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  • Amerail Systems

Everything that can go wrong during a hotel renovation & how to prepare

Renovations and PIPs are a familiar part of owning and running hotels but no matter how many remodels you’ve experienced, there is always more to learn. 

For example, when preparing to renovate your hotel, an important question to ask is - what can go wrong?

Anticipating what can go wrong during a hotel renovation and then preparing for those situations is a great way to ensure that your renovation will run smoothly. 

Most obstacles that hoteliers face when going through the renovation process can cause delays to their timelines. 

Some of the most common obstacles include:

  • Weather

  • Structural issues/hazardous materials

  • Supply chain disruptions

  • Guest disruption

  • Permit delays

While these problems can cause stress, being prepared for them will help to relieve that stress. 

A typical hotel renovation can take anywhere from 3 to 12+ months from start to finish. During that time you may run into situations along the way that could delay your project. 

Follow along with us as we help you prepare for the worst while also hoping for the best during your next hotel renovation!

Timeline/Schedule Delays

Something all hoteliers should be prepared for during a hotel renovation are timeline/schedule delays. Delays can cause stress and put strain on a project if not prepared for. But if the right preparations have been taken, running into situations that cause delays won’t be as frustrating. 

Below are the most common reasons for delays in renovations & how to prepare for them.

  • Weather

  • Permits

  • Supply Chain

  • Structural Issues/Hazardous Materials


While interior hotel renovations can typically be done anytime of the year (with exceptions for extreme conditions), most exterior hotel renovations require temperatures to be above 40 degrees. This fact needs to be considered when planning and scheduling renovations on hotels in climates where temperatures drop for months out of the year. 

In addition to considering temperature, it’s also important to be aware of any extreme weather conditions that occur where your hotel is located. Tornados, hurricanes, floods, etc. can impact the timeline of not only exterior hotel renovations but also interior.


To best prepare for this problem you should have an understanding of the climate your hotel is located in. 

Ask yourself:

Are there months out of the year where the temperatures are below 40 degrees?

Are there times of the year where extreme weather typically occurs?

If you answered yes to either of those questions, do your best to pinpoint what months would be best for renovations and ensure that construction is scheduled for those months. 

For example, if your hotel is located somewhere where it is typically above 40 degrees during the months of May-September your renovations would need to take place then.

Once you have a due date for your renovations and have an idea of what months they should take place, you can plan your timeline accordingly and budget for weather conditions you can’t plan for and any other challenges that may arise.


Obtaining necessary permits is another common reason for project delays. Because of bureaucratic processes or unforeseen regulatory requirements, getting the documents necessary to get started on renovations can sometimes be difficult thus leading to timeline delays.

This type of issue arises during the pre-construction and planning phases of a renovation after designs and drawings have been approved. 


To prepare for permitting delays it’s important to understand where it falls in the stages of a hotel renovation and how long the process can take. 

For permits to be obtained these steps must be completed:

  • Choose Contractor

  • Planning & Design

  • Contract Signed

  • Deposit Received

  • Designs & Drawings Approved & Signed Off

All together these steps can take around 4-10 months depending on when you choose your contractor, if you have a plan ready or if you need to create one, and how long it takes to approve designs.

Getting a permit can take 30-90 days depending on where your hotel is located, the accuracy of the submitted permits, and any unforeseen requirements that could delay getting them. 

Understanding the amount of time it takes to get to the permit stage of a renovation and how long it typically takes to obtain permits will help you when creating a timeline for your hotel renovation.

Pro Tip - At Amerail Systems we specialize in renovating hotels across the country and know what it takes to obtain permits in most areas. 

Click here to learn more about how permits play into the hotel renovation timeline.

Supply Chain

Delays and disruptions within the supply chain can sometimes happen more than we would like them to. Shortages in materials, fixtures, or equipment due to global events, transportation issues, or manufacturing delays can impede progress and extend project timelines.


Hoteliers can prepare for supply chain disruptions by:

  • Researching suppliers and vendors to make sure they have a good reputation within the industry. 

