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Five key considerations to select a Project Manager for your Hotel

When developing a hotel, it’s important to appoint a Project Manager to run, coordinate and represent the owner´s interests throughout the full development phase. However, hotel owners with little experience in refurbishment or development sometimes underestimate the role of the Project Manager. They may consider that the selected Architect should be the one responsible for project management or they may want to take a more proactive role in selecting one. However, supervising the construction or refurbishment of a hotel is tremendously time-consuming, and not appointing a Project Manager can be a costly mistake.

I would say that it is the typical solution of “penny wise, pound foolish”. 

It is definitely extremely important to appoint a Project Manager to run, coordinate and represent the owner´s interest throughout the full development phase. The question here comes, what should I consider when selecting a Project Manager?. What are the main skill set that is needed?. 

Here are the five key considerations when selecting a Project Manager: 

1. Skill set required:

Technical skills are a must in a Project Manager, and architects, quantity surveyors, engineers, and coordinators with experience in buildings are all good options. It’s important to understand the complexity of the development and to select the right professional for the job. For example, if the investment in retrofitting the property is mainly focused on installations, then an engineer would be the best candidate to coordinate that job.

2. Planning

Planning and coordination are crucial when dealing with a multi-skilled team. The Project Manager should set up a schedule that includes all tasks and the responsible person for each task. It’s highly advisable that the Project Manager organizes weekly calls or meetings with the team to review progress. Accurate records of these meetings should be kept to follow up on outstanding issues and resolve any disputes between contractors.

Having a right track record of MoM will allow the owner and the project manager to address important issues when the building is delayed or out of budget. It also serves as a tool in case of disputes between the different contractors.

3. Local experience in developing or refurbishing hotels:

It’s essential that the Project Manager has local experience to ensure they are well-connected and have knowledge of local regulations. This can help them find solutions to construction problems, which can materially impact the timing of the construction.

We face numerous construction problems during the development of the hotel. Some of these problems may be solved by having a well-connected Project Manager. He can find the solution by picking up the phone and calling the right local contractor and person. 

It may sound extremely simplistic. The reality is that those small solutions may materially impact on the timing of the construction. It is only when a Project Manager makes a difference. 

4. A combination between office and site:

The best Project Manager should combine planning skills with technical skills, and ideally, should also be comfortable visiting the worksite to control the progress of the work.

We found during my career two types of Project Managers, the ones who love planning, but rather dislike visiting the works at site and those who mainly are on site. The optimum should be the combination.  

When dealing with large capex refurbishment plans, it is rather important that the project manager shall understand every single step and relate those with the specific of works.  

5. Personality:

A strong personality is required for the role of Project Manager, and it’s important to maintain good relationships with stakeholders while maintaining a robust approach when needed. Empathy, technical skills, and a strong sense of commitment are also necessary.

In conclusion, appointing a Project Manager is essential for a successful hotel development. It’s important to understand the needs of the project, the stakeholders involved, and the timing required to complete it. Don’t underestimate the contribution of this important figure, as they can help resolve construction problems and disputes, and ensure the project is completed on time and on budget.

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