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HTM SERIES

COMMON MISTAKES IN HOTEL


PLANNING, DEVELOPMENT
AND OPERATION
HOTEL DESIGN

August 2014
By Kai Schrter, General Director
HTM Management Consultancy

Common Mistakes in Hotel Planning, Development and Operation


HTM is pleased to introduce a new series
of Common Mistakes in Hotel Planning,
Development and Operation. This series
has been prepared in support of owners,
developers, architects, designers and
project managers of hotels.
The following presents the most common
mistakes in Hotel Design. It outlines
frequent errors and omissions occurring
during the design process, which can have
long lasting negative impacts on the
propertys management, operation and
return on investment.
Please subscribe to our regular updates at
sales@ht-management.com.

Common Mistakes in Hotel Planning, Development and Operation


Hotel developments are different they are very diverse and quite
complicated when compared to any other type of real estate investment
and property development. They involve complex and overlapping endto-end processes, multiple stakeholders, considerable strategic planning
and decision making, extensive technical know how and specialist
experience in project management, operational equipment, technical
services, pre-openings, management and operation of hotels.
Hotel developments are risky they are more time-consuming and
costly. By floor space, an average hotel can cost 3 times as much and
take 3 times as long to build. 6,500 different items go into a hotel
about 20 into an office block. An average 5 star hotel requires 27
different consultants and around 1015% of the budget, the preopening
over 10%. Few owners have experience with hotels, few architects
specialize in hotel design and few project management firms know how
to manage hotel development processes.

Common Mistakes in Hotel Planning, Development and Operation


Hotel developments require specific know how they frequently
attract financially potent owners with a background in various sectors
real estate, banking, law, tourism and others, and with a great deal of
vanity, but little experience in hotel development. This often leads to
wrong decision making in conceptualization, branding, design,
construction, management, operationand the failure of the hotel.

Common Mistakes in Hotel Planning, Development and Operation


Hotel Planning
Common Mistakes in Hotel Market Studies
Common Mistakes in Hotel Finance Studies
Common Mistakes in Hotel Property Evaluation
Common Mistakes in Hotel Property Site Selection
Common Mistakes in Hotel Investment Planning and Financing
Common Mistakes in Hotel Investment and Business Licensing
Common Mistakes in Hotel Conceptualization

Common Mistakes in Hotel Planning, Development and Operation


Common Mistakes in Hotel Branding
Common Mistakes in Hotel Architect Search and Selection
Common Mistakes in Hospitality Consultant Search and Selection
Common Mistakes in Hotel Master Planning
Common Mistakes in Hotel Business and Operation Models
Common Mistakes in Hotel Operator Search and Selection
Common Mistakes in Hotel Management Agreement Negotiation
Common Mistakes in Hotel Technical Services Contract Negotiation
Common Mistakes in Hotel Project Planning
Common Mistakes in Hotel Capital Expenditures Budgeting
Common Mistakes in Hotel Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment Reserves

Common Mistakes in Hotel Planning, Development and Operation


Hotel Design
Common Mistakes in Hotel Design
Common Mistakes in Hotel Access Design
Common Mistakes in Hotel Exterior Design
Common Mistakes in Hotel Interior Design
Common Mistakes in Hotel Operation and Work Flow Design
Common Mistakes in Hotel Public Area and Front-of-House Design
Common Mistakes in Hotel Back-of-House and Staff Areas Design
Common Mistakes in Hotel Guest Room Design
Common Mistakes in Hotel Engineering and Technical Design
Common Mistakes in Hotel Food and Beverage Conceptualization
Common Mistakes in Hotel Food and Beverage Outlet Branding
Common Mistakes in Hotel Food and Beverage Outlet Design
Common Mistakes in Hotel Kitchen and Laundry Design
Common Mistakes in Hotel Landscape Design

Common Mistakes in Hotel Planning, Development and Operation


Hotel Development
Common Mistakes in Hotel Project Manager Selection
Common Mistakes in Hotel Contractor Negotiations and Selection
Common Mistakes in Hotel Project Coordination and Implementation
Common Mistakes in Hotel Bill of Quantities
Common Mistakes in Hotel Quantity and Quality Surveillance
Common Mistakes in Hotel Construction and Site Supervision
Common Mistakes in Hotel Site Safety and Security
Common Mistakes in Hotel Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Common Mistakes in Hotel Utility Conservation and Environmental Protection

