Category Archives: Maintenance

Cart Prepping for Efficiency

A well-organized and well-stocked housekeeping cart is the key to efficiency. It enables room attendants to avoid wasting time looking for a cleaning item or making trips back to the linen room for more supplies. The specific amounts of items loaded onto a cart will vary according to the types of rooms being cleaned, the amenities offered by the property, and, of course, the size of the cart itself. A room attendant’s cart is generally spacious enough to carry all the supplies needed for a half-day’s room assignments.

housekeeping cart

Stocking the Cart
Most carts have three shelves—the lower two for linen and the top for cleaning supplies and amenity items. It is just as important not to overstock a cart as it is not to understock. Overstocking increases the risk that some items will be damaged, soiled, or stolen in the course of cleaning.
In most cases, all the cleaning supplies for the guestroom and bathroom are positioned in a hand caddy on top of the cart so that the room attendant does not have to bring the entire cart into the room.
A laundry bag is usually found at one end of the cart and a trash bag is at the other. A broom and vacuum are also positioned on either end of the cart for easy access. For safety and security reasons, personal items and room keys should not be stored on the cart.

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Filed under Hotel Employees, Hotel Industry, Housekeeping, Maintenance

Managing the Storeroom Right

When hotels talk about inventory management, it is usually in terms of rooms—you can’t make money without guests in rooms, whether it is a guestroom, meeting room, or ballroom. But let’s step back and think about what it takes to ensure you have those rooms ready for weddings, groups, family reunions, conferences, and individual travelers.

Have you ever had to scramble to a Plan B solution because you were out of stock on a repair item, such as a joint for the bathroom sink or paint to touch up the trim, or inexplicably ran out of light bulbs? What did it cost you to send someone out on a special run to pick up that item or move a guest to another room while you waited for the part to fix that sink? Even without a maintenance problem, turning rooms can be delayed if your staff does not have the cleaning items needed to do their jobs, despite the significant amount of money you budget for those supplies.

managing housekeeping cart

As you can imagine, the concept of inventory management is one that can apply to the products used to maintain and repair your hotel to keep it running at optimum levels as well.

Through research, Grainger discovered that among organizations surveyed, employees leave the supply closet empty-handed 22 percent of the time because they cannot find what they’re looking for. It could be because that item is misplaced, out of stock, or being used by someone else in the hotel. Whatever the cause, the item isn’t there when needed, despite the investment you made to purchase and stock that item. The chances are extra products will be purchased to fix that specific issue, and the worker will either hold on to that extra for fear of needing it again and not being able to find it, put it where he or she believes it goes (which may not be the same place other workers look for it), or place it where it goes and in doing so, find the missing product (because he or she did not see it the first time or it was returned to its proper location after being used). That translates into wasted time and money, and if it happens enough, a world of frustration.

But how can that happen when it seems like your supply rooms are exploding with products, and some of them seem like they have been there for ages? Interestingly, the same research mentioned above also revealed that only 5 percent to 15 percent of maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) inventories are frequently used, and an equal percentage of the items are duplicated—because you cannot afford to not have a backup supply. You want to avoid having too much of an item, yet do not want to be caught without enough to meet immediate needs. You want to ensure the right products are in the right place at the right time with minimal expense and effort.

Inventory management programs can help. Whether you choose to manage your MRO inventory yourself or have the supplier manage it for you, there are benefits to be gained. A systematic approach based on real usage data can help you make sure you have the right products on hand to maintain your facility, without over investing in items that you don’t need.

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Filed under Maintenance, Management And Ownership

Next-Gen Leaders Must Be Open to Change

This year’s Asian American Hotel Owners Association convention was all about success and how to achieve positive performance in an era of new brand launches, generational leadership change, and external disruptors.

Mike Leven, president and COO of Las Vegas Sands Corporation and an original organizer of what would become AAHOA, kicked off Thursday’s general session with a call to action for the rising tide of second-generation Asian-American hoteliers who are growing their own footprints in the business.


“What happens when you are successful?” he asked. “You stop doing what made you get there in the first place, and that’s where the danger comes in.”