  • Ensure that your suppliers and vendors can order the materials well in advance to give time for possible delays. 

  • Budget for delays in your renovation timeline.

Finding a trustworthy supplier can be very useful for renovations down the road. 

Pro Tip: When you work with Amerail Systems you gain access to our 35+ years of experience renovating for hotels as well as our established relationships with vendors and our value-engineered solutions.

Structural Issues/Hazardous Materials

Depending on how old the building you are renovating is, hidden structural damages or deficiencies such as mold, rot, or compromised foundations may be discovered and require immediate attention. These hidden structural issues are one of the most common reasons for unexpected costs & delays during a hotel renovation. 

When renovating older buildings there is also a chance that you could uncover hazardous materials like asbestos or lead-based paint. These would then need to be safely removed according to regulations.


As always, the most important way to prepare for unexpected costs and delays is to expect them. 

Ensure that your renovation timeline and budget has room for this specific issue, especially if your hotel is older, or experiences a lot of rainfall/snow.

Conducting a pre-renovation inspection with experienced professionals such as Amerail Systems who know what to look for, will give you a better chance at finding any damage as early as possible.

Once the walk-through is completed and you have identified all of the structural issues that are going on within the building, develop a plan that addresses how you will fix the structural damages and remove the hazardous materials from the hotel.

Pro Tip: Learning how to spot damage to your hotels EIFS could help you plan your renovation timeline more accurately, saving you time. - Click here to learn more about EIFS damage and how to locate it.

Guest Disruption

Finally, an issue that won’t necessarily delay your renovations but one that hoteliers definitely want to avoid to the best of their abilities.

As always, guests should be your number one priority, this is especially true when renovating your hotel. 

Luckily, there are many ways you can prevent too much guest disruption during your hotel renovation.


  • Communication

  • Social Media

  • Signage

  • Teamwork

First and foremost, keep an open line of communication with all of your guests letting them know about any renovations happening from before they book to when they arrive. 

If your hotel has social media, keep your followers up to date about the renovations your hotel is undergoing. Doing this can give your guests a heads-up about the renovations while also getting them excited about the new look of your hotel. 

Putting up signage around your hotel is another great way to inform guests about the renovations that are taking place. Making signs such as “Pardon our dust, we’re Renovating your next stay.” and for “quiet hours” (hours where construction/noise will not be occurring) can be very useful for guests. To go the extra mile, include photo renderings of what your hotel will look like post-renovation to get them excited about returning.

Finally, ensure that you have assembled a team dedicated to keeping your hotel running and guests happy. To prepare your team, include training for hotel staff on how to handle any guest complaints as well as having them inform guests about renovations during check-in. Also make sure to choose a contractor who will work with you to create a construction schedule that works for your hotel and guests. 

Pro tip: Check out our guide to keeping guests happy during a hotel renovation.


While hotel renovations can sometimes present challenges from start to finish, quick thinking, a top-tier team, effective communication skills, proactive planning, and problem-solving all work together to help you prepare for anything. 

By anticipating potential obstacles when making your timeline & developing a budget, hoteliers can worry less about hiccups along the way and keep their focus on the final result. 

Pro Tip: Amerail Systems very own Director of Construction, Scott Lindquist, had this to say on preparing for a hotel renovation: 

“Site visits by the Architect or Design team along with the contractor are critical to try to catch as many potential issues prior to construction as possible. It's essential to anticipate these potential challenges and have contingency plans in place to mitigate their impact on the renovation project. Regular communication, thorough planning, and flexibility are key to successfully navigating unforeseen conditions during hotel renovations.” - Scott Lindquist, Director of Construction - Amerail Systems

Because a hotel renovation can be so exciting for a hotelier, it is possible to overlook some issues you might not have considered when planning your renovation.

The best tip we can give you is not to worry. If you choose to work with a team like Amerail Systems, your renovation will be a success no matter the obstacles.


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