in mind what is available, and how, is crucial at the point of concept.
- Design - The final design needs to be more specific and more defined than ever. Every detail needs to be noted and planned precisely. Understanding how each piece will be produced and the logistics of installation during the design phase will reduce costs and timeframes throughout the rest of the project.
- Prototypes - This is the most critical part. When importing furniture, prototypes need to be produced for every item to production standard. Time needs to be allowed for adjustments to the prototype as the project cannot progress until these prototypes are signed off by the client. Initially 2 identical prototypes are produced; one stays with the factory and the other with the client. Previously approval could be given within hours of the prototype being completed with a visit directly to the factory, making changes onsite and within 48 hours have a complete prototype. COVID restrictions on travel and the supply chain mean prototypes need to be freighted in from overseas. This is the new delay we need to allow for to maintain the budgets of previous years.
- Production – Factories are essentially operating back at 100% capacity. There is a new freight schedule to allow for paperwork and two weeks at sea for foreign ships, but this only affects the “fast” nine-day boat.
- Installation - This needs to be booked as far in advance as possible as many install companies have pivoted into cleaning companies thought out 2020 (as have we all). Unfortunately, some no longer exist leaving others to try to fill any gaps.
In essence anything and everything is still possible given time. With generous lead times, we can still furnish beautiful rooms to a budget with detail that is better than ever ensuring the guest experience is exceeded for years to come. Over the next few years it would be a shame for guests to stay in recently furbished but underwhelming rooms. Increased complexity and restrictions on furniture supply doesn’t have to mean reducing the guest experience to standard off the rack products.
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