Common Mistakes in Hotel Planning, Development and Operation


Common Mistakes in Hotel Technical Services Coordination
Common Mistakes in Hotel Pre-Opening
Common Mistakes in Hotel Standard Operating Equipment Budgeting
Common Mistakes in Hotel Brand Development
Common Mistakes in Hotel Marketing, Sales and Public Relations
Common Mistakes in Hotel Human Resources Planning
Common Mistakes in Hotel Recruitment, Selection and Training
Common Mistakes in Hotel Testing, Commissioning and Handover

Common Mistakes in Hotel Planning, Development and Operation


Hotel Operation
Common Mistakes in Hotel Soft-Openings
Common Mistakes in Hotel General Management
Common Mistakes in Hotel Strategic Positioning and Pricing Policies
Common Mistakes in Hotel Brand Development
Common Mistakes in Hotel Marketing and Sales
Common Mistakes in Hotel Strategic Communication and Public Relations
Common Mistakes in Hotel Promotion and Advertising
Common Mistakes in Hotel Sales and Marketing
Common Mistakes in Hotel Digital Marketing and Online Sales
Common Mistakes in Hotel Distribution Management
Common Mistakes in Hotel Customer Relationship Management
Common Mistakes in Hotel Revenue and Yield Management

Common Mistakes in Hotel Planning, Development and Operation


Common Mistakes in Hotel Human Resources Planning
Common Mistakes in Hotel Human Resources Management
Common Mistakes in Hotel Recruitment and Selection
Common Mistakes in Hotel Training and Staff Development
Common Mistakes in Hotel Rooms Division Management
Common Mistakes in Hotel Food and Beverage Management
Common Mistakes in Hotel Operations
Common Mistakes in Hotel Customer Service and Guest Relations
Common Mistakes in Hotel Finance and Accounting
Common Mistakes in Hotel Procurement and Purchasing
Common Mistakes in Hotel Revenue and Expense Forecasting
Common Mistakes in Hotel Operational Budgeting
Common Mistakes in Hotel Profit and Loss Analysis

Common Mistakes in Hotel Planning, Development and Operation


Critical Areas with Typical Design Errors
Hotel Access and Entrance
Hotel Exterior and Signage
Lobby and Public Areas
Front Office and Reception
Porter and Luggage Room
Elevators, Corridors and Pantries
Guest Rooms and Bathrooms
Connecting Rooms
Disabled Guest Rooms
Restaurants and Bars
Room Service
Meeting Rooms and Banqueting Areas
Spa, Gym and Swimming Pool

Common Mistakes in Hotel Planning, Development and Operation


Receiving and Purchasing Areas
Cooling and Storage Facilities
Kitchens and Laundry
Management Offices and Staff Areas
Staff Entrance and Locker Rooms
Staff Restaurants and Canteens
Guest and Staff Nursery
Closed-Circuit Television System
Private Automated Branch Exchange System
Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning System
Water Supply, Treatment and Discharge System
Fire Safety and Sprinkler System
Main Frame Server and Computer System
Property Management System
Point-of-Sales System

Common Mistakes in Hotel Planning, Development and Operation

Top 10 Areas
with Most Design Errors in Hotels
1

Guest Rooms

Back-of-House

Guest Bathrooms

Fabric and Finishes

Food and Beverage Facilities

Elevators

Function Rooms

Lobby

Entrance

10

Kitchen

Source: http://www.wgdarchitects.com/survey/results/results.html

The following pages present


only a few of the myriad of
considerations which shall
be made in professional
hotel design. Most of them
seem like common sense,
but one would not believe
how frequent they are
disregarded.

Common Mistakes in Guest Room Design

We cant expect architects to know the nuances of operating hotels. So


why do we expect them to know how to best design a hotel room in all
facets and details?
Seems like common sense, but still happens all too often.

Room Design | Some Examples of What Could Go Wrong


Too Many Rooms Types and Categories
A common misperception is that having many types of rooms increases the
choice for guests, thereby widening the target market. The reality is, having
many different types of rooms creates confusion and pricing issues, affects
marketing and sales, and limits the ability to accommodate large groups. At
the same time, it increases room cleaning, fit-out and maintenance costs,
eating up owners profits.
Unsuitable Ratio between Room Types and Categories
The ratio between the number of different room types and categories e.g.
single, double, twin or triple room, standard, superior or deluxe room,
junior, family or executive suite, connecting rooms, disabled rooms, smokerand non-smoking roomsdepends on many factors, which the developer or
architect do not necessarily know. This can lead to the difficult situation,
where the owner is forced to choose between low occupancy or decrease of
room rates. A Make or Break scenario.