Leven said that as the industry faces change, the next generation of leaders must change with it, especially if they hope to be successful during downturns.

“The status quo is a prescription for failure,” he said. “You have a responsibility to continue to be dynamic in the search for change, for doing things different, for not being satisfied.”

Hotel franchise company executives echoed those statements on Thursday’s “Industry CEOs” panel and encouraged members to continue to be involved in their franchise organizations and the larger industry.

The CEOs shared insight into consumer trends, highlighting why creating excellent guest experiences will translate into strong bottom-line performance.

“We see people choosing experience over product—we see this in retail, in consumer products and certainly in travel,” said Mark Hoplamazian, president and CEO of Hyatt Hotels Corporation. “The idea that the product has to be perfect is weakening. Instead, people are looking for a holistic, experiential time.”

He advised attendees to make sure they’re creating those shareable experiences for guests.

Hilton Worldwide Holdings President and CEO Chris Nassetta echoed that sentiment that guests are all about experience these days. He told attendees that creating positive cultures at the hotel level are what will make those experiences great.

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Filed under Guest Issues, Hotel Industry, Maintenance, Management And Ownership, Social Media, Technology, Training

Infographic: How to Detect Bed Bugs


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Filed under Bed Bugs, Guest Issues, Hotel Employees, Hotel Industry, Maintenance, Management And Ownership, Risk Management, Technology, Training

Couple From CA Describes Bedbugs ‘Nightmare’ at NYC Hotel


A couple from California thought they were on a dream vacation to New York City, but they found a massive bedbug infestation under the mattress at the Astor on the Park Hotel on the Upper West Side.

Now, they’re speaking out only to Eyewitness News.

The trip was a gift from Elgin Ozlen’s mother, and the couple was supposed to take in the sights and sounds of the city, and see the ball drop on New Year’s Eve in Times Square. However, because of the bedbugs, Ozlen says it will be a trip that he and his girlfriend will remember for all the wrong reasons.

“We were expecting a vacation to remember the rest of our lives, and we will definitely remember it for the rest of our lives, but it won’t be a pleasant memory,” says Ozlen.

After staying in a hotel room infested with bedbugs, the dream vacation immediately turned into a nightmare.

Ozlen says he shot video of the infestation, while staying at Astor on the Park on Central Park West. The couple arrived on Wednesday, and by Thursday, there was an infestation of bedbugs where Ozlen’s girlfriend slept. Ozlen then goes on to say that the room was the third room the couple had been in, after the first two did not have heaters.

The California man says they had planned to be in Times Square to see the ball drop, but that never happened. Also, on New Year’s Day, his birthday, they had tickets to see the Rockettes, but instead there was a change of plans.

“On my birthday, I’m in the hospital, and I’m washing the best clothes that I brought that I own for this vacation, and during that process many of the clothes became damaged, because they’re not meant to be dried,” Ozlen says.

It cost hundreds of dollars to have the couple’s belongings cleaned. Meanwhile Ozlen says his girlfriend’s body is still inflamed, saying she is furious that the bites and scratches may lead to permanent scarring.

He also says she can’t eat because she is nauseous, but she is not the only one.

“It’s disgusting. I don’t really feel like sleeping here,” said one hotel guest.

Katie Phillips, a tourist from Australia has been staying at Astor on the Park for a week, and says her stay has been ‘near perfect’ – a clean room with no complaints. After seeing the bedbugs video, she says it was ‘pretty disturbing’.

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Filed under Bed Bugs, Guest Issues, Health, Hotel Industry, Maintenance, Management And Ownership, Risk Management

Spending Money Where the Guest Perceives It


When it comes to renovations, savvy owners are investing their money in design aspects that matter most to the guest. Nunzio DeSantis, executive vice president and director of HKS Hospitality Group, shares his perspective on where hotels can get the biggest bang for their buck.

Emphasize guest public spaces.

