What is Hotel Maintenance? 4 Steps to Ensure Happy Guests

August 16, 2019 in Maintenance



What is Hotel Maintenance? 4 Steps to Ensure Happy Guests

If you want your guests to leave great reviews, recommend your hotel, and, better yet, become regulars- you need to be diligent about your hotel maintenance management.

A study by Cornell’s Center for Hospitality Research states that 57% of guests who are delighted with their stay at your hotel will return to either your specific location or within the hotel family. 89% of the same group said they would recommend the brand to friends and family.

Maintenance and the unsung heroes behind the scenes play a vital role in the overall guest experience. An effective maintenance program will ensure that guests are happy, comfortable, and safe throughout their stay.

According to Statista, the revenue generated by the hotel industry in the U.S. alone in 2017 was $208 billion. That number has been increasing year after year since the turn of the century.

Key takeaways:

If you want your hotel to stay top of mind with customers, you need to be doing your part to maintain a level of excellence that will keep guests happy and have them coming back again and again.

  1. Happy guests return
  2. Happy guests recommend your hotel and brand to friends and family
  3. Effective maintenance programs ensure your guests have a satisfying stay.

What Does Hotel Maintenance Include?

The most visible components of hotel maintenance include clean/working rooms, clean and operational amenities, and working elevators.

Hardly.

The heavy-duty maintenance is often hidden behind the scenes. These can include:

  • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Condoning (HVAC)
  • Electrical infrastructure
  • Plumbing
  • Kitchen & Dining
  • Exterior and Landscape

Depending on the hotel’s size and clientele, there may be other operations to add to that list.

However, that’s not all that hotel maintenance encompasses. You also need to look after the upkeep of:

  • Refrigeration
  • Elevators
  • In-room TV service
  • Phone Lines
  • Staff Computers
  • Internet and WiFi
  • Room Furnishings
  • Lighting Fixtures
  • Paint/Wallpaper
  • Carpeting/Flooring

Maintenance tasks tend to fall into one of three categories:

  1. Preventative maintenance
  2. Reactive maintenance
  3. Major projects 

If your hotel is handling all of its maintenance needs in house and not subcontracting out some jobs to third parties, you have your hands full!

Particularly in the hospitality business, it’s ideal if most maintenance, routine or otherwise, happens before a guest complaint. That places an extra level of importance on preventative maintenance.

Let’s talk about several ways you can keep your guests happy—and coming back—with proper hotel maintenance management.

Starting points include:

  • Hotel Maintenance Logs – Keeping an accurate log of who is doing what is a critical first step. Ideally, this can be easily shared and auditable if management or legal needs access.
  • Standard Operating Procedures – If you want your staff to maintain your property with consistency, the best way to accomplish that is to have everyone follow the same procedure every time.
  • Preventative Maintenance Software – Ask any veteran hotel operations director or maintenance manager, and you’ll understand why it’s so easy for preventative maintenance to get lost in the shuffle. You could try to handle it with paper and pen, but there is a much better way. Having software that automatically reminds your team is critical to keeping tabs on all your valuable assets.

Here are a few steps to take that will, at the very least, ensure that your guests don’t leave your property unhappy.

1. Maintain Your HVAC Equipment

A study done by the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research revealed:

  • More than 70% of issues that guests report have to do with room related problems, including problems with the HVAC equipment.

Imagine staying at a hotel in Phoenix during the summer, and finding out the air conditioning in your room isn’t working. Or Boston in the heart of winter with no heat.

If that happens to your guests, they aren’t leaving with happy memories, planning their return stay.
No, they are thinking about the nasty review they’re leaving for you online as soon as they get home.

Equipment responsible for climate control is among the first assets our hospitality customers typically upload into MaintainX – and for a good reason. It isn’t always the most exciting part of a technician’s day to replace air filters and monitor those systems, but it certainly becomes a bad day when that equipment fails.

Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedules for routine checks and that you keep a hotel maintenance log of each service and inspection.

Simple routine maintenance keeps your guests happy, keeps things running smoothly, and can ultimately save you from expensive repairs at a later date. Maintainance routes include checking and replacing filters, making sure nothing is blocking heating ducts, and that you have no leaks anywhere in your system.

