To “renovate” means to make new.  New life.  New ideas.  New experiences.  

There are three typical cycles in a hotel’s life: refresh, soft renovation, and complete renovation. Whichever type of reno you need, it’s essential to keep your hotel up-to-date, or your guests will fade as fast as you do. 

Most hotels do some kind of refresh every five to seven years. A renovation is not only about replacing worn-out furniture and mattresses. These days, hotels need to be up to standard, fresh, and technologically current. Because of COVID, many hotels continue to make small changes as we all rethink how guests operate in a hotel environment. 

JAI has executed many remodel projects for brand clients as well as independent hotel owners. We have learned several valuable tips along the way.

5 Things To Consider Before Your Renovation

TIP #1: Tell A Story With Your Renovation

It may be a new concept for you to think of your hotel as telling a story. As hospitality designers, we aim to provide location-specific elements that help guests feel anchored to their surroundings. As we approach design, we consider a hotel’s location and incorporate symbols and representations of local history, landmarks, culture, and tourist destinations into our plans.  

Our recent design of the Cambria Hotel in St. Petersburg, FL, is a perfect example of how to tell a location-story through design.  Although this project was a new build and not a remodel, it shows how you can weave the surrounding area into your guest’s experience. 


Likewise, the remodel of the Courtyard by Marriott in Baton Rouge, LA, is another example of location-storytelling. Its colors and artwork remind guests of the rich culture and culinary experiences of the deep south.


TIP #2: Develop A Renovation Strategy

It’s important to take a disciplined approach to any renovation project. Is it a complete remodel, or are you only focusing on specific areas and amenities? Either way, you will need a roadmap that shows how to move from one step to the next. 

If you want to prevent the project from snowballing and overextending your budget, you’ll want your remodel team to work together within specific guidelines. Discipline and boundaries may seem challenging to the creative, visionary people on the team, but it will ensure that the final result is beautiful and within budget.

In 2018, JAI was chosen as the interior designer to join the SeaTac Marriott Renovation renovation project. We worked with an incredibly strong renovation team and had excellent communication throughout the project. With a clear plan and a collaborative approach, this project was a huge success. 


TIP #3: Take A Phased Approach

It’s exciting to think about your renovation’s final results and want to dive into the deep end of the project. However, you want to consider how your project will affect your revenue and your guests’ stay. You don’t want your guests to feel inconvenienced or annoyed. Avoid the risk of bad reviews, canceled stays, or a lack of motivation to rebook in the future. Consider a phased approach to renovation whenever possible.

Guest rooms are the easiest part of the hotel to renovate.  You can close individual floors while the rest of the accommodations remain open for business-as-usual. If it’s time for your public spaces to remodel, work with your renovation team to create a plan for convenient lobby, restaurant, pool, and fitness room access for guests. 

JAI recently designed a common-area renovation on the Courtyard by Marriott in downtown Greenville, SC, and the design accommodated guests and exceeded the owner’s expectations. 


TIP #4: Consider A Soft Renovation

Making permanent changes to your overall property may be desirable, but a minimally-invasive soft renovation may be all you need. Upgrading fabrics, soft seating, carpet, drapery, and artwork can create a whole new experience for guests and refresh your overall appearance. 

Guests get their first impression of your hotel in the lobby. A soft renovation of the lobby and common areas can make a big difference. If you want to do something more dramatic without going for a total renovation, consider a soft remodel with a few additional updates, such as:

  • Front desk 
  • Ceiling elements 
  • Bar Design
  • Banquettes
  • Business Center
  • Media Wall

Take a look at three current hospitality design solutions you should consider if you’re thinking about a remodel. 


TIP #5: Improve The Customer Experience

Every decision about your renovation should be made with your guest in mind.  Consider their first impressions and how easily they can access what they need during their stay.  Guests appreciate aesthetics but also desire ease of service.  Thoughtfully designed spaces for dining, sleeping, working, and connecting provide travelers with rich experiences and minimize inconveniences and disappointments.

While the hospitality industry started with providing a place for sleeping, it has evolved into what we see today. Despite all the changes I’ve seen since COVID changed our industry—and over the previous twenty years—one thing always remains the same. 

The guest will always be at the center of everything we do. 


Thinking About A Hotel Renovation?

If you are designing a hotel or your hotel is ready for a renovation, it is important to work with an interior design firm that understands how exceptional design affects your guests’ experience and your bottom line. It’s possible to receive a quality, thoughtful design that stays within your brand standards and keeps your budget in line. 

As the industry begins to experience an increase in travel and a correlating rise in occupancy and cash flow, make sure you look fresh and current. The future success of your accommodations could depend on the decisions and actions you take today. With JAI, you and your guests will enjoy Design the Makes a Difference.

Contact me directly to discuss your project: