August 16, 2022MAINTENANCE
Book More Guests with Better Hotel Maintenance
Keeping hotel patrons comfortable is more important than ever before. In this article, we’ll share some key action steps you can take to streamline hotel maintenance, enhance customer satisfaction, and ultimately, book more rooms.
For the past few years, we’ve been discouraged from taking vacations and business trips. Unsurprisingly, increased vacancies have profoundly impacted the hospitality industry.
As recenntly as 2020, amidst the pandemic, global occupancy rates have been less than 15 percent of typical averages for luxury hotels. Shockingly, the numbers were around 40 percent less for economy hotels.
The good news? Safety restrictions are lifting in some areas, and individuals are becoming increasingly willing to travel. However, competition for customers remains fierce. Besides seeking new ways to reduce off-market inventory, one of the most critical things hotel managers can do right now is revisit their O&M processes.
Hotels must care for their employees, staying engaged with them and keeping them safe. They must manage customer expectations, recognize that these will continue to evolve, and prepare to act agilely to address health and safety concerns.McKinsey
How to Improve Hotel Maintenance (and Book More Guests)
The result of effective hotel maintenance management is comfortable, safe, and happy guests. In turn, satisfied patrons may tell their friends, family, and even strangers on the Internet about how much they enjoyed their stay. The result of ineffective general maintenance? Uncomfortable, stressed, and grouchy guests who definitely tell anyone who will listen about their disappointments!
As you know, it only takes one bad online review to discourage some patrons from booking. So, why doesn’t every maintenance supervisor run their department like a well-oiled machine? Put simply, hotel maintenance involves a lot of moving pieces.
Establishments with small teams often struggle to implement organizational systems that ensure preventive maintenance (PM) tasks are completed. And even teams with enough maintenance workers on staff sometimes struggle to prioritize maintenance requests.
What Does Hotel Maintenance Include?
Before reviewing our building maintenance tips, let’s review the most typical hotel maintenance tasks. While this list is by no means exhaustive, these are the primary assets that impact guest experiences and keep hotels running:
- HVAC systems
- Heating systems
- Flooring and carpeting
- Wall paints and wallpapers
- Lighting fixtures
- Room furnishings
- WiFi connections
- Staff computers
- Phone lines
- Guest room TV services
Note: Each of these assets may be subject to various types of maintenance depending on circumstances.
Types of Hotel Maintenance
Hotel maintenance activities are categorized into three distinct groups:
- Preventive Maintenance (PM): These are maintenance activities intended to keep a hotel’s assets functional for optimal guest experiences. PM work orders are often scheduled based on manufacturer-recommended time or usage guidelines. However, they can also be scheduled based on individual asset history. Asset candidates for PM include electrical systems, plumbing systems, and HVAC systems.
- Reactive Maintenance: These are maintenance activities performed to restore an asset to its functional state after a breakdown. Examples include replacing light bulbs in rooms after they burn out, replacing broken furniture, repairing broken doors and windows, and fixing water leaks.
- Major Projects: These are new additions intended to enhance the customer experience. Examples include building a swimming pool, installing parking lot lighting, and remodeling guest suites.
While reactive maintenance and major projects are unavoidable, hotels should practice preventive maintenance activities to minimize customer complaints. Aim for an 80:20 percent ratio of preventive to reactive maintenance as a goal. Taking the time to fix small issues before they become big reduces bothersome breakdowns that ruin guest experiences.
How Do You Maintain a 5-Star Hotel?
Here are a few tips to effectively handle hotel maintenance.
1. Keep Maintenance Logs
It’s important to maintain an accurate log of your hotel maintenance activities. This includes records of maintenance activities to perform, maintenance personnel responsible for completing the tasks, and when and how to complete the tasks. The logs should be easy to share and audit.
2. Establish Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
Standard operating procedures help ensure staff and technicians perform maintenance tasks consistently regardless of the technician on duty. You also can use SOPs to onboard and teach new team members how to perform their assigned duties. SOPs keep everyone on the same page regarding safety audits, quality control, and maintenance protocols.
3. Leverage Preventive Maintenance Software
Relying on paper records for asset management and work order assignment can result in the loss of crucial information. They are also difficult to update and share with others within the team and organization. Maintenance software such as Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) helps facility managers streamline maintenance activities and share information with team members in real time. It also makes it easier to access historical asset data—dates serviced, money spent on repairs, technician hours logged—to inform budgeting decisions (more on CMMS in a moment).
4. Keep Guests Safe
Many of today’s patrons value safety above all else. Housekeeping staff should clean and sanitize hotel guestrooms, lobbies, and common areas according to agreed-upon standards. The best way to ensure compliance is to use CMMS digital checklists. With MaintainX, hotel workers can check-off cleaning procedures in real time from the convenience of their smartphones. Maintenance managers have access to digital audit trails that show who cleaned what and when. As always, assign routine safety and cleaning procedures for sprinklers, smoke detectors, swimming pools, and other potential safety hazards.
