In an ideal world, every resort would have the budget required to completely remodel and refurnish the entire resort whenever a change or replacement is needed. In reality, however, a “resort refurbishment” more often translates to the addition of just a few key pieces every year or so during the lifespan of the property.
But with heavy usage, furnishings wear out. Styles and colors change. Delinquencies in maintenance fees may result in declining budgets and weather-related issues necessitate unplanned renovations. The challenges are many.
So how does a resort keep the interiors and common areas looking great instead of “tired” or “dated” when annual resources allow for only a tiny fraction of what is really required? The trick is to be able to successfully integrate the old with the new without creating a complete departure from what previously existed … while at the same time implementing trends and looking towards the future.
Nancy Woodhouse, IDS, and Associate ASID is Vice President of Clive Daniel Home’s Hospitality Division & Business Development. www.clivedaniel.com/hospitality/ Clive Daniel Hospitality is the commercial interior design division of Clive Daniel Home, with luxury showrooms in Naples and Boca Raton, Florida.
After more than 20 years of orchestrating hundreds of timeless interior designs at hospitality properties from Key West to Las Vegas, Nancy understands this work requires precision planning and serious synergy between the management company, the resort’s HOA, General Manager and the interior design team.
“Unless a total renovation and the gutting of an entire building is being executed,” says Nancy, “chances are high that a property’s budget will dictate the need to retain most of the existing case pieces and accessories in a room, but replace others … like upholstered sofas or chairs. Other budgetary restrictions may allow us to refurbish only a single room or area and blend it with the rest of the unit. When this happens, a design professional can envision how a few key pieces will gracefully integrate with existing elements while at the same time blend smoothly with future renovations. Some refurbishments must be spread out over several years. While in other cases, a developer or management company may need to replace sofas in 50 units with an immediate rush of urgency.”
The goal of every renovation is to enhance the vibrancy of the resort and maintain its structural integrity and overall upkeep. This can include the often-overlooked reception area, hallways, common areas, and on-site restaurants. Even the entry sign needs to have a facelift from time to time. So how can you transform a resort into a contemporary haven for owners and guests without a big budget or a makeover TV crew at your disposal?
“The first step to the miracle makeover is achieved by using design consultants experienced with vacation ownership resorts to help guide the client through what may be unchartered waters,” says Nancy. “Sometimes a board may select a residential designer or board member’s relative who has little knowledge about hospitality design. This can be a costly mistake because the residential market is totally different in products and specifications with significant disadvantages in pricing.”
Naturally, designers prefer to know in advance how much they can spend per unit on renovations. This allows them to provide a budget built around that number and streamline the process, creating master plans that will encompass all areas of the property for future phases.
The national award-winning Clive Daniel Hospitality interior designers understand that there can be dramatic differences in properties and lifestyles from one community to another. This ability to regionalize designs along with their buying power and comfort level in the shared-use market has enabled the company to provide interiors that please both the developer and owners. Their size and buying power enables them to provide furnishings and design work at highly competitive prices. With one of North America’s largest teams of licensed interior designers, these professionals can be mobilized from any part of the globe. They also have extensive experience in creating customized product lines for each hospitality application, often at a surprisingly affordable cost.
Only the very top hospitality designers will understand that interiors can represent an integral part of the branding of your resort. An effective brand strategy can give you an edge by differentiating you from your competitors. This should be based to some extent on what your owners want you to be. The added value intrinsic to brand equity frequently comes in the form of perceived quality or emotional attachment. At several resorts, CDH has totally rebranded the property to invite a broader market of owners and rental guests. At another resort, they paid strong attention to their brand and rejuvenated it throughout the property, to include the front desk and entrance signage. At a Key West resort, they procured all case pieces to reflect their brand in a new color scheme created specifically for that property.
Added Nancy Woodhouse, “Today’s timeshare resort managers understand more than most the value of creating ‘experiential’ memories for their owners by adding special amenities. At one Florida resort, we took a little-used area of a restaurant and transformed it into a wine room and reimagined an exterior deck with colorful, carefree fabrics. Both became favorite gathering places for owners with a very small expenditure of funds. Whether we are designing new or renovating existing units, it is important to incorporate higher-level finishes like quartz countertops with glass backsplashes and technology-smart features in electronics and lighting. Today’s vacationers are concerned with how things impact the environment. A knowledgeable interior designer will select furnishings and interiors that reflect this changing trend. All of these add to the overall vacation experience.”
Many legacy resorts have enjoyed multiple interior refurbishments, courtesy of the maintenance fee income stream. With furnishings selected by experienced design teams like Clive Daniel Hospitality, some resorts actually look as good today as they did when they were first developed. Continuously updating the resort’s interior and exterior design really does matter to owners who want quality surroundings on their vacation.
For Resort Trades readers seeking advice on refurbishments or total new furnishings, Clive Daniel Hospitality is well-positioned to assist with all of your interior design needs. To reach Nancy Woodhouse, call 239-287-1739 or write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marge Lennon loves to tell other people’s stories. She has had a front-row seat to the growth of the timeshare industry since 1978 and has written about its entrepreneurial developers and their amazing people from the Adirondacks to Australia. Contact her at Marge@LennonCommunications.com