Hotel Renovation: The Ultimate Guide to Remodeling Your Hotels 

Renovating your hotel isn’t just about a new coat of paint. It’s also a chance to modernize, innovate, increase occupancy, and boost revenue.

Increased competition in the hospitality industry space and changing guest expectations mean hotels must keep up with new technology to thrive. New design is important, but new systems are just as crucial.

Your renovation need not incur crazy hotel renovation costs, or be a complex, overwhelming, or wasteful project. A few careful updates can boost revenue and RevPAR, and cut costs—by making operations innovative and efficient. 

Investing in modern technology as part of your renovation reduces your day-to-day workload, ensures your hotel stands out as forward-thinking in a saturated market, and enables you to implement a successful direct booking strategy. 

Are you ready to renovate your hotel beyond just a simple color change? Here’s how to ensure your hotel renovation also boosts revenue, pleases guests, simplifies operations, and enhances your direct booking strategy.

Want to boost revenue and get more direct bookings? Harness the power of smart tech to modernize your hotel.

5 signs that your hotel needs renovation

See these five strong indications it’s time to revamp your hotel:

  • Inefficient lighting systems. These can flicker or buzz and may increase energy costs.
  • Appliances regularly need fixing. As well as requiring immediate attention, issues here could also point to inefficiencies with your maintenance staff or team communication. 
  • Long lines at check-in. Modern guests expect self-service solutions—we discuss how to implement mobile check-in without changing your locks, later.
  • A lack of resources for remote work. Digital nomads are a growing cohort of guests you should be looking to attract.
  • Staff are overwhelmed with questions and requests. To free up understaffed front desk teams, you should give guests a way to access information and communicate with the team digitally.   

Below, we look at how you can address these issues, give your guests a better stay, improve your operations, and target niche audiences. 

Ideas for hotel renovation to create new revenue opportunities

Updating your hotel can achieve so much more than a fresh new look. These renovation ideas will help you appeal to an expanded client base, boost revenue, and make your hotel more efficient.

1. Reimagine your front desk

Swapping lines at the front desk for smart locks and self check-in is an impactful way of modernizing your hotel to offer a better guest experience.

Smart hotel the Annex in Toronto created this chic bar instead of a front desk

This may seem like a daunting prospect, but it frees up a huge amount of prime real estate that you can transform into something more atmospheric and inviting (see more below).

It also provides a better experience for staff, as they are freed from behind the desk, and can be more useful in other parts of the hotel. This gives them more autonomy, and makes them more helpful, ensuring more engaged staff and guests, and a better hotelier experience.

You can also coordinate room turnarounds, cleaning, and maintenance via the same system, and save costs on staff because you can operate with fewer people at the front desk and on-site.

Replacing your front desk with a keyless smart lock system and guest communication platform might seem overwhelming. But with a guest experience platform like Operto Guest, you can meet modern expectations by creating a digital guest journey. And, with Operto Boost (discussed below), you can make it happen without changing your locks.

Operto Guest streamlines the guest journey with digital solutions that are easy and accessible for the guest:

  • Guests arrive and check in independently without needing to wait for staff
  • Guests are reassured before their stay because they receive arrival and smart lock access instructions on their smartphone ahead of time
  • Guests are able to reach you at any time, establishing friendly and helpful communication, and removing the need to “call down to Reception” or visit the front desk for help
  • Guests can be sent a mid-stay message from you to give them the chance to ask questions or give early feedback for improvement
  • You can schedule friendly reminders about check-out to ensure smooth turnarounds
  • Guests may be asked to leave a five-star review on check-out, which gives them a chance to have their say. This builds a strong online brand for your hotel and encourages others to book.

If getting rid of the front desk completely is too much, you can change to a hybrid model. This means staff are always on-hand to help answer any questions or address problems, but guests are still not forced to wait in a lobby before they can go to their room.

Tools such as Operto Guest make it simple to send your guests a mid-stay message

With solutions for self check-in in place, you can replace your front desk with something more exciting, like:

  • A bar area that offers personalized drinks recommendations

  • A reading or comfortable seating area for guests to unwind

  • A co-working space during the day with outlets for laptops

  • A coffee or tea shop with local blends and tasting guides

  • A useful store for items that guests need for the local area, or may have forgotten to pack

  • A bookshop with a selection by local writers or about your destination

  • A space with information and voucher deals for local attractions, excursions and visits

Want to boost revenue and get more direct bookings? Harness the power of smart tech to modernize your hotel.

2. Design a designated playroom

Renovating your hotel gives you the chance to grow your target audience and develop new upsell opportunities.

Creating a playroom with childcare can attract parents and help them stay longer

Creating an area for kids with care services can be a huge attraction to parents who want a break from parenting. This may reduce your hotel space, but that sacrificed area can help boost occupancy rates as parents are more likely to book, and stay longer. 

Here are some tips:

  • Provide trained, vetted childcare staff so parents can leave their kids without worry

  • Include the childcare in the hotel room rate

  • Have long opening hours so parents can enjoy their vacation too

  • Include entertainment that fits with your area, such as a sandpit and paddling pool at a beachside resort, mini-hikes for a hotel in the mountains, or pony rides in the countryside

  • Provide arts and crafts or other interactive activities so kids are engaged

  • Put on a show at the end of the week to show parents what kids have been doing (say, theater, or art)

  • Offer kid-friendly snacks and food where possible, so parents can eat in peace too

Hotels that ensure the kids have just as great an experience as the parents will see guests return to book again and again.

3. Tap into the local expertise

Updating your hotel is also a chance to reconnect with your local community. This can boost your reputation and drive your word-of-mouth referrals.

Setting up a gift store in your hotel with popular or local items can boost revenue

Chances are, your local community produces or has links with a ton of opportunities that you could build in—literally—to your room renovation, to add extra revenue streams, impress guests, and build links with the area too.

This might include:

  • Setting up a delicatessen and luxury food store with local products, to highlight local cuisine or specialties

  • A gift store with popular items you use in your hotel that guests can take home (such as towels, toiletries, or crockery you use in your restaurant), especially if they’re from local producers

  • An art gallery or events space with rotating exhibitions and artwork by local artists. You could even host events, talks, and workshops here

These could center on crafts and skills presentations by experts, staff (for example, perhaps your pastry chef can host a baking class or a sous-chef is an expert at creating a local dish?), or local residents.

4. Create a conference center

If you’re located in a busy area and commonly have guests traveling for business, you can open up exciting new revenue streams by creating a meeting space. 

Not only can you attract more business travelers and improve occupancy, but you can also upsell related amenities and services. For example, you can offer event catering or offer an airport or train station shuttle service. 

To create a successful conference center, you should look to include:

  • A large, private, sound-proof space

  • A high-resolution projector and two or more HD screens

  • Ceiling or wall-mounted Bluetooth speakers 

  • Stable, high-speed internet

  • A dedicated space for refreshments

  • Adjoining rest rooms

Want to boost revenue and get more direct bookings? Harness the power of smart tech to modernize your hotel.

Revamping your hotel experience for modern guests

Modernizing your hotel also means increasing its appeal to guests through innovative ideas and cutting-edge technology.

5. Implement tech for extra in-room comfort

Enabling guests to personalize their space puts them in control and gives them flexibility over their stay. Hotel guest experience software such as Operto Guest makes this possible from their personal device.

Giving guests access to smart controls puts them in control of their own stay

Consider the following:

  • Upgrade WiFi for a super-fast connection for both business and leisure travelers

  • Include a comfortable, compact workstation for remote workers

  • Install an easy-to-use, in-room coffee machine with a range of options, including decaf

  • Add a mini-fridge and bar with non-alcoholic options

  • Install smart thermostats so guests can change the temperature of their room easily without grappling with old-fashioned air conditioning units

  • Enable smart lighting so guests can control and dim lights easily from their phone

  • Have smart TVs with a range of streaming services

Such devices create an exciting, modern, and convenient experience for guests.

6. Be creative with underutilized spaces 

Modern guests love to try new things and explore destinations via fun new activities, giving you great opportunities for innovation.

