Recession No More? Hotels Ramp Up Renovations

With sales up — but satisfaction down — hotel owners are putting more work into their facilities, a new survey says.

Event planners, take notice: After years of holding steady, the hotel industry is moving full steam ahead with improvements.

A new survey by New York University’s Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management shows that hotel owners, battered by the recession, are working hard to improve their offerings again, and are likely to spend $5 billion on improvements in 2012.

And based on recent hotel-goer surveys, not a moment too soon: J. D. Power and Associates’ 2012 North America hotel guest satisfaction index study shows that satisfaction levels among hotel-goers are at some of their lowest levels in years.

Social media make all flaws public. There’s no hiding behind an out-of-style dust ruffle anymore.

Some hotel brands taking the renovation plunge:

  • InterContinental Hotels Group: After spending the past three years working on renovations of its Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express brands, it has now started working on its Crowne Plaza hotels.
  • Mariott: The company is working on renovations to its lobbies in its Courtyard by Mariott hotels in an effort to encourage more working and socializing.
  • Starwood: The owners of the Westin Peachtree Plaza in Atlanta are working on $45 million in renovations to its guest rooms and hallways, as well as another $30 million for public area improvements.
  • Hyatt: Bucking the trend, the company used the recession as an opportunity to improve its offerings while construction costs stayed low. Among the hotels to get a makeover: the Grand Hyatt New York, which got $130 million in improvements.

Could bad press be a driver behind the change? With the rise of social media, that’s a possibility. “Social media make all flaws public,” Henry Harteveldt of Atmosphere Research Group told The New York Times. “There’s no hiding behind an out-of-style dust ruffle anymore.”

Do recent renovations play in your decision as to where to hold an event? Leave a note in the comments.

(TMG archive photo)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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