“The lobby has the opportunity to create an interesting and engaging space. We see every type of guest—business, leisure, group—enjoying and entering this space. Everyone must enter and check-in and everyone must exit and check out through this space. If you take a look at the lobby, it can also be an extension of the bar, coffee shop, or restaurant. The quality of seats and materials will bring business travelers down to conduct work and entice group visitors to congregate in this space.”

Lighting is key.

“Look at how each room plays off of the other. How are the indoors and outdoors connected? What is the lighting like? Is it natural or synthetic lighting? The best way to make your guests happy they have chosen your hotel as their home away from home is a great view. Location and views change the entire experience.”

Design a navigable guestroom.

“There are two functionalities we are finding more and more hotels could be benefiting from: Mobility within the room and creating a square room. Most rooms are entered from a corridor. The guest then enters their room by walking into yet another corridor, thus elongating the anticipation of the satisfaction of their room. What I suggest is to create a 22-by-22-square-foot room instead of the typical 15-by-32-square-foot room. You do this by pushing the closet, typically to your right, and the wet room, typically to your left, to the back of the room. You not only create more space within the room, you also have now made the wet room less or a confined closet and more of an enhanced experience with a window. You have also created space for mobility.”

Create a clean bathroom space.

“The lavatory is what is going to set one brand apart from the rest. Customer service is always going to vary from brand to brand and is part of the interaction aspect of hotels, but everyone utilizes the lavatory, and everyone prefers it clean and functional. My suggestion is to get rid of the bathtub altogether and have a shower with a ledge. Really think about the guest—not everyone is the same height, so adjustability of the shower head is very important. Think about the firmness of the water, how it hits you, the temperature controls and what really should be the universal way to turn the shower on and off. And lastly, the drain should be slanted—this way everyone’s filth isn’t circling—and the doors should be an opaque glass. It’s clean, elegant, and private.”

Craft an all-encompassing fitness experience.

“Fifteen to 20 years ago, fitness rooms had no windows and were a small room with a few pieces of equipment. Today, people want fitness with a view, great outdoor patios for a cool down, innovative lighting, larger open spaces to move around, and equipment that is functional.”

Whenever DeSantis travels and stays in a new hotel, his architect side always emerges. As a guest, he constantly looks at what the properties are doing right or wrong, and whether things are working as intended. DeSantis says hotel design is all about making the right mistakes. “You try until it works, and when it does, you watch your guests’ experiences come to life.”

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Hospitality Industry Risk Update: “5 Ways to Pummel Pests at Your Hotel”

“(Hoteliers) really should have an independent inspection of their vendors,” Rivard said. “The prime food producers throughout the country already do that. They’re checking them out,20150911_pest control whether they’re buying some ingredient or working with a pallet manufacturer.”

A hidden danger of record high demand is more guests walking through the door means a higher chance anything from bed bugs to cockroaches to rats and ants are following right behind.

One of the few things more disconcerting than the pests themselves is the effect they can have on your bottom line.

A recent survey conducted by researchers at the University of Kentucky showed a single online review mentioning a bed bug sighting caused many to immediately write off a hotel. The first reaction of 56% of potential guests will be to no longer consider staying at that property, 7% will shorten their stay and 12% will seek to avoid that hotel’s brand in the future.

The same survey, results of which have not yet been published, showed 60% of guests who spot a bed bug would immediately leave the hotel, which is almost three times as many as those who would leave after finding someone else’s blood somewhere in a guest room.

“It’s a maddeningly difficult problem to deal with,” said Michael Potter, an entomologist at the University of Kentucky and one of the authors of the study. “Everybody is dealing with bed bugs … but hospitality is especially vulnerable because people rely so much on social media when making decisions.”

The potential damage to your hotel’s reputation is only worsened when considering the fact that less than a third of those surveyed could identify successfully a bed bug, with many confusing other pests like lice, ants, termites and ticks for bed bugs.

The harsh reality is there are no 100% infallible methods to keep pests from darkening your doorways, but there are some things to make sure they’re less welcome after arrival.

Here are five ways experts seek to prevent pests.