Using your garden space or rooftop for cozy smores evenings will create experiences guests can’t help but shout about

  • Hire out your space for yoga classes with local instructors

  • Ask your sommelier or wine manager to run wine tasting events

  • Hire a dance instructor to provide lessons for couples or bachelorette parties

  • Recruit a local artist to run painting classes or life drawing evenings

  • Transform empty space into compact treatment rooms and hire masseuses to offer packages

  • Turn your rooftop into a cocktail bar with mixology classes with your bar manager

  • Install a fire pit and cozy outdoor furniture in your garden space (and heaters in winter) and host smores evenings

Using your space in such a creative way creates a differentiator between your hotel and others, and enhances the guest experience by making memories your guests can’t help but talk about when they get home.

7. Include a digital guidebook with personalized recommendations

Just as modern guests want an exciting experience within your hotel, they will also welcome recommendations outside of it. This might include tips for local attractions, child-friendly spaces, and great nearby restaurants.

A digital guidebook with Operto Guest is a great way to give local recommendations

For example, with Operto Guest, your guests can access a branded digital guidebook that includes information about directions and parking, WiFi, amenities, services, and itineraries. And personalized suggestions can make it even more special.

Great ideas include:

  • Recommendations based on whether the guest has children or not
  • Topping up your guide with tailored suggestions such as gluten-free or vegan restaurants
  • Including romantic suggestions for a couple celebrating their anniversary
  • Suggesting LGBTQ-friendly venues during Pride or for a same-sex couple

Showing your hotel as an expert in the local area, with tailored recommendations to boot, will boost the guest experience tenfold—and are the kind of details your guests will mention in reviews.

8. Implement mobile check-in

Modern guests want to arrive at your hotel and head straight to their rooms. With frictionless mobile check-in, you can offer this as well as create a fantastic first impression. 

With Operto’s digital access and guest experience solutions, mobile check-in works like this:

  • After your guest books, they’re automatically sent a link to a branded web app

  • Inside, they can verify their identity and complete a security deposit 

  • Then, they’ll receive a mobile key which activates at check-in time

  • In the same web app, they’ll also get access to your digital guidebook and two-way messaging 

And with Operto Boost, you can transform your check-in process without changing your locks. The Boost Smart Chip fits into your existing keycard locks, which instantly gives them Bluetooth capability—with this, you can create a digital guest experience and gain access to Operto’s suite of automation solutions 

Install the Boost Smart Chip and facilitate mobile check-in without replacing your existing locks. Learn more about

Renovating your rooms so you stand out in the OTAs

Creating a direct booking strategy should be a priority for every hotel owner in the industry, but few can manage without OTAs at all. Renovation is also about ensuring you stand out on OTA websites. Here’s how:

9. Design themed suites

Themed rooms, such as this garden/plant-lover design, can differentiate your hotel

Hoteliers can give a different theme to each guestroom and stylize accordingly, to provide extra interest for guests and differentiation from other more generic mainstays of the hotel industry. 

Here are some ideas for themed suites:

  • Theme each room around local high-profile figures (and provide their story in the room)

  • Share the local cuisine or culture with rooms themed on different foods or attractions

  • Appeal to parents with young kids with cartoon character rooms

  • Bring nature indoors with an outdoor-themed, plant-and-flower filled space

  • Ramp up the romance with a Paris or Venice-themed room

  • Capitalize on the glamping trend with tent or yurt-inspired spaces

  • Bring in book-lovers with rooms themed around famous classics

10. Install smart tech for more convenience and a better experience

Replacing old systems with smart tech doesn’t just improve the guest experience on arrival. It may even entice guests to book in the first place.

Digital check-in may even entice modern guests to book your hotel instead of others

OTA listings that highlight the convenience of smart devices and solutions, such as digital hotel check-in, smart TVs, and in-app in-room controls, can help guests feel engaged, excited, and in control right from the start.

When implementing smart tech into your hotel, be sure to:

  • Highlight details such as keyless check-in and repeat them in your description

  • Include photos of in-room controls for lights and thermostats

  • Show close-ups of in-room extras such as coffee machines and smart TVs

11. Highlight your local knowledge and expertise

If you’ve gone to the effort to remodel your space so you can offer a great program of events, workshops, tastings, and classes (as suggested above), then make sure you show it on your OTA listings.

