March 17, 2016

Judicious refurbishment is the way forward for many of Singapore’s hotels. In the current competitive market, cost-effective and guest-friendly refurbs are needed to protect investment and deliver the best product.

Following considerable growth in Singapore’s hotel industry over the past 10 years, tougher times have now hit. New supply in the market is driving an especially competitive situation, with hoteliers under pressure to evolve their service experience through innovation and cost-effectiveness.

New-build room stock continues to increase, making it all the more important for existing hotels to compete successfully. Older properties may need renovation and refurbishment to optimise value, maintain a competitive market position, reflect brand development or modernise the facility.

The refurbishment market presents challenges for developers, operators and contractors as they seek to meet design, construction and operational requirements during renovation. Inevitably, there are scheduling issues, as operators are understandably reluctant to decommission rooms and lose revenue.

Singapore has no substantial off-peak season, so refurbishment may have to be managed in phases within a live hotel environment. Faithful+Gould explores multiple phasing options with developers and operators, aiming for minimal operational disruption while maintaining revenue streams as much as possible. Their feasibility studies use modelling strategies to plan productivity rates and room out of order counts for the room refurbishments. Typically, they explore the number of room nights that will be offline and compare against expected occupancy rates, together with plans for progressive room handover as necessary.

When scheduling, it’s important to consider the need for segregation between guests and the construction workforce, focusing on noise and disturbance, together with careful guest routing. Movement of workforce and materials on to and around the site, together with construction waste management, also needs to be planned to ensure minimal impact to guests.

A successful refurbishment focuses on the aspirational look and feel of the new facility, the compliance issues (brand standards and building codes) and the operational effects of the construction works. Whether converting from one brand to another, or upgrading to meet market expectations, it’s important to understand how revenue will be affected, both during and after the refurbishment. Hence, providing clients with estimates and forecasts for ROI calculations, setting the project up to deliver a quality product at an efficient cost are crucial to suit their objectives.