Hotel Impossible Highlights Forgotten Maintenance

May 21, 2012

Stuart Smith

Stuart Smith

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Hotels compete for guests in a variety of ways including marketing online websites, hotels reviews, image branding and word of mouth. Unfortunately, years of hard work can be destroyed quickly when hotel maintenance is neglected. This article helps shows the reality of neglected maintenance and lost customers with the help of a new TV show.

Hotel Impossible

The new show called Hotel Impossible takes a look at one troubled hotel each week and with host Anthony Melchiorri tries to turn around troubled operations. On the show which airs on Monday nights at 10 E.S.T. on the Travel Channel, Melchiorri, uses a no hold barred approach to help hotel owners and managers understand why their hotel is failing and implements the necessary changes to turn them around.

The show which has had 6 episodes so far is great from a management turnaround perspective because it emphasizes that the first step to change is recognition of a problem by hotel owners and managers. Once problems are recognized, change can be implemented by a commitment to excellence, training, common sense and in all their shows so far, a greater attention to maintenance.

Hotel Impossible Common Threads

After viewing each episode there are several problems that have been common to each hotel. When you read the list below you will see that these should be obvious to every hotel owner or managers. You will also notice that several of these problems are why hotel maintenance is noticed first.

  • Lobby areas look like dumps. Episodes have found ash cans not emptied for weeks, dirty furniture, stained carpets, extreme dust buildup, stains on walls, broken chairs, leaks and nasty odors.
  • Rooms have been found to be bacteria breeding grounds, dirty, insect infested, stained carpets, cracks in walls, disgusting grout, smelly and have excessive mold buildup.
  • Common areas have been found that are falling apart, present potential health hazards and also have wall cracks, leaks and so on.

What is more difficult to understand is why hotel management has not addressed these problems before. Why did hotel management wait until guests stopped coming before they took action? As stated in this blog on more than one occasion neglecting
hotel maintenance in order to save a operating dollars is ALWAYS more expensive in the end.

How Hotel Impossible Helped Maintenance

Granted the show highlights some extreme cases, but on the other hand, the issues these hotels were facing are the same in hotels of all sizes and ratings from budget hotels to luxury hotels. As I mentioned, getting hotel management to understand the problem is the first major step to recovery.

The second step that the hotel impossible crew did was to start making the changes needed. Some changes were changing website design, new minor construction signs, lobby redesign etc.) but for the most part they focused on making sure the hotel was clean, smelled fresh and looked like a place where people wanted to go and stay awhile.

Solutions ranged from color coded cleaning cloths for housekeeping crews to new and better outfitted cleaning carts as well as making sure hotel management and maintenance staff were proactively looking for guest problems. More importantly, everyone in the hotels were now aware that small maintenance issues need to be found and addressed quickly.

Hotel Maintenance Software Solutions

Hotel Impossible is very much about Hotels that have failed to manage their maintenance correctly. However one aspect not mentioned in the show was the type of tools available to hotel management and maintenance staff to stay on top of proactive maintenance problems. One excellent tool for the volumes of hotel assets to be inspected, maintained and repaired is computerized maintenance management software (CMMS).

The advantage of a hotel CMMS system is that it enables management to identify, organize, schedule work and track results far more efficiently and effectively than any paper-based system could ever be. When implemented properly CMMS will:

  • Make sure hotel owners and management always know the location and condition of assets ranging from expensive items such as a boiler to the condition of room fixtures.
  • Provide a regular schedule for inspections and rounds to make sure new problems are identified early before they become major expenses.
  • Automate and schedule work requests and work orders so that maintenance staff has more time and greater flexibility in handing problems.
  • Track results so hotel management knows which assets will need replacement, when and why.

Whether the maintenance and repair is performed in-house or outsourced to a vendor, a CMMS system helps manage the entire process.

Hotel Impossible is very much about Hotels that have failed to manage their maintenance correctly.

Come back soon as we will summarize the next few episodes and demonstrate how a CMMS could have positively impacted the situation. In the meantime, tell us your worst hotel experiences.

We hope that you enjoyed this article and will take the time to read a few related articles that can help your hotel improve maintenance operations.

Stuart Smith

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