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Filed under Bed Bugs, Claims, Guest Issues, Health, Hotel Employees, Hotel Industry, Insurance, Maintenance, Management And Ownership, Risk Management, Training

Hospitality Industry Legal Update: “Northwest Dallas Hotel is ‘hub for drug use, prostitution and violent crime,’ Says City Hall”

The city of Dallas has had enough, and late Thursday filed suit against the owners of the motel that looks decent enough on the outside but is anything but on the inside, according to the City Attorney’s Office. The city wants the court to order the owners to clean it up immediately or face thousand-dollar-a-day penalties until the laundry list of problems are remedied.

In early December, two men were shot and another man was injured (after he jumped out a window to escape being shot) at the Orange Extended Stay Motel on Finnell Street in Northwest Dallas, near Northwest Highway and N. Stemmons Freeway. Several residents told our Naheed Rajwani at the time they feel unsafe at the Orange and that, perhaps, it was time to move away from the crime-ridden (and poorly reviewed) hotel. Said one woman, “I’m scared, and I don’t want to end up losing my life being in this area.”

She had good reason to be concerned: On May 30, someone was shot to death at the hotel.

The city of Dallas has had enough, and late Thursday filed suit against the owners of the motel that looks decent enough on the outside but is anything but on the inside, according to the City Attorney’s Office. The city wants the court to order the owners — Carrollton-based Dynasty Hotel Group — to clean it up immediately or face thousand-dollar-a-day penalties until the laundry list of problems are remedied.

“The relatively well kept facade of this business belies the abhorrent physical conditions, habitual drug offenses, and violent crime that have pervaded its interior and for which the property has become known,” says the suit, signed by Assistant City Attorney Melissa Miles.

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Filed under Crime, Hotel Industry, Maintenance, Management And Ownership

Hospitality Industry Management Update: “6 Ways to Prepare For the Next Downturn”

“Providing an exceptional guest experience is the best investment any hotelier can make.20150714_downturn_feature This is why we as a brand have rolled out a membership-wide training program all about the importance of unlocking the personalities of the staff and the story of the hotel when guests stay,” she said.

Good times continue to roll for the global hospitality sector with growth in the travel and tourism industry expected to increase by 3.9% this year, according to Ernst & Young’s “Global hospitality insights” report for 2015.

But in the cyclical fashion of the industry, the upswing can’t last forever.

So what should hoteliers be doing now to prepare for the inevitable down cycle, and how much can investing in their products and services now set them up for not so good times in the future?

For Eric Danziger, president and CEO of Debut Hotel Group and Hampshire Hotels Management, preparation now is absolutely key to success in a future downturn.

“Hoteliers should be pragmatic, preparing for when it is a bit more difficult to get those much-needed guests through a property’s doors,” he said. “Hoteliers that are prepared with a product and with services that guests value, appreciate and are willing to pay for will be ahead of the game.”

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Filed under Employee Practices, Finances, Guest Issues, Hotel Employees, Hotel Industry, Maintenance, Management And Ownership, Risk Management, Social Media, Technology, Training

Hospitality Industry Management Update: “Three Rules of Renovation”

“In an era when the next big tech invention seems to arrive every week, we recognize that our guests require us to stay on trend,” Spillett says.Renovation “We know that traveling can take its toll and sometimes leaves us vulnerable, without the comforts of home. These comforts increasingly fall in the technology category, so we make every effort to ensure that our guests have convenient access to the latest tech amenities and services.”

Lodging’s current robust performance is creating a competitive environment when it comes to product freshness. The industry fundamentals have never been better, and these conditions are driving a flurry of construction projects, rebranding and conversion activity, and renovations of every scope throughout the United States.

In the last three years, an estimated 1.2 million hotel rooms have been renovated, representing more than 20 percent of the existing supply, Lodging Econometrics (LE) data reveals. According to Bruce Ford, LE’s senior vice president and director of global business development, the number of renovations will likely trend downward as strong hotel operating profitability discourages owners from making rooms unavailable while being renovated. However, for those hoteliers willing to take the plunge and make some upgrades, here are some key takeaways for making the best renovation decisions for your bottom line.

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Filed under Hotel Industry, Maintenance, Management And Ownership, Technology