Of course, there are many ways to streamline hotel maintenance activities. These tips, however, are the most reliable for reducing downtime, maintaining quality, and ensuring guests have predictable hotel experiences. Once you have your systems in place, it’s time to schedule preventive maintenance for your most critical assets.
4 Important Preventive Maintenance Tasks for Hotels
If you want to ensure guests stay comfortable, these are the four areas of hotel maintenance to prioritize on:
1. HVAC Systems Maintenance
According to Hotel Online, over 70 percent of hotel guests’ complaints are related to room problems such as malfunctioning HVAC systems. Whether it’s in the searing heat of summer or the cold winter, no guest is returning to your hotel if they’re unable to regulate their room temperatures. In fact, they’re likely to leave a negative review. Therefore, regularly inspect the systems and ensure that they’re functional and replace air filters on schedule. Follow manufacturer recommendations when performing maintenance on HVAC systems.
2. Plumbing Systems Maintenance
Most hotel owners think that maintenance of plumbing systems is just about dealing with clogged toilets and leaking pipes. It’s more than that. You should also ensure that your plumbing lines aren’t rusty, cracked, or blocked. Ensure that the water temperatures and pressure are at the right level. Additionally, you should also watch out for water damage to your ceilings and floors.
3. Electrical Systems Maintenance
Power outages are disruptive and negate your guests’ experience at your hotel. While the source of the problem may be the grid, you should strive to provide a backup power generator to ensure guests can still enjoy critical facilities such as elevators and HVAC systems. You should also inspect your electrical systems for faults to avoid accidents, such as guests getting electrocuted. Staff should perform regular checks and maintenance on boilers, plugs, electricity outlets, circuit breakers, and electrical panels. Ensure that the electrical system in each room is functioning as it should.
4. Lighting Systems Maintenance
Poor lighting is also one of the factors that contribute to a negative guest experience. Ensure that there are no burnt-out bulbs in your rooms and bathrooms. While it can be difficult to predict when bulbs will need replacing, you can ensure there’s
always a maintenance technician on hand to handle such eventualities. You can also create a maintenance schedule estimating when bulbs will need replacing besides regular inspections to identify and replace burnt-out bulbs. Proper lighting isn’t necessary just for comfort but also for safety.
These are the four core areas of hotel maintenance you should prioritize for a positive customer experience. You can use MaintainX CMMS to create, assign, and monitor recurring PMs to reduce the likelihood of critical assets breaking down and inconveniencing hotel guests.
Streamline Task Management with Hotel Maintenance Software
- Managing resource and labor
- Keeping asset information such as manufacturer and model type
- Sending and receiving work requests
- Managing work orders
- Tracking materials and inventory
- Reporting and auditing maintenance
- Simplifies Maintenance Management: Helps develop effective maintenance strategies by providing asset historical maintenance data.
- Enhances Organization: Centralized data storage makes it easy for the maintenance team and hotel staff to cross-reference maintenance data.
- Decreases Downtime: Helps maintenance teams focus on improving asset uptime instead of tedious administrative tasks such as consulting clunky spreadsheets, paper work orders, emails, voicemails, and text messages.
- Improves Communication: MaintainX is the only CMMS app on the market that includes work order commenting, team messaging, and individual messaging. This means hotel staff can instantly communicate time-sensitive information through a reliable, centralized channel.
- Reduces Capital Spending: CMMS allows managers to track asset performance and move from reactive maintenance to preventative maintenance. Studies suggest companies can save an average of 12 to 18 percent in costs by investing PM.
Furthermore, CMMS checklists help prove compliance with regulatory requirements such as OSHA standards.
Tips for Hiring Exemplary Hotel Maintenance Staff
Finally, prioritize hiring reliable technicians who know how to remedy a variety of issues. Tips for hiring stand-out maintenance workers include:
- Prioritize candidates with a high school diploma and/or proven maintenance experience repairing critical HVAC, plumbing, lighting, and electrical systems.
- Pay special attention to those with certifications like Certified Maintenance & Reliability Technician (CMRT), Certificate for Apartment Maintenance Technicians, and Building Systems Maintenance Certificate.
- Ask candidates how they would solve common hotel maintenance requests, guest complaints, and other typical problems.
- Evaluate written communication skills by requesting applicants to submit brief emails or cover letters summarizing their work experience.
- Check two to three references to verify potential hires will be reliable, skilled, and enjoyable to work with.
Book More Guests with MaintainX
The hotel industry is navigating unfamiliar territory right now, but one thing remains the same: guests want safe, predictable, and comfortable travel experiences. Hospitality establishments can use this post-Covid period to revamp existing maintenance strategies, safety procedures, and standard procedures.
The easiest way to organize maintenance work is to use CMMS software. MaintainX supports Marriot, Hilton, and dozens of bed and breakfasts in creating recurring work orders, streamlining workflows, and improving team communication.