Preventative maintenance is an essential tool for hospitality management. Especially in the hotel industry, it requires extensive knowledge of key areas of intervention, installations, equipment, and the flow of guests. Among the many types of existing maintenance, hotel preventative maintenance is thought to be the most effective asset in the hospitality industry as it is directly related to customer satisfaction.
What is Preventative Maintenance?
Nearly anything you can imagine requires a little bit of preventative maintenance to a certain degree. It is often seen as a damage control effort which also aims to anticipate and prevent future occurrences of disasters. Installing antivirus software on your computer, receiving the flu shot, or changing the oil on your car are some of many examples of preventative maintenance. Making small alterations now keeps problems from growing and spiraling out of control later. Poor planning can translate into an unstoppable crisis. Employing preventative maintenance is taking steps to proactively stop a problem before it starts.
80/20 Rule for Hospitality Management and Maintenance
There is an unofficial rule in the hospitality industry which urges hotels to increase their preventative maintenance operations and keep corrections of failures to the minimum using the ratio of 80 percent designated for planned tasks and 20 percent for unplanned jobs. This division was purposely designed to improve hotel guest experience. Since unplanned interventions are more costly, this informal policy leads bigger savings. Though the 80/20 ratio is a general rule that is willingly followed by many hotel owners, managers and staff, it is neither an imposition nor meant to serve as a consensus among maintenance managers in the hotel industry. It is merely stands to be used as a reference to set and pursue goals.
The 80/20 rule has another definition. In regards to hotel management, it can also mean that 80 percent of your work is based on 20 percent of your assets. Or that 80 percent of your expenses come from 20 percent of the hotel’s assets. The primary objective of this rule is to steer your efforts where it will show at least 80 percent of your results.
Prioritizing Guest Experience
Guest rooms are the most crucial assets at a hotel. Maintenance of these rooms needs to be seamless to ensure an excellent guest experience whatever the duration of stay may be. This is where hotel preventative maintenance steps in. It effortlessly works to counter issues that would otherwise disrupt the overall hospitality industry experience you want your guests to have. Hotel managers should steer their focus on their team’s efforts, especially on hotel areas that require full commitment to preventative maintenance – not only due to seasonal changes affected by the flow of guests but also the impact it has on customer satisfaction.
Key Areas of Prevention and Maintenance
Air conditioning is one of the most common guest complaints at hotels. Common issues include inability to reach desired temperature levels or the unpleasant odors emanating from vents. As such, this is one of the key areas which prevention maintenance needs to be focused on more attentively. Additionally, a lot of problems can be avoided by investing in good quality appliances such as lamps and relevant commercial grade furniture. Constant reparations and replacement of heating system elements and chairs, for instance, are expensive to make. They also can dampen guest experience. In case of a mold or drain system failure, even the smallest leaks in the plumbing system can not only cause great damage to the hotel infrastructure but also negate customer satisfaction.
All kitchen equipment should be inspected for operating efficiency and problems. Special attention must be paid to maintenance to ensure that quality standards and suitability are met by HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points). Parking lots form a first and lasting impression of hotels among guests. Pot holes need to be fixed. Storm drains need to be cleaned. Lighting needs to be inspected. Other common areas such as elevators, fitness rooms, pools, and dining areas also require prevention maintenance. Wobbly damaged tables are deterrence to an enjoyable guest experience. What is more, it’s senseless to wait for an accident to make repairs. Each infrastructure is different from one another and therefore presents their own set of needs. If you know your own structure well enough, defining key areas for hotel preventative maintenance should be easy for you. Also, planning and reparations should be made without interfering with the guest’s stay.
Hotel prevention maintenance is not a one-man job. You will need to enlist help from highly trained staff members. In instances where there is a malfunction in any of the hotel’s system, ramifications can be calamitous as it affects more than one room. Having a professional crew on 24 hour standby is crucial to any hospitality management. They should be capable of localizing the source of energy on short notice to prevent further damages and losses. Especially when hiring in-house repairmen is not financially available for a start-up hotel.
Work with your staff to set up a schedule for preventative maintenance and lay out your instructions and expectations – all of which can be effectively done during periods and off-peak hours. Receive feedback from your maintenance staff. Delegate tasks they can handle but make sure they carefully inspect anything they can easily miss should an emergency situation arise. Conduct a test run for a week to see how much gets done before finalizing your plans.
If you can stop a disaster from happening, why wouldn’t you take action? Horror stories of floods, computer crashes, and more resulting unfold each day. Hotel preventative maintenance can save you time and money by keeping these problems from blooming into devastating catastrophes in the future. The outcome of keeping up your guest rooms is happy guests who will most likely return. Maintaining order in the back of the house is just as important as keeping up with the appearance of your entire hotel. Inspecting your hotel’s systems and facilities on a regular basis to preclude unexpected scenarios is a crucial aspect of preventative maintenance. If performed effectively, preventative maintenance accounts for all the hotel infrastructure specifics and draws and annual maintenance schedule is a way that guest experience is not hampered by it.