Why Does the Shower Leak and There Aren’t Enough Outlets?

Casino Resort Hotel Room Renovations

How to avoid costly building errors impacting guest satisfaction

Designers – design.
Architects – draw.
GCs – build.
Owners – own.
Operators – operate.
Controllers – control.

The truth is that each of these players in the building of your new casino hotel have an important role – however, one piece is missing. The coordinating efforts of a great “hotel advisor,” also known as an owner’s agent or an owner’s rep.

Now, you might say that you’ve already got an owner’s agent to protect you … but does your owner’s agent know gaming and hospitality?

We all have been in hotels where it just didn’t seem like anyone was talking to each other during the construction and design of the property. To name just a few of these issues:

  • Lamps with long stretched out cords to reach the nearest outlet.
  • Oversized lounge tucked into the corner so that you can’t get around to the other side of the bed.
  • Faux blackout curtains that you can’t get closed to be able to sleep at night.
  • Furniture that is poorly crafted and shows wear easily and can’t be cleaned.
  • HVAC vents that blow cold air on sleeping heads.
  • Toilets that are too close to the tub or sink, or toilet paper rolls that are too far away to reach.
  • Showers that get you wet when turning them on and leak on the bathroom floor.
  • Desks and counters with no space for your stuff.
  • No outlets where you need them, or they’re already occupied by other appliances.
  • Doors that slam.
  • Walls that leak noise from the room next door.
  • TVs and Technology that either don’t work, are too complicated, or have less features than you have at home.
  • Phones with buttons that can’t be read and don’t call the department you need help from.
  • Uncomfortable chairs and beds.
  • Lamps that don’t allow you to read in bed.
  • Not enough storage for clothes in closets and drawers.
  • Corners that you hit in the night.
  • Etc., etc., etc.

These are all symptoms of a common problem. Lack of coordination. You see, designers mean well. They do make your hotel pretty.

Architects mean well, too. They draw up plans based upon the owner’s directions (do it like this casino hotel I visited last month, but with our style), while using current building codes and mitigating changes from the designer and input from other contributors.

Contractors also mean well. They build with a goal of coming in under budget and early, while managing the complexities of weather, TERO, change orders, multiple opinions, sub mistakes, designer modifications, budget creep, and other unforeseen issues.

Owners, operators and the controller are then left to run the property, adapting to these lack of coordination issues, usually by throwing more money at the problems and all the while, affecting guest perceptions. All of this could be avoided by hiring someone to facilitate coordination, with the owner’s best interest in mind.

The “Hotel Advisor” would begin by immersing into the operation to understand the culture, tradition and goals moving forward for the operation and the Tribal Owners. Having an understanding of the casino business and Tribal culture, a holistic approach that balances these attributes, will be forefront in how to proceed.

The building of a model room is smart, and money well spent. It can save considerably and solve awkward issues on a small scale. On one project, the model room total cost was $200,000, however in reviewing the finished design, changes to the room reduced the overall construction cost by $1.2 million.

The model room was also an invaluable marketing and operating tool. Tours of the model room allow the sales team to pre-sell rooms, months before the hotel opened, generating significant revenue right from the beginning. Players received an advanced preview of the property, getting them excited about the new amenity they would soon enjoy. The operations team used the room to train housekeepers on how to clean and to allow other support departments, such as the front desk and room service teams, to use the room to better do their jobs.

The early and ongoing coordination meetings solved many of the awkward design flaws, which allowed them to be corrected with little to no change in cost.

  • Meetings with the electrical sub and the interior designer, for example, corrected the placement of power outlets behind lamps and devices, eliminating the eyesore of long cords between them.
  • Educating HVAC contractors prior to specifying the air units and placement of vents, eliminates one of our guests’ most common complaints about their rooms.
  • Honest conversations with owners about quality expectations early in the process so that adequate funding is provided and not done late in the project when the cost has a greater impact to the budget or requires value engineering.
  • Including technology discussions early in the process so that required infrastructure is accounted for in construction and budgeted properly.

This is a small list of examples, but they still have a huge impact on the success of your project, both in the return on investment, and in the return on quality and guest perception. There is much more that the correct “Hotel Advisor” can positively impact in your new hotel project. Contact Raving today at 775-329-7864 to learn more about how our team of experts will help you create a seamless experience during your build to keep operations uninterrupted; from proper guest service training prep, to specialized marketing and operations coordination.

Brett L. Magnan