You know that tired looking hotel you’ve been trying to avoid the last three years? It may finally look a lot better next year.
Whether we’re talking about a boutique hotel in Boston, a Sheraton in San Antonio, Texas, or a one of Starwood’s W hotels in New York, U.S. hotels are on a renovation spree – so much so that they’re poised to spend a record $6 billion this year on improvements.
That’s according to the latest annual forecast of U.S. hotel industry capital expenditures by Bjorn Hanson, a professor at New York University’s Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management.
TravelUpdate.com features multi-million-dollar hotel renovation projects almost every week (my travel schedule permitting) on the Makeover Monday series. (Hoteliers: If you have a worthy project, email me.)
Some hotels are prepping for tech savvy Millennial consumers who demand more social lobbies than what currently exists, while others are updating rooms that haven’t been touched since before the 2009 recession. Some are spending money upgrading pools, Wi-Fi systems and even old television sets. They’re also gutting old restaurants and creating outdoor bars on empty rooftops in hopes of making them busier destinations for guests and locals alike.
Often, people will complain about old systems, such as noisy air conditioning units, so improvements can help their review scores and prevent snarky comments on networks such as Twitter and Facebook.
Plenty of hotels skipped the renovations they’re usually required to do in 2009 and in 2010, as travelers – especially luxury travelers – stayed home or booked less expensive hotels. But since 2010, the spending has been climbing, his report shows.
In fact, the record spending on improvements comes as the U.S. hotel industry sells record numbers of rooms. According to Hanson, the average occupancy in the U.S. will top 63% this year, bringing it close to 2007 levels.
Readers: Have you seen one hotel renovation that really stands out to you for some reason?