According to a recent article published by Lodging Magazine, “over two-thirds of U.S. travelers (67%) are planning to travel this summer (June 1 through August 31), which is a 17% increase from those who traveled this spring (March 1 through May 31)”. This is exciting news for hotels, especially those that have been most affected by this pandemic. To help you plan, we have mapped out six key steps we believe hotels should take to ensure a successful rebound post COVID.
Plan Out Capital Improvements to Stay Relevant
The pandemic pushed the pause button on most hotel property capital improvement plans. In fact, hotels in the U.S. saw 75% less expenditures for improvements. While hotel budgets are tight, it is still very important to invest in improvements to your hotel to ensure a safe and positive experience for guests as they begin to return from the low occupancy season. Many hotels are even utilizing new technology and shifting their standards due to the pandemic. A hotel lobby, for example, might get refreshed using furniture with nonporous surfaces because it’s more sanitary.
Complete a Full Property Inspection
One of the most important steps in getting back to full guest capacity is to perform an interior and exterior inspection. By checking all hotel equipment, scheduling regular cleanings, and changing air filters, you will extend the life of your hotel assets and also prevent costly breakdowns, unnecessary repairs, and poor or unsafe guest experiences. While inspecting, be on the lookout for wet spots that could lead to mold damage and thoroughly clean and sanitize all equipment. Additionally, test fire alarms, water supply lines, and fire pumps to make sure they are working properly. Check the exterior areas such as the walls as well to ensure that there is no evidence of pests. Finally, make sure all roof drains are clear and there are no roof leaks, and perform necessary landscaping for overgrown trees, shrubs and plants.
Make Adjustments and Repairs
Making small adjustments can lead to big savings over time. For instance, unrepaired toilets that are running and leaking pipes can cause water damage to floors and ceilings, and repairs can add up quickly. Replacing damaged bulbs or broken circuits – especially for emergency signage and exits – will help ensure a safe and positive experience for all hotel guests and staff at your hotel. Regularly check hand sanitizer dispensers to ensure hotel guests and staff have access to alcohol-based hand sanitizer to minimize the spread of surface germs.
Perform an Energy Audit
We all know rising energy costs cut into a hotel’s profitability. Using a trusted third-party energy consultant to assess guest rooms, laundry equipment, kitchens, meeting rooms, and other areas of your property for potential energy savings can save your hotel big money. The average utility cost savings identified by an energy audit is 26% of the hotel’s utility spend!
Set Up a Preventative Maintenance Program
Hotel maintenance is costly, especially when it’s unplanned. The most frustrating thing about unplanned maintenance is that it often could have been avoided had a preventative maintenance (PM) program been in place. Heating and cooling systems, plumbing, guestrooms, the water supply, electrical systems, lighting fixtures, fire & life safety equipment, exterior building components, major mechanical equipment, and meeting spaces all demand regular preventive maintenance to operate efficiently and reliably. Properly maintaining these main areas and setting up a PM program will save your hotel big money in the long run.
Implement a CMMS
Choosing the right Computer Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) will prove to be one of the best operational decisions you make to improve your hotel’s bottom line. A CMMS helps managers schedule and manage preventative maintenance activities for all the major equipment and building components and enables owners and managers to track the expected useful life and replacement cycles of building equipment and see important asset and maintenance data. Some CMMS systems can track everything about your hotel’s assets, including initial cost, installation date, warranty, maintenance activity, condition, scheduled replacement, and replacement cost. The best CMMS systems, in addition to helping your hotel track building components and equipment, also help you manage your repair and maintenance budgets, labor cost, work requests, and capital expenditure plans. Truly world-class CMMS systems ensure compliance with company standards as well as state, local, and national code requirements and allow for quick and easy access to key data like contracts, warranties, and vendors’ certificates of insurance. The best CMMS systems are highly customizable, flexible, and scalable to meet the changing needs of hotel owners, managers, and their customers. A great CMMS is an investment which will pay for itself quickly and provide ongoing savings year after year.
While we can’t be the eyes and ears at your hotel property to help you identify areas of the hotel that need repair or operational improvements that can be made, we do believe that if you take these steps, you will set your hotel or hotel portfolio up for successful rebound post COVID. Should your hotel or hotel portfolio be interested in revamping its maintenance and/or capital planning program, we would also be glad to show you how Transcendent’s total asset lifecycle management software can help your hotels streamline their facility management and capital planning operations, efficiently manage their day-to-day operations, and derive powerful management insights that improve bottom-line performance.