Due to growing customer expectations and the demands for exceptional service, the hospitality industry will always have unique challenges. Right from the entrance, guests are already making decisions based on the performance of security and the concierge. By the time they check-in, other factors like general maintenance, air conditioning, plumbing, lighting, and a host of other guest services will influence their decisions on whether to become repeat customers.
From large multinational hotels to smaller motels, providing the five-star experience – or something very close to it – remains the benchmark for excellence in this industry.
Here are some of the biggest challenges faced by hotel maintenance managers today:
Hotel guests get an immediate sense of the establishment’s standards from the cleanliness of the premises and, they are not willing to compromise on this. As a matter of fact, guests and customers consider hygiene and cleanliness as a top priority for choosing and recommending hotels to others after their stay. So much so that they are more willing to do without some luxuries and basics like Wi-Fi access, than stay in a dirty hotel according to a Kantar TNS survey for CLR.
That aside, in line with the Hygiene and Safety Act of 1974, it is essential that all areas of the hotel are maintained to the highest standards of hygiene.
Some areas to pay particular attention to include:
● Restrooms as guests will not tolerate a dirty convenience under any circumstances. In the same survey mentioned above, 84 percent of guests mentioned a dirty toilet as the worst thing in a hotel.
● Gym/swimming pool changing areas spotless with adequate hygiene products readily available.
● Restaurant and bar.
● Pest detection and control.
Hotels are at major risk of illnesses occurring because of the wide range of facilities available and the constant movement of different people going in and out. Frequent inspection is critical to ensure the best standards of cleaning and hygiene possible.
2) Asset Management
Hotel maintenance can generate considerable costs in the bid to offer guests the best experience possible. Hence, it is not uncommon to find maintenance staff working under pressure and struggling with long lists of daily tasks. Fortunately, these days hotel operators can save on time and labor by adopting more modern techniques to make maintenance processes more structured, easier to track, more seamless, and cost-effective.
But, ensuring a high standard of service while simultaneously minimizing maintenance expenses requires careful planning and a deep understanding of the unique nature of the hotel in question. For instance, the maintenance manager would want to consider the age of the assets to be maintained, how sensitive or complex these assets are, the available budget for maintenance, etc.
Obviously, these differences mean that the maintenance strategy that works for one facility may not be the best fit for the other. So the best approach would be to consider all the benefits and downsides of each of the major types of maintenance before implementing one or a combination of all three at the hotel.
3) Security and Access Control
Most hotels have areas that require restricted access for the safety and security of guests and employees. For guests, knowing that no one – except cleaning staff – can enter their rooms is a non-negotiable part of having a pleasant stay at a hotel.
However, this is just a basic level example. It gets more complicated when there is the need to designate entire floors or areas of the hotel as restricted access areas. Or where there is a need to program elevators to only carry selected criteria of guests to particular floors. Or maybe even differentiate access for resident vs non- resident guests and so on.
Getting this delicate balance right without loopholes can be tricky and nearly impossible to plan manually. The best solution is to use security and automation systems most commonly available in the form of video surveillance systems, intruder alarms, and access control systems.
These systems will help to simplify daily hotel operations and they have the added benefit of getting the job done in a discreet manner.
4) Energy Efficiency
In the UK, hotels and other large establishments that meet the qualification criteria must submit to a mandatory energy assessment (ESOS) every four years. The aim of this assessment is to identify areas of your hotel that may be consuming excessive energy. But, whether your facility is large enough to undergo ESOS or not, it is still good practice to review your operations with a view to reducing energy usage.
One way to get around this is to replace as many old appliances as possible with similar ones with a high energy efficiency rating. Or take it a step further by considering automating as much of the building systems as possible.
For example, building automation systems can control the following:
● Heating or cooling of rooms as well as control water heaters.
● Lighting through a variety of motion sensors.
● Switch off electricity in vacant rooms, and so much more.
Although the hospitality industry continues to evolve, the desire for excellent customer service will always remain one of its core values.
Hotels that will achieve long-term growth will have to strike a balance between delivering services beyond customer expectations and still maintain optimum and cost-effective operational efficiency.
Bryan Christiansen is the founder and CEO at Limble CMMS . Limble is a modern, easy to use mobile CMMS software that takes the stress and chaos out of maintenance by helping managers organize, automate, and streamline their maintenance operations.