Room Design | Some Examples of What Could Go Wrong


Same Room Types and Categories with Different Configurations
The layout, configuration and fitting out of guest rooms depends on hotel
property dimensions, brand and operator standards, building design and
budgets, construction ratios etc. Without professional hotel advice,
mistakes are programmed and will lead to similar issues as before
mentioned except that often the architect or hotel operator are blamed,
instead of the owner

Room Design | Some Examples of What Should Have Occurred


The hotel investor, developer or owner should provide the architect or
interior designer a detailed design brief, including the guest room
design standards to apply across all rooms, and tailored to each size and
type of room. The design must be driven by maximizing the guest
experience and comfort during their stay. The interior designer must also
keep in mind the efficiency of daily hotel operation, including the
streamlining of guest check in, housekeeping and minimizing of
maintenance due to wear and tear.
The owner should appoint a hospitality management consultant, who
will work hand in hand with the architect and interior designer during
the design phase, in order to minimize costly mistakes that would
negatively impact operations, create poor guest experiences and effect
profitability and return on investment.

Common Mistakes in Guest Bathroom Design

The guests room experience is highly influenced by the quality of the


bathroom design. The configuration and fitting out very much depends
on factors such as hotel property, brand standards, target market,
guest preferences, owners budget and others.
The hospitality management consultant will support owner and
architects to make the right decisions.

Bathroom Design | Some Examples of What Could Go Wrong


Bathroom is Too Large
Inefficient room configuration creates a waste of space and money to
build and clean. Visually not attractive.
Bathroom is Too Small
Even more important than the size of the bathroom is the efficiency and
practicality of design.
Shower or Bathtub?
Where are your guests from? France, Russia, Japan, Vietnam? Do they
travel for business or leisure? Do they stay for the long-term or shortterm? Choosing between a shower or bathtub depends on the answer to
these questions, and many more...
Towel Rack in the Wrong Location
Guests need to search or reach for the towel while dripping water all
over the floor creating a slippage hazard. Is your insurance policy up to
date?

Bathroom Design | Some Examples of What Could Go Wrong


No Electricity Socket for the Hairdryer
It wouldnt be a problem if all your
guests were bald and didnt need a hair
dryer.
Bathroom Window without Blinds
Some people like privacy.
Insufficient Hot Water Capacity
This is a very common mistake and it is
very annoying for the guest. It also
solicits very expensive negative reviews.
Mini Bar in the Bathroom
This is never a good idea.

Bathroom Design | Some Examples of What Should Have Occurred


Bathrooms need to be carefully planned and well designed. They need to
be a source of comfort, yet easy to clean and maintain. Lights, mirrors
and electrical outlets need to be carefully located so that they are always
within reach and in the exact place that the guest would expect.
The interior designer must work closely with the hospitality
management consultant during the design stage in order to avoid costly
mistakes that will lead to difficulties in operation or a poor experience for
the guests.

Common Mistakes in Food and Beverage Outlet Design

The profitability of the hotels food and beverage department depends very
much on functionality of operations, whereas owners and architects mostly
focus on form and design. Successful F&B businesses combine operational
functionality with aesthetic design. Factors must be considered such as
room numbers, house guests, walk-in guests, restaurant-, food and service
concept, menu, meal turnover, average covers, kitchen organization,
staffing.The hospitality management consultant will support owner and
architects to make the right decisions.

F&B Outlet Design | Some Examples of What Could Go Wrong


Mismatch between F&B Concept and Design
To be successful and attract guest, F&B concepts need to be attractive
and unique. Design must represent this and be consistent. The architect
and interior designer follow the hospitality concept, not the other way
round.
Poor Restaurant Layout and Work Flow Design
Inadequate design of F&B outlets by non-hospitality professionals with
severe results, such as poor food and service quality, low customer
satisfaction, food and beverage hygiene problems, high F&B and
breakage costs, occupational hazards and work accidents, low staff
morale and high turnover etc.
Wrong Restaurant Layout versus Number of Rooms
Difficulties to render efficient service with long cues for breakfast, lunch
and dinner.

F&B Outlet Design | Some Examples of What Could Go Wrong


Bad Buffet Design
Wrong location of lighting, selection of heights to display food offerings
and wrong location of electrical sockets, wrong buffet dimensions and
customer flow, confused design of cold, hot and dessert stations.
Bad Bar Design
Inadequate allocation of space, cooling units, water and electricity
supply, equipment etc., resulting in decreased effectiveness, higher costs
Kitchen Design does not match F&B Concept
Kitchen is designed too large or too small, layout and equipment are not
suitable with operational requirements, work efficiency is low. This
results in similar as before mentioned, problems with quality, consistency
and volume.
Inappropriate Kitchen Design and Installation
Kitchen design does not comply with international safety and hygiene
standards, leading to work flow problems, occupational hazards,
sanitation and pest problemsand ultimately to big headaches for
owners.

