With just a fortnight to go until an estimated 50,000 of our colleagues in the construction industry descend on London’s Docklands for the annual Ecobuild show, it is reasonable to assume a fair few of them will still not have got all their arrangements in place. I’m not talking about the frantic round- the-clock effort by exhibitors to complete their stands before the doors open, but where everyone is going to lay their weary heads.
Look out over the podium in front of the main entrance at Excel and all you see across the old Victoria Dock is hotels – and, of course, The Fox pub – with most of the national chains represented, but there still isn’t room for everybody. People will be camping out as far away as Heathrow or Clacton-on-Sea; and it’s the same across the country anytime a major event takes place.
This might seem strange as construction of new hotels actually continued quite strongly during the economic downturn, especially around London which hosted the 2012 Olympic Games. Economics, however, dictate that the hotel industry prepares to serve a steady base-load, rather than spikes in demand; while it has its own special, periodic, problems in terms of providing capacity.
People simply don’t look after hotel rooms like they would their own homes. We’re not talking petulant rock stars smashing up the furniture and putting a champagne bottle through the TV screen, but just continual accidental damage. Even the poshest venues in London’s West End, with their exquisite interiors suffer heavy wear and tear – and it’s not just the paying public causing the damage.
The daily burden of turning around bedrooms for new punters – and operational demands on the public areas like the bars and restaurants – sees the staff cause their share of the damage. Chips and scratches caused by trolleys, or just the bleaching effect which aggressive cleaning chemicals have on counter tops or vanity units.
All of which explains why at Plastic Surgeon we find our repair services are in such demand from the big hotel chains around the country: wanting our Finishers to carry out work on both an emergency and a planned basis. For having a room out of commission represents a potential loss of profit – which in the more exclusive destinations could be costing well over a thousand pounds a week.
For sure, any decent sized hotel has a maintenance man, and there are building companies which specialize in carrying out very rapid refurbishments for leisure destinations, but our Finishers are uniquely equipped to execute ‘Smart Repairs’ that can see the room back in service within a couple of hours. Even something seemingly terminal, such as a hole through a shower tray – which would otherwise require replacement, along with retiling and redecoration – can be tackled using the kit and training our Finishers possess.
A team of them have recently been working their way around one of the big airport hotels at Heathrow, and just prior to Christmas our product development manager, Andy Keenagh, was perfecting a new treatment for stone basin surrounds that have been badly stained by soap or cleaning chemicals.
So whenever hotel maintenance managers are gearing up for big events like the annual Great North Run, or the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, there is a good chance they will be looking up Plastic Surgeon’s number to help ensure every single one of their bedrooms is ready to receive guests.