• Gary Crosbie

It's Time To WOW

Time to WOW: Step-out of the shadow and boost your leisure experience.

There has been some really good articles on Linkedin and teleconferencing discussions about ‘out with the old, and in with the new’. Two that spring to mind are the musings of Graeme Hinde of LFX Network [hyperlink] and the likes of Sarah De Freitas (interior design) and Chris Chadwick (space transformation). The common message appears to be, quite rightly, that as we start to release ourselves from this economic cloud, that has been coronavirus, not only will we be relieved – but for a real chance to succeed, there will need to be changes to practices. These could be branding, design, sustainability, infectious protocol and cleanliness etc. Well here I just wanted to share some low-cost, quick fixes that operators in leisure, especially hotels, lodges, theme parks, hospitality, pubs and leisure operators might want to consider as we leave the ‘dark side’. Do read, share and feel free to enquire with me or my colleagues at Interefurb. It costs nothing but time to have a chat in these challenging times – and anyone reaching out will be forwarded, completely free of charge and without obligation my homemade hints and tips checklist, titled “Time to sparkle post Covid 19”.

In previous articles and posts, we have spoken about safely closing and re-opening your hotel, bar or restaurant with the pandemic upon us. Now we are getting closer to re-engaging with our customers, owners need to be focused on presenting the very best version of their businesses. Some refer to it as ‘putting your best foot forward’.

Over the last few months, I have worked with several operators, who fall in to two definitive camps. {1) Those who are nervous about the future and have been so shocked by the disruption, that they are almost paralysed to make a decision; and {2} those who are relishing the opportunity to reopen and take advantage of the widely predicted boom in autumn staycations. Naturally, I’d like to share some case studies to the former, and work with both and the latter especially on the forward journey.

In business generally, we have either a product or service to sell. The Hotel and Hospitality sector has the added twist of selling both. In delivering great hospitality service, we need a great venue in which to attract guests over our threshold. First impressions really do count. Following the COVID closures ‘every penny is a prisoner’, we don’t all have a bottomless pit of money to spend on refurbishments, so where can we easily make a difference, without it costing a fortune?

One of the biggest barriers to carrying out any refurbishment work is perceived to be loss of revenue whilst rooms are out of service. Maybe there are parallels or lessons that can be learned from this study: following 9/11 several canny operators took advantage of the quiet period and competitive prices in the supply chain, to bring their properties bang up to date and steal a lead on the competition when the market returned.

What, in my opinion is money wisely spent, and importantly how much will it cost? So some quick fixes that might just resonate with you.

Starting outside with first impressions. Spruce up the area around the entrance. New door handles and entrance mat, decoration of the door and frame from around £200.

Signage – cleaned-up and make sure the lighting works. Again can be as little as £200, up to £500 dependent on specification. Little things, arguably money well spent without breaking the bank.

Reception. Every guest spends time at your reception counter. It should therefore, be seen to be clean and smell nice. Create the ambience as they step in for the first time, or newcomers get that first experience. Fix any loose trims, refinish the worktop, don’t forget any shelving or storage units that are on view also. Make sure that all the lights have the same shade of bulbs. Take a look at the furniture, do you have tatty cushions or seating that can be spruced up with the additions of new ones. The same rules apply to restaurant and bar areas, especially with musty smells arising from long periods of not being used.

Doors and frames – these normally get damaged with constant use and look tired very quickly it’s a very easy solution to make them look and feel more presentable with a repaint and change over of any damaged door handles. I’m a stickler for ensuring that all door handles match, unless a varied characteristic of disparate rooms is part of the sell and branding ambience. From only £50 per door.

Quite often corridors and public areas have a dado rail. The area below the dado can often be scuffed from baggage and trolley knocks. Why not think, that rather than paint the whole corridor a lick of paint to sparkle below the dado makes a great improvement. A little bit of that “WOW” which we encourage.

Going in to the bedroom, your housekeeping is make or break, I’ve stayed in brand new properties which are badly cleaned and on the reverse I’ve stayed in older rooms where the house keeping is meticulous. Personally, I’d always choose content over style. So lets look at a typical bedroom and see what we can do to make some quick changes?

Case goods – dressers and bedside tabletops take some hammer. Back painted glass tops are an easy fix and cost around £100. Whilst we are looking at case goods for around £5 each you can change the handles, and a couple of hours with some furniture stain will spruce up any minor scratches. So for around £200 you have another few years life span.

If you don’t want to go to the expense of a complete room redecoration, we have on many occasions, painted out or put a patterned paper on the headboard wall, this works out at less than £150. If you have wall lights maybe just change the shades, don’t forget matching bulb! And make sure the seam on the shade is hidden at the back.

More to follow…….watch this space. How are we doing for starters?

Gary Crosbie is a Specialist Construction and Refurbishment Contractor to leisure industries. A wealth of knowledge especially on practical, affordable solutions. Former Chair to Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Regional construction and building forum. Likeable, reliable, responsive, resilient – with bagpipes and/or rugby banter thrown in for good measure. More:

I’m awaiting you: 07914 423923

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