F&B Outlet Design | Some Examples of What Could Go Wrong


Presence of Hazardous Areas
Kitchen staff facing risks on a daily basis. Better ensure that the
insurance policies are up to date.
Inadequate Construction, Workmanship and Supervision
This needs to be aided by experienced hospitality project
professionals. Poor choice of materials and inadequate
installation will result in high safety and hygiene risks and noncompliance with legal obligations.
Wrong Installation of Electrical Sockets in Kitchen
Difficulties to properly use equipment or to follow cleaning
procedures.
Bad Design of Exhaust, Ventilation, Air-conditioning, Exhaust
and Grease Trap Systems
Incorrect temperature, unwanted odors, hygiene and pest
problems, low staff motivation.

F&B Outlet Design | Some Examples of What Could Go Wrong


Lack of Emergency Light and Fire Systems
The fire safety license will not be granted, insurance policy will
be void and most importantly, the safety of guests and staff will
be compromised.
Clean Areas not Separated from Dirty Areas
Violation of forward flow principle and HACCP standards.
Wet Garbage Area not Separated from Dry Garbage Area
May be in breach of local regulations and pose fire safety and
hygiene risks.

F&B Outlet Design | Some Examples of What Should Have Occurred


The hotel owner should provide the architect, interior designer and
other contractors (kitchen) a detailed design brief, including the food
and beverage concept and design standards per outlet. Architect,
interior designer and contractors should have prior hospitality project
and F&B design experience. The design must be driven by maximizing
guest experience and comfort, and at the same time maximizing
operational efficiency for employees and revenue generation.
The architect and interior designer must work hand in hand with the
hospitality management consultant during the design phase, in order to
minimize costly mistakes that would negatively impact operations and
create a poor guest experience.

Common Mistakes in Lobby and Public Area Design

The hotel entrance and lobby are the face of the hotel, and owners and
architects pay rightly so much attention to it. However, layout and design of
this highly functional requires managerial and operational understanding of
hotels. A chic and luxury lobby are a waste of money, if inadequate design
of reception and other crucial areas cause long queues and waiting of hotel
guests
The hospitality management consultant will support owner and architects
to make the right decisions.

Lobby & Public Area Design | Some Examples of What Could Go Wrong
Size of Seating Area not in Proportion to Room Inventory
Crowded lobbies with long cues and lack of seating result in poor guest
perception.
Inadequate Available Parking Bays
Need to ensure that local regulations are followed by the architect.
Parking not Available for Physically Challenged Guests
This is very important to be able to offer as well as ramps to access
buildings.
Poor Lighting in Parking Areas
Safety and security risks.
Insufficient and Poorly Illuminated Signage
Guests will have trouble finding their way around the property. Poorly
lit signage is a common mistake.

Lobby & Public Area Design | Some Examples of What Could Go Wrong
Insufficient Electrical Sockets and in the Wrong Location
Operational difficulties especially for cleaning procedures.
Under- or Over-building Rather than Utilizing Space Productively
Wide and under-built spaces are unproductive and do not generate
revenue, but can make all the difference between a profitable or
unsuccessful hotel. Crammed and over-built spaces look tight and
messy, can effect guest experience and revenue. The hospitality
consultant possesses the specialist knowledge and operational
experience to develop the right concepts for maximizing use of space
and revenue, the owners or architects do not.

Lobby & Public Area | Some Examples of What Should Have Occurred
The Lobby and Public Areas need to be
carefully planned and well designed. These
areas will not only increase revenue, but
also improve the quality of work for all
staff.
The architect must work closely with the
hospitality management consultant during
the design phase, in order to avoid costly
mistakes that will lead to difficulties in
operation or a poor experience for the
guests.

Common Mistakes in Elevators and Corridors Design

The correct design and location of elevators and corridors will considerably
improve the mobility of guests and staff.

Elevator & Corridor Design | Some Examples of What Could Go Wrong


Lack of Guest Elevators
Long wait times will negatively affect the experience of guests.
Wrong Location of Elevators and Goods Lifts
Slows down operations and causes decline in service standards.
Elevators too Close to Guest Rooms
Guests will complain about noise, especially early in the morning when
housekeeping staff move around their trolleys.
Poor Lighting in Corridors and Pathways
Safety and security risks.
Inadequate Room Signage
Proper allocated and visible room signage is appreciated by guests.
Lack of Elevators near Key Outlets
Guest facing difficulties to access areas especially at peak times.

