Streamlining the Operations of a Hotel Maintenance Department
By Lillian Connors
Last updated May 27, 2021
2 min read
Maintenance staff are the red blood cells of every successful hotel. Without their dedication and coordination, any hotel would lose first guests, then revenue, and soon be forced to shut down. Of course, the first thing a visitor sees are the friendly and chatty desk clerks whose job it is to check guests in and handle the payments. Then, there is the housekeeping service, who make the rooms up every morning. However, it’s the preventive maintenance staff that provides an invisible hand that makes the operation of such a complex system possible.
Preventing bad scenarios
Trapped guests thumping on the broken elevator door isn’t a desirable image in any hotel. Why wait till you’re full to the rafters to hear about the cable television issue? Hotel managers are aware that it’s much better to prevent breakdowns before they occur than to wait for guests to complain. Accordingly, their job is to make sure the maintenance department performs routine checks of all the major systems such as heating, AC, plumbing, cable and Wi-Fi.
Tackling safety issues
While replacing a single burned out bulb is relatively fast and clean, tackling a bigger electrical issue may require staff marching back and forth down the hallways, trying to figure out the component that short-circuited. It is on the maintenance team to ensure smooth operation of the hotel by running weekly, monthly and yearly preventive checks, replacements and repairs.
In many ways, they are responsible for the guests’ safety by regularly changing air filters and making sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have functioning batteries. They are also in charge of the locks on the main entrance, bedrooms, conference rooms and areas that need secure access. Cleaning pool filters and taking care of tripping hazards such as raised carpet edges or dislodged floor tiles is also in their purview.
If one of the systems mentioned above go out, the consequences can be disastrous, as sometimes the whole floor or even the entire hotel can be affected. If the whole building blacks out, aside from ensuring a speedy recovery, you need to deal with disgruntled guests and spend money on finding them other accommodations. It’s up to a highly trained and experienced maintenance crew to localize the emergency as quickly as possible and prevent a huge loss. A good hotel maintenance crew needs to be able to repair all of the major systems in the building without external help.
Maintaining curb appeal
Even though, today, a huge number of hotel bookings are made online, with users browsing only through the beautiful photos provided by the hotel PR department, a hotel was and will continue to be a walk-in business. In this sense, the first thing a potential guest notices about a hotel is the exterior of the facility. This is the reason why the maintenance staff needs to pay close attention to the building, the parking lot and especially the landscaping.
Signs of neglect such as chipped paint, litter and fallen leaves and other debris can diminish a hotel’s reputation. In order to perform these tasks, a hotel’s staff relies on a range of supplies and equipment like power washers and leaf blowers while a multi-purpose telehandler is indispensable in lifting heavy equipment to high places. Their interchangeable attachments make them suitable for a wide range of tasks.
Beauty is in the eye of guest
Big hotels usually hire subcontractors for periodic overhauls that involve painting, wallpapering and relaying carpets. However, it’s on the hotel’s maintenance department to carry out minor aesthetic touch-ups. When a luggage cart scrapes against the corner or rips the wallpaper, maintenance is there to make it right. Hotel maintenance teams need professionals experienced in various trades and beautification skills such as painters, glaziers, carpenters, etc.
Murphy never sleeps in the hotel business. A television remote may not work in room 305, the hot tub may not make enough bubbles in room 103. When a sofa bed mechanism jams, or the water shower goes cold at 3 a.m. guests will call maintenance to solve their problems. Unless you want to deal with an angry guest in the morning desk shift, make sure the crew is on a 24h standby for maintenance calls.
While hotel reviews focus on great food and Egyptian cotton sheets, most guests are unaware that their comfort hugely depends on an invisible workforce of hotel maintenance staff whose job is to make every faucet (pardon the pun) run properly. If these people remain unseen, it means they are doing a good job.