The cost of refurbishment

We know that everything has a shelf-life or life-span, so carefully planning how and when to refurbish hotel bedrooms is key to the longevity of the product and effective budget management.

Questions arise such as the benefits of employing the services of a Project Manager (PM) rather than tackling the project by yourself. Consider the best use of your time – a PM may charge up to 12% of the cost but could potentially negotiate a saving of up to 15% on contractor costs and therefore pay their own way on the project.

All operators have to determine the timeframe for room and hotel refurbishment against return on investment. Begin with the end in mind, calculate how long the newly refurbished room will last and ensure that appropriate, realistic finance is in place. You’ll want to ensure your hotel is as fresh and attractive as possible, but need to manage how long rooms will be closed for and the associated loss of earnings.

To fully understand timescale, finance and repayments, look at the sales and client mix of your hotel. It then becomes more about size of room over type of room, and about maximising the available space in relation to timeframe of the investment. Fully analyse what’s required from each space. For example, spa guests spend much more than corporate clientele. They tend to stay within the hotel for longer, so besides the cost of spa treatments and associated products, they also have a higher F&B spend treatments, treating themselves to afternoon tea and coffee during the day. Investment in spa rooms will therefore have a quicker return than that of a corporate double for single occupancy.


An operator needs to understand how long the timescale is for depreciation. It is suggested that a bespoke refurbishment will have a life span of three to five years whereas a neutral general refurbishment may last between five to seven and others have been known to sweat the asset to as many as ten years.

There are many tips, suggestions and steps for effective bathroom refurbishment without compromising quality:

  • Paint instead of wallpaper
  • Create a neutral base then enhance with borders or pictures
  • Creative use of mirrors
  • New sink on the existing pedestal
  • Change the taps but using the existing sink
  • Invest in shower screens rather than curtains

It’s also essential to maximise light, allowing light to bounce around the bathroom as much as possible.

In bedrooms, techniques such as building a neutral palate and enhancing using cushions and soft furnishings all improve the product while keeping expenditure under control.


Concentrate on any innovations only after you’ve established your client base and target market, as effective market segmentation will aid in the refurbishment programme and help control costs. A family or group of friends using the hotel as a base to explore will use their bedroom less than a couple away on a romantic break. Whereas a guest who’s on business will require a decent working space with good WiFi, and may need access to a printer and conferencing call facilities.

Indeed, is your hotel suitable, and can it be tailored, for the corporate market? If so, consider creating meeting space which can also be used for private dinners, and break-out rooms which can be used for smaller meetings and workshops, then double up as a space for post-dinner drinks. Establishing who you’re marketing to and why is invaluable before making such decisions when it comes to refurbishment. Again, great WiFi is paramount for the business market.


If budget allows, money should be spent on the quality of the bed and pressure of the shower as guests won’t care if they’re staying in the most beautiful bedroom in the world if they can’t get a good night’s sleep or a decent wash in the morning!

So, understand who your clientele is and what they want. Then decide the features you’d like to invest in while never forgetting the benefits they’ll offer.

Victus Consultancy can help you with all aspects of hotel refurbishment, offering help, support and guidance every step of the way.