Fresh Look: What We Did Not Know About the Pre-Opening Process

Written By: Bianca Lopez

Thanks to the University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management’s close collaboration with the HFTP Americas Research Center, an indispensable new resource is now available to hospitality professionals.

When researchers Agnes DeFranco, Ed.D., CHAE, Arlene Ramirez, MBA, CHAE, CHE, CHIA, and Tanya Venegas, MBA, MHM, CHIA started receiving inquiries from HFTP members looking for resources regarding pre-opening expenditures in hospitality, they realized how few there were, and set out to find some answers with the creative freedom that comes with researching an oft-overlooked topic. With the goal of demystifying the process and reinforcing industry standards, the research team worked extensively with a diverse body of financial executives who had opened hotels to share their experience.

Pre-Opening Expenditures in Hospitality is not only a must-read for anyone who will open a brand-new club, hotel, or restaurant facility. Those who plan on introducing new products or services, conducting business in a new territory, or working with an entirely new class of customers or beneficiaries will also benefit from the critical insight it offers.

Guidance based on contributors responses include common practices for pre-opening budgeting: development, timeline and oversight. Within the budget planning is a chart of top expenses by property class and labor costs, with details on hiring timelines and employee relocation benefits.

The research team commented “[We] not only studied timelines and costs from an operational standpoint, but also considered the impact of technology on the pre-opening process.” Because the financial underpinnings of the pre-opening process are so involved in every aspect of this phase, the researchers went a step further to take a crucial look at one of its most significant components: the installation and training related to information systems. For example, while executives will learn how the majority tend to misclassify certain expenses that need to be more firmly standardized across the industry, they will also become equipped to anticipate common setbacks that hinder finding the right infrastructure for information technology and keeping the project on schedule—all of which will have an impact on the pre-opening timeline and costs.

By leaving no stone unturned, the research team reminds us of the big picture: whether you have been involved in one pre-opening process or one hundred, there is always room to fine-tune your course of action and learn from the experiences of industry peers. Ready to take a fresh look at your hospitality business’s pre-opening practices? Start here. After all, there is no better time than spring to reexamine old habits and make way for new, streamlined strategies.

The complete study is now available on HFTP News.

Bianca Lopez is the research associate at the HFTP Foundation. Bianca can be reached at bianca.lopez@hftp.org or +1 (512) 220-4038.

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