Every year, around April 1, hotels and schools around the world must deal with pranks that can not only be a true nuisance but also cost them tens of thousands of dollars. The best defense for this type of activity is to be prepared by making sure selected assets are in good working order and checking them regularly.

The first step of preparation is to make certain selected assets have an inspection. Following an inspection, assets can then be fixed if necessary and maintenance teams can be alerted to keep an eye on them.

Hotel and School Pranks

Although most pranks are generated by either hotel guests or students, staff are rarely innocent. The most common pranks include telephone calls reporting non-existent problems or simple mischievous behavior such as:

Ten Common April Fools Pranks

  • Super glueing assets together or making them in-operable.
  • Using coins to pressure lock doors from the outside (commonly called pennying doors).
  • Pulling fire alarms.
  • Redecorating vehicles with everything from ketchup to Saran Wrap/paint.
  • Stuff that smells.
  • Cutting off nail heads on pictures.
  • Loosening condiment tops.
  • Hiding equipment (and then forgetting where they were put).
  • Placing out-of-order signs on bathrooms and elevators.
  • Adding food coloring to a pool.

Asset Damage and Liability

Even though many pranks are harmless (except to their intended victim), the fact of matter is simple mischievous pranks costs hotels and school systems real resources to handle. Every door jam, fire alarm reset and odor removal means someone has to complete a work request, issue a work order and schedule the maintenance.

Some pranks can lead to substantial physical assert damage. For example, Hotel Online recently ran an article on a prank that resulted in the sprinkler system going off causing thousands of dollars in water damage.

Hotel and school liability can also increase should a prank result in an accident. For example, a pulled fire alarm may have students or guests exiting through the nearest door. If the door is locked or non-functional, panic could set it.

It doesn’t take long before the time and repair costs starts to add up. More importantly if assets sustain more than just cosmetic damage, their useful life may be shortened thereby speeding up their capital replacement.

In addition to the in-house costs of repairs, some pranks will incur outside fees such as emergency vehicle dispatch fees or outsourcing the repair/cleanup work to outside contractors.

Minimizing Damage/Liability with a CMMS Solution for Hotels and Schools

In a large hotel or school system, it does not take many successful prank to overwhelm a maintenance department that does not make use of a CMMS system. Without a CMMS solution, maintenance staff is essentially fire-fighting each prank. CMMSsoftware allows maintenance teams to record, and schedule work in an efficient and effective manner.

However, the most important parts of a CMMS solution for preparing for April Fools is its ability to schedule inspections and rounds. Inspections make use of customized inspection checklists viewable on mobile handheld devices. Hotel and school maintenance staff are then able to schedule inspections for predetermined assets/areas to identify potential problems.

Rounds are also scheduled using the CMMS to enable maintenance staff to check on the predetermined assets. Using these two tools as part of a greater work management system enables hotel management and school administrators to keep tabs on critical parts of their facilities.

A few common items for hotels and schools that should be inspected and placed on a rounds list include:

  • Fire extinguishers
  • Emergency exits
  • Surveillance cameras
  • Parking areas/garages
  • Locks to high dollar assets such as boilers rooms, water towers, roofs
  • HVAC ventilation and access

Maintenance professionals take their work seriously. It makes sense to give them the CMMS tools they need to perform their jobs properly. The greatest benefit of all is that once a hotel or school CMMS system is implemented the rewards can be reaped in on a year round basis.

Isn’t it time you allow your maintenance teams to be proactive?