In the past, I have written a great deal about hotel maintenance and the importance of using a CMMS to organize schedule and track work management. There is no doubt that the use of technology such as a CMMS system benefits major hotel organizations.
In-House Hotel Maintenance and Outsourced Hotel Maintenance
In contrast, smaller and medium sized hotels may not be able to afford the luxury of performing all maintenance in-house and have a need to outsource some tasks and functions. Some examples include but are not limited to:
- Hotel carpets/mats – Deep cleaning of carpets and mats is necessary to avoid oil and dirt buildup which accelerates the degradation of carpets. Outsourcing this function may be necessary if the hotel does not have the proper equipment to service.
- Kitchen equipment – Fuel lines, freezer units, broilers, grills and even morning continental breakfast assets need to be inspected and maintained. Outsourcing hotel kitchen maintenance is normal because of the lack of kitchen equipment expertise.
- Elevators – Elevator service companies are common because it is not normally feasible to keep an elevator technician on payroll.
- Inspections of specialized equipment – Boilers, chillers and HVAC units require trained maintenance staff to properly maintain. Care of these assets with in-house staff depends on the skill level of maintenance teams.
- Roofing – An example of maintenance that is normally outsourced to a vendor because of liability, insurance and expertise concerns.
Guidelines for Making In-house or Outsourced Hotel Maintenance Decisions
The smaller the hotel, the less likely it is to have the expertise or resources necessary to maintain every asset with in-house maintenance staff. This makes vendor management a crucial part of maintenance operations and hotel maintenance management.
Some maintenance outsourcing decisions are easier than others such as the need to outsource roof maintenance. On the other hand, some situations call for the maintenance manager to take a closer look at the cost versus benefits of outsourcing maintenance. The following can be used as rough guidelines for making a decision to outsource hotel maintenance.
In-House Hotel Maintenance Considerations
For the most part, hotels should try to keep maintenance in-house on critical assets whenever possible. Critical assets are assets that have the potential to drastically alter guest happiness such as having hot water, clean sheets, working HVAC, plumbing, etc.
Keeping critical assets in optimal working order is accomplished using a hotel CMMS system. This is because CMMS programs give the hotel the ability to perform proactive maintenance such as preventive maintenance or inspections.
Other considerations when making a decision to perform maintenance with in-house staff or outsource should include:
- Core business: Knowing if the asset is critical to your core hotel operations. If it is, then maintenance should be kept in-house.
- Control Issues: Hotel maintenance management will have greater control over in-house maintenance and is not subject to vendor availability or reliability problems.
- Response time concerns: Does the asset require a faster response time? Using a CMMS to schedule work requests and work orders is going to be faster than waiting for a call back from a vendor. All in-house work (including unplanned work) is scheduled with a CMMS.
- A need for standard operating procedures (SOP): Even smaller hotel chains should have effective standard operating procedures for similar assets at multiple hotels. A CMMS system enables maintenance management to establish SOP for work management.
- The ability to plan maintenance: Assets maintained in-house can be set up for regular scheduled preventive maintenance, inspections and repairs based upon the historical data collected using a CMMS solution. Better maintenance planning results in lower capital budget requirements, lower labor costs and lower energy bills.
If you are not sure what skill levels you have available in your hotel, we have put together an assortment of hotel checklists that can be used for inspections and maintenance planning. If your staff can perform these functions you may not need to outsource maintenance. Click the button at the bottom of this post to obtain the checklists.
Hotel Outsourced Maintenance Considerations
Outsourcing hotel maintenance does not mean a total loss of control but can actually be a good thing to do. The tools available in a quality CMMS can be used to schedule vendors as well as manage contracts and documents. Some examples of when outsourcing maintenance tasks or services should be considered include:
- Non-core business: If asset uptime is non-essential to your hotel’s core business functions outsourcing may be a maintenance option.
- Cleaning: Many hotel assets just need to be cleaned on a periodic basis, specialty cleaners exist for carpets, mats, floors, upholstered furniture etc.
- Specialized assets: This would include assets that require maintenance expertise beyond current staff abilities. Some examples might be elevator maintenance or a new chiller.
- Predictive technology: Infrared thermography, ultrasound analysis, vibration analysis which can either be performed in-house or with the use of specialized vendors.
- Ancillary services: This would include, landscaping, payroll, general contractors, resurfacing, security services, software vendors, cleaning services etc.
Hotel Vendor, Contract and Document Management
As previously mentioned, managing vendors, contracts and documents can all be done with a CMMS system. The key to good hotel maintenance management is knowing who your vendors are, their terms of engagement and what services they offer.
To help you obtain all of your hotel maintenance needs we have put together a PowerPoint presentation of frequently used vendor services, things to consider when hiring them and links to associations that can provide you additional information.