While most essential management procedures that keep a hotel running smoothly are hidden far away from the eyes of your guests, not many of them are as important as preventive maintenance.
Whenever guests leave happy and note that “nothing went wrong” during their stay, a majority of the time, it’s effective preventive maintenance management that’s responsible for this impression.
The concept of preventive management (PM) is very simple. It entails the routine and regular management of maintenance in your hotel. This means that your maintenance staff is effectively keeping track of all of your hotel’s most important equipment and assets in order to make sure that everything is working the way it should.
The purpose of preventive maintenance management is to avoid unplanned and unexpected equipment and asset failures that can be both costly and, most importantly, result in a tainted and unsatisfactory experience for your guests.
The opposite of preventive maintenance is corrective or reactive maintenance. This means that you are fixing problems as they occur instead of taking steps to prevent the failure and malfunction of your most important hotel equipment.
This approach is undeniably more expensive and harder to implement, often leading to chaotic maintenance processes that can both stress your maintenance crew out and leave guests disappointed and even angry.
Thankfully, there are plenty of tools available to property managers today that make putting together and implementing a proper preventive maintenance management process easy and affordable.
Let’s take a look at some of the major benefits your property can enjoy when you have a stellar preventive maintenance system in place.
1. Better Budgeting and Significant Cost-Cutