When we get called to consult many times the Superior Small Lodging owner/ manager has issues with the up keep of the hotel. Many times they play the blame game but overall it is they who are the issue not the Engineering Department. The Engineering department should be the masters of the up keep of the Superior Small Lodging not housemen for housekeeping. Just as the Housekeeping department should protect the asset by keeping it clean the Engineering department is to protect the assets by keeping it in working order and safe. The Engineering Department protects the owners / managers Superior Small Lodging by making sure all items in the rooms, grounds and other public spaces are in working order and SAFE. The word “safe” is in caps at the end of the pervious sentence, because 90% of the time the Superior Small Lodging owners / managers forget this word until they have a lawsuit on their hands. Then the insurance company walks in with their adjuster and says “this was preventable” if you had just kept up with the maintenance. Guess what the Superior Small Lodging owners / managers insurance now just tripled in price and if you have two or more of these the insurance company will drop you. So going back to the Engineering Department they should NOT be the catch all or cleaning rooms they SHOULD be keeping your Superior Small Lodging in SAFE working order for all guests. As a owners or managers most Superior Small Lodging fail there Superior Small Lodging inspections or have bad Trip Advisor scores because the engineer departments are not keeping up with the day to to up keep of rooms and the building maintenance.
If you want a strong Superior Small Lodging then you need a business plan right? The same with the Superior Small Lodging Engineering Department. In most Hotels/ Motels the plan is called PMS (Planned Maintenance System). Sounds like a lot but it is really easy. A PMS consists of three Items, day to day up keep, monthly up keep and annul up keep. There are many difference software out there if you would like to track your Engineering department and the most popular is called HotSOS (Hotel Service Optimization System - http://www.m-tech.com/products/hotsos/ ). For a Superior Small Lodging Engineering Department all you really need is a good “Check List” (I have said this before in other blogs “check lists” are the key to Hotel Management) and a tracking sheets are even better. Here is how we suggest to set up a good PMS for your Superior Small Lodging Engineering department.
- Write down all the daily tasks that should be accomplished AM and PM by the department. Then write how long this should take the Engineering Department to perform these tasks correctly (do not put down 15 minutes when they would take 20 minutes on s good day, it would turnout much safer and cleaner done right). The best way we have found is to take a Microsoft excel spreadsheet and number the 1 Colum 1-whatever a day’s task list is. Let’s say for example 1-15. Then next to #1 have- Clean and inspect pool for defects- 9AM to 9:30AM. Perfect, the pool is the first task the AM Engineering department should do every day. Then next #2 – Get a list of rooms that need times fixed from housekeeping- 9:30AM- 12:00PM and est.
- Now that you have a check list and a daily task sheet in excel, the next item is to realize certain extra larger items need to be done weekly. In PMS the planning of maintenance is key to the program. So in the daily check list you can choose the day but Monday or Tuesday is best (normally they are the lowest occupancy days in most Superior Small Lodging) and have a planned 4 to 5 hours for an engineer of the Hotel/ Motel do what most companies call a punching list or a list of rooms that need an overhaul. This consists of taking rooms offline or putting them out-of-order while the Engineering Department goes through the room with a fine tooth comb. Many times these punches include painting or touch up of the rooms, changing of air condition filters, light bulbs changes, air conditioning vent blow outs, deep cleaning of bathroom and carpet shampooing. If a Superior Small Lodging Engineering department punches 2 rooms weekly out of the Superior Small Lodging 20 rooms the Engineering Department should touch the same rooms every 10 days. If Engineering department keeps this up then every 10 days for 365 days the department should touch the room 37 times a year. As a Superior Small Lodging owner/ manager you need to decide to do this and keep with it, I can grantee you that the Superior Small Lodging will pass all inspections from anyone that visits if done right. If you look at the Hotel Motel Lodging Association study from 92-2000 the number one issue travelers write or complain about is “things not working in there guest rooms”. I know when my wife and I are traveling and the light in the bathroom is out or the hair dryer is not working it is frustrating. Then you walk outside it evening and cannot see where you are going because the light bulb is out it is unsafe. These are all items a traveler experiences at Superior Small Lodging but with a PMS in place you can cut the complaints in half if not more.
- Now you have a day to day check list you are following and a weekly maintenance plan for the up keep of the rooms, grounds and public areas. The last but the most essential planning of maintenance is the annual up keep of the Superior Small Lodging. Here is where many go oh so wrong. Many large hotels have what they call CapEx or Capital Expenditures- It is used by a company to acquire or upgrade physical assets such as equipment, property, or industrial buildings. Many Superior Small Lodging owners and managers claim deprecation of the building in their taxes and the government says you can but that money should go to replacing the items that are deprecating. Many Superior Small Lodging owners and managers do not set aside money for the maintenance of the big items and when these items fail so does the business. Roofs, hot water heaters, pool pumps, lighting and general annual up keep of the buildings are all essential items a Superior Small Lodging owners and managers should plan for with the Engineering department. Here is an example if your Superior Small Lodging building on the outside has been painted in 2014 then you should be saving for 5 to 7 years when it needs painting again. Take the cost in 2014 and add 3% increase to that cost a year over the 5 to 7 years, then divide it by the 5 to 7 years and plan on saving that much a year to replace the paint. Do the same for the big items you know have a lifespan. Then put a plan together with the Engineering Department to know what they will replace yearly. It may take the Engineering department 6 to 7 months to permit and plan these projects. Superior Small Lodging owners and managers should protect the asset and the employees by making sure they run a well-kept and safe Superior Small Lodging.
I hope this helped you run your Superior Small Lodging better or it has inspired you to try new things
Oigidecht Hotels and Resorts