Making your knowledge, expertise, and innovation clear on your OTA listings will make people more excited to book with you

12. Cater to the remote working market

An increasing number of people are looking to combine business with travel and to stay in one place for a few weeks or months while working remotely. Attracting these types of guests means getting longer bookings with less operational hassle and more chance of repeat custom. But to do so you need to provide extra amenities. 

These include:

  • A WiFi connection of 100+ Mbps

  • An Ethernet connection

  • A dedicated work desk, ideally with enough room for two guests

  • Ergonomic chairs

  • Suitable lighting options 

You should then look to promote these features in your listings and on social media. Include clear images and a description that paints a picture of what it’s like to work at your hotel. You can also write about nearby cafes and coworking spaces. 

Some OTAs also give you the option to mark your hotel as work-friendly. Here’s an example of the criteria you may need to meet:

  • 90% 24-hour message response rate 

  • 4.8-star average review score

  • Self check-in option

  • At least 50 Mbps WiFi download speed

Want to boost revenue and get more direct bookings? Harness the power of Operto Guest to modernize your guest experience.

Hotel renovation checklist

When taking refurbishment beyond simple interior design updates, consider this list to make sure you’re checking all the boxes for a modern, innovative hotel. 

  1. Reimagine your front desk: Create a more innovative space, free up your staff, streamline guest arrival

  2. Expand your hotel’s appeal: Install a playroom or childcare space to increase revenue and satisfaction among parents

  3. Tap into local expertise: Maximize new revenue opportunities and build connections via specialist local produce, gifts, or art

  4. Create a conference center: Install speakers and projectors in a large, private space to make extra revenue on events

  5. Implement in-room tech: Install smart devices and connect to a platform such as Operto Guest to give guests control and convenience

  6. Get creative with underused spaces: Tap into the talent of your existing staff or hire locals to host workshops or regular themed evenings

  7. Tailor recommendations: Send guests a digital guidebook using Operto Guest, and enhance it with in-app messages tailored to their preferences

  8. Implement Bluetooth-enabled locks with Operto Boost: Impress guests with a frictionless, branded mobile check-in experience 

  9. Design themed suites: Differentiating your hotel from cookie-cutter, traditional competitors will help you stand out from the crowd

  10. Provide for remote workers: Tap into a growing market by creating and showcasing dedicated workspaces 

  11. Spotlight innovations on OTAs: Shout about your new updates clearly online so guests will notice them easily

Hotel renovation: Going beyond decor

Transforming your hotel in an innovative way goes far beyond a fashionable paint color or an Instagram-famous decor trend. 

It’s also about modernizing with smart tech that attracts modern guests, making their experience frictionless and memorable, and offering extras that most hotels barely consider.

Installing smart tech that works on a single platform such as Operto Guest will enable you to transform the guest journey from start to finish, from adding extra booking appeal, to easy check-in, and an unforgettable stay they’ll talk about for years to come (starting with a great review).

Want to boost revenue and get more direct bookings? Harness the power of Operto Guest to modernize your guest experience.

Frequently asked questions about hotel renovation

How often should you renovate a hotel?

Hotels need updating every few years to ensure they stay in good condition, help with overall maintenance, and keep up with design trends. But renovation isn’t just about decor; it’s also about making sure your hotel is staying up-to-date with new technology and appealing to modern guests.

Why should a hotel renovate?

A hotel should renovate to update any tired spaces, and ensure it continues to appeal to a wide range of guests. It should also renovate to keep up with changing technology and new guest demands. Modern guests, for example, increasingly want everything on their smartphone, and using tools such as Operto Guest can enable this as seamlessly as possible.

What are some of the benefits of renovating a hotel

Some of the benefits of renovating a hotel include updating the decor, appealing to new guests, and modernizing your hotel to meet changing guest demands, such as in-room smart tech and keyless access. 

What is the best way to renovate a hotel?

The best way to renovate a hotel is to consider the changes that will make your business stand out the most, and appeal to a wide range of guests. This might include using underused spaces in innovative ways, installing smart tech and keyless entry, and creating themed rooms for extra differentiation.