Standard operating procedures are essential here too. Make sure your crew knows everything they need to inspect and how to do it the right way.

  1. 70% of hotel complaints have to do with room related issues.
  2. HVAC complaints are one of the most common problems.  
  3. Have a preventative maintenance plan and keep a hotel maintenance log.
  4. Create standard operating procedures to ensure consistency with your inspections and service schedule.
Basin siphon or sink drain in a bathroom, clean
Basin siphon or sink drain in a bathroom, clean.

2. Maintain Your Plumbing Systems

It’s more than leaking faucets and clogged toilets.

If you want your guests to be happy and return, here are some key plumbing areas that need your focus.

When it comes to plumbing, your hotel maintenance management plan should include checks on the following:

  • Check all plumbing lines for signs of rust, cracks, and leaks
  • Inspect toilets for any type of malfunction
  • Regularly check the water pressure and temperature
  • Be alert for signs of water damage to ceilings and floors

When it comes to issues with either water supply or drainage, the results can be visibly ugly and significant damage. The cost to fix the initial problem and the havoc it costs can be extensive, time-consuming, and disruptive.

The real fun starts when you miss a leak and mold/mildew set in and cause even more problems.

Having a preventative maintenance system in place, where you can address issues before they become problems, is the key to operational success.

Similar to the recommendations above, plumbing is an area where an up-to-date maintenance log and standard operating procedures, including walkthrough checklists, can be the difference between a good conversation with management or a very unpleasant one.

3. Maintain Your Electrical Systems

Power outages are rarely fun and always disruptive.

Imagine an entire hotel without power. Of course, if there is a bigger problem with the grid and not just your specific location, there’s only so much you can do about it. Or is there? Does your hotel have a backup generator in place? At the very least, for emergency systems and critical equipment?

You should also be sure to have regularly scheduled checks and preventative maintenance on:

  • electrical panels
  • circuit breakers
  • outlets
  • plugs
  • boilers

This includes outlets and plugs in individual rooms as well. If there’s only one outlet in the bathroom and it doesn’t work, you’re going to have a whole lot of people unhappy when they can’t use blow dryers and such in the bathroom.

Power outages are rarely announced in advance. This means you may not have experienced personnel on hand when issues arise. The best way to prepare for these types of problems is to create standard operating procedures for your team to use in the event of a power outage. These procedures may include verifying the fail-safe mechanisms within your heavy-duty equipment to make sure that you don’t have an unpleasant surprise boiler breakdown when the power comes back on.

4. Maintain Your Lighting

Remember the 70% number mentioned above that includes things that make guests unhappy?

Poor lighting is one of the complaints often mentioned. This includes burnt out bulbs in rooms and bathrooms.

Light bulbs come with an estimated lifespan, and it is relatively straightforward to predict when they will need replacing. Creating a maintenance schedule that includes an estimate of when bulbs should be replaced is simple and effective. And since they can and do sometimes burn out early, checking lightbulbs should just be one of the standard checks regularly done.

Remember, lighting isn’t just a convenience. It also aids in the safety of your guests. Outdoor and facility lighting is just as important as the lighting in your rooms.

Hotel Maintenance Software

There’s a lot involved when it comes to hotel maintenance. The bigger your hotel, the more work you need to do to keep up. Yet, far too many hotels still operate using pen/paper/walkie-talkie based solutions.

Fortunately, there are several choices when it comes to software. If you’re looking for something to aid in creating and streamlining workflows and procedures, or something that can help in creating forms and checklists, consider MaintainX. We work well with large, well-known hospitality brands, including Marriott and Hilton, and also with dozens of small bed and breakfast inns.

Once you’ve straightened out your maintenance protocols, most of our hospitality customers also use MaintainX to stay up to date with safety and compliance inspections.

With proper standard operating procedures, you and your staff can be sure to provide a consistently memorable hotel experience.

If you are interested in learning more about how MaintainX can help you and your team out, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We would be happy to share standard operating procedures that have been effective with our existing hotel customers.

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