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Brands again bear down on refreshes

September 27, 2012

Most of the renovations being done these days are brand-mandated, according to panelists at the Hotel Data Conference.

And most of these renovations are taking the form of a “refresh”—although the exact terminology varies by brand or ownership group. Whether it’s an addition of a courtyard bistro or an updated public lobby space, brands call them different things, said Jeff Good, owner and president of Chicago-based Good Hospitality.

“In the Marriott (International) context, I think it’s more defined,” said Al Whitehouse, VP of acquisitions and business development at Sage Hospitality. “Within the same ownership, six- and 12-year mandated renovations would be a refresh.”

Whitehouse added 75% of his 60-hotel portfolio is going through some type of refresh or property improvement plan.

“We have a series of refreshes within the limited-, select-service hotels like Hampton, Courtyard, Residence Inn, and we’re seeing quite a bit of that,” he said. “Major institutional investors are being driven by the brand to just generate 100 new lobbies over the course of 2012.”

“There’s been a trend these last two or three years to try to get all these select-service lobbies redone,” said David Roedel, partner at Roedel Companies, which focuses on hotel management, construction and development. “I think the brands took their feet off the pedal during the recession, but they’re starting to bear down now.”

The tough part is trying to figure out where to start and where to stop with refreshes, Good said.

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