Hotel Renovation Challenges to Overcome in 2022

By Tom Baker, Managing Principal

Few would argue the past two years have brought on a myriad of changes for the hospitality industry. The sudden and dramatic rise of complex problems resulting from months of pandemic lockdown in 2020 and the fallout that followed continue to impact the day-to-day lives of hotel owners. While some took advantage of no to low occupancy by beginning a renovation during the pandemic, many opted to wait and see if sales would rebound and are now poking their toes back into the tepid water of change now that normalcy is within reach. Despite this, it’s wise to keep in mind that several key challenges must be overcome for those who wish to improve their guests’ experience in 2022 via a hotel renovation.

Top 4 Hotel Renovation Challenges in 2022:

1. Shortage of Skilled Construction Workers

In a recent article in Housing Wire, author G. Kromrei points out that many industries are bouncing back from 2020, offering tempting wages and career changes that look enticing to skilled workers as well as minimum wage employees. The lure is working and construction workers have switched professions at a surprising rate. Even as early as the last pop of the last housing bubble, some construction workers lost their jobs and turned to new careers before quarantine even hit. Many experts see a re-balancing happening in the not-too-distant future, but until then, there are ways to plan around this and other challenges.

2. Shortage of Lumber

The large demand for housing combined with recent wildfires and worker shortages due to the pandemic are the biggest reasons behind the current lumber shortage. The price of wood has skyrocketed as project backlogs grow. According to Forbes, the cash price per thousand board feet of lumber was at an incredible 288% increase year-over-year. The good news is that production of lumber products is up as well as companies rush to fill the need. For your project, it may be that your renovation can be completed with soft goods and the repurposing of under-used areas instead of expansion and tear-down.

3. Supply Chain Issues

Shortages of specific items have come and gone over time, but the pandemic has disrupted the global supply chains due to, once again, shortage of workers, materials, and time. As purchasing picks up, some businesses have reported turnaround so rapid that it’s been nearly impossible for them to stay on schedule. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, manufacturing and construction are the two highest industries suffering from supply chain disruptions. However, just as with the lumber shortage, the race is on to entice new truck drivers and get cargo shipping of all types running at full speed again. However, there’s no need to wait for that, a skilful re-arranging of priorities can also solve shipping issues.

4. Financing

Abrupt price increases are the apex of the challenges that surround hotel renovation. The rising need for workers comes with the rising need to compensate these workers. If you’ve been lamenting that projects seem to be more expensive by the day as timelines stretch, you’re certainly not alone. Securing financing is a great way to go, but is also feeling the crush. However, this phenomenon is also discouraging the casual investor. Hotel owners who want to expand or those serious few new to the game now have an rare opportunity.

Solutions

As a hotel owner, it might be worrisome to read about these challenges, but fear not— these challenges do have solutions, workarounds and even silver linings. For example, there’s never been a better time to have an outside consultant review or create your renovation plans. A person or firm with years in the business and many key contacts can make all the difference. At AHA, we take this a step further and look for ways you can save at the same time, plus increase your ADR. In the end of the planning process, you’ll be able to move forward with confidence, knowing the research and due diligence was completely covered.

Let’s talk. Use the quick form below and I’ll personally reach out.

– Tom Baker, Managing Principal

Sources:

  • The White House: https://www.whitehouse.gov/cea/written-materials/2021/06/17/why-the-pandemic-has-disrupted-supply-chains/ 
  • Family Handyman: https://www.familyhandyman.com/article/reasons-why-there-is-a-lumber-shortage/ 
  • HousingWire: https://www.housingwire.com/articles/construction-worker-shortage-has-reached-crisis-levels/ 
  • CoStar: https://www.costar.com/article/337565889/owners-face-challenges-with-new-build-renovation-projects 
  • Forbes magazine: https://fortune.com/2021/06/10/lumber-prices-2021-chart-price-of-lumber-production-wood-supply-costs-update-june/

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