Elevator & Corridor | Some Examples of What Should Have Occurred


Mobility flows will be affecting daily operations of staff and the
experience for guests. The architect should be warned about the
potential pitfalls and have a thorough understanding of the function and
location of each area.

Common Mistakes in Back-of-House Design


The Back-of-House Areas are the heart and muscles of the hotel. Bad
design without support from hospitality professionals will seriously
affect daily operation.

Back-of-House Design | Some Examples of What Could Go Wrong


Inadequate Supplier Entrance and Receiving Area
Either no existing separate back-of-house access for daily hotel supply
or an access to close to public and guest areas will seriously effect hotel
operation and guest experience.
Inadequate Staff Entrance and Lack of Staff Facilities
No suitable staff entrance, access control, staff changing areas and
facilities, staff canteens will result in problems with grooming standards
and staff motivation.
Inadequate Storage Space
Maintaining minimum stocks will forever be a challenge.
Wrong selection of Materials for Walls, Floors, Windows and Ceilings
Permanent problems of humidity, ventilation, cracks in the masonry
and slippery floors.
Lack of Water Points and Drainage in Storage Areas
Staff will not work efficiently and will fail to follow cleaning, health and
hygiene procedures.

Back-of-House Design | Some Examples of What Could Go Wrong


Insufficient Garbage Collection Space or in Wrong Location
Too small, too far, too close, not safe or not clean all recipes to invite
pest, hinder effective operation or receive guest complaints.
Missing Linen, Uniform and Laundry Room
The housekeeping manager will have trouble to keep linen standards
and organize staff to meet operational needs.
Insufficient Working Space for Housekeeping Department
Problems to store linen, baby cots, extra beds and trolleys in close
proximity to the rooms.
Insufficient Departmental Office Space
The heads of department will be obliged to work in improvised offices
far from the workflow and with inadequate loose furniture.
No Separate Staff Elevators
Hotel employees will use guest elevators or have to walk stairs. Not only
unsuitable for international standard hotel, but also detrimental to
operational costs and guest experience.

Back-of-House Design | Some Examples of What Could Go Wrong


Inadequate Hotel Technical Systems
Design not in line with professional hotel standards in terms of sewage
treatment, fire, air conditioning, grounding, lighting, rain water
harvesting, generator and gas. Will not only cause trouble with local
authorities, but even bigger troubles in operation.
Hot and Cold Water Capacity Issues
Guests experience an unpleasant surprise during their morning shower.
Inadequate TV, Camera, Background Music, Telephone, Computer and
Audio Visual Systems
Bland experience for guests.

Back-of-House | Some Examples of What Should Have Occurred


The owner, architect, engineering consultant and project manager shall
work and cooperate closely with the hospitality management
consultant from an early stage on to avoid costly errors

Common Mistakes in Spa, Gym and Pool Design

These areas are especially important for guests who are looking for
getaway and leisure trips.

Recreation Areas Design | Some Examples of What Could Go Wrong


Inadequate Gym Design
Many hotel gym designs resemble fitness studios without warmth or
charm.
Inferior Spa and Gym Equipment
Equipment fails to meet expectations of guests and standards of the
brand.
Missing Light Dimmers and Sound System in Treatment Rooms
Negatively impact the experience of guests.
Insufficient Space for Lockers
Complaints from guests.
Insufficient Furniture in the Pool Area
The purpose of these areas are rest, relaxation and leisure for guests so
overcrowding should be avoided.

Recreation Areas | Some Examples of What Should Have Occurred


The interior designer should be provided with a detailed design brief,
including the concept for the spa and sports/recreation areas, as well as
the design standards for each area. The design must be driven by
maximizing guest experience and comfort during their stay as well as
streamlining the operation for all employees.
The architect must work closely with the hospitality management
consultant during the design phase, in order to avoid costly mistakes
that will lead to difficulties in operation or a poor experience for the
guest.

Contact
HTM Management Consultancy
Head Office Hanoi
No. 2, Alley 236/ 7, Au Co Street
Tay Ho District, Hanoi, Vietnam
E-mail: info@ht-management.com
Website: www.ht-management.com
Telephone: +84-4-3719 1850/1
Facsimile: +84-4-3719 1849

Branch Office Ho Chi Minh City


SITC Building, 2nd Floor, Room 209-210
311-319 Gia Phu Street, Ward 1
District 6, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
E-mail: info@ht-management.com
Website: www.ht-management.com
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