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Discover 5 Quick Property Fixes That Satisfy Your Guests – and Your Budget

Does your hotel need an upgrade? Small improvements can make a big difference when renovations aren’t in the budget.

Whether a hotel stay is a success or a failure depends on the details.

When a guest complains, the problem is usually preventable. The solution could’ve been reached before the problem was even noticed, often with some simple planning and savvy spending.

My husband and I recently spent a week at a very well-known hotel chain on Florida’s West Coast. He’s a professional golfer and was there to compete in a regional tournament, and I was just there to enjoy.

Enjoy we did not because of myriad problems centered around a structure in desperate need of renovations:

  • Once we entered the room, we immediately noticed a damp smell. It was humid (we were in Florida) and the window unit air conditioner was not cutting it.
  • My husband left to play his first round of the tournament, so I explored the property. There was nothing to do. No gym, no pool, no amenities. Nothing.
  • When he got back, we visited the in-house restaurant. It had as much charm as a hospital cafeteria. No one was there. After ordering and eating, we soon discovered why.
  • Tired from the day, we snuggled in bed to watch TV. So did our neighbors on either side. The walls were so thin we felt like we were watching three shows at the same time.
  • Sleeping was a nightmare. The mattress was worn and the springs dug into our backs. My husband is a professional athlete, so sleep is crucial, especially when he’s on the road. We both woke up very ready to go home.

When we checked out, we shared our feedback about the experience with a manager. She was kind and understanding, and she extended a future night’s stay free of charge. We politely declined.

Would we have noticed all of these issues if measures had been taken beforehand to address them? Maybe. But we would’ve been more forgiving if we saw that the establishment provided solutions to the problems before we had to ask.

Forethought can go a long way.

Addressing flaws ahead of time allows guests to spend less time calling the front desk and more time enjoying their stay. There are cheaper alternatives to a total renovation that can keep guests happy for the interim until the budget allows for more permanent improvements.

This led me to think of the fixes I would’ve appreciated before we checked in:

  1. Can’t afford a new air system? Provide rooms that need it most with dehumidifiers. They do wonders with getting rid of moisture and cooling down the space. There’s also air purifiers and fans, which instantly make guests feel more in control of their room temperature. It also doesn’t hurt to provide essential oils, like fragrance sticks, in bathrooms.
  2. Lacking amenities? Create a multi-purpose court or recreation room. Reserving a common space for people to play, whether it’s a game of table tennis or pinball or billiards, allows guests to gather and create memories. Bring in guest instructors and offer free dance classes. Invest in a projector for family movie nights (don’t forget the popcorn machine and candy).
  3. Hotel restaurant a ghost town? Zhuzh up the menu. Combine ordinary ingredients in extraordinary ways. There’s endless possibilities for new signature dishes and happy hour cocktails and mocktails. Create a cool vibe with splashes of color and carefully selected artwork. And so much can be done with lighting! Never underestimate the power of a lit candle to set the mood.
  4. Thin walls making privacy impossible? Place a sound machine in each room. Guests can choose their sound, from ocean waves to bird calls, which hands them back some control. Consider hanging wall quilts as art – which also happen to absorb sound. Knocking down drywall to add extra insulation may not be an option, but you can get ahead of one of the most common guest complaints by offering other alternatives.
  5. Old furniture screaming to be replaced? Start with the mattress. Hotel chains have had success with investing in quality mattresses, and believe me, word gets around about where the best place is to get a good night’s rest. The bed is the main focal point of most rooms, and it’s where guests spend the most time when they’re inside, so make sure it’s as comfortable as their one at home.

These renovation substitutes are investments that are well worth the return guest.

When hotels anticipate problems before they happen, staff can spend less time fixing problems and more time creating memories. Once you’re in the guests’ shoes, you’ll gain a new perspective that helps address details that can sway a stay from bad to great.

The best part? If carefully thought out, “upgrades” can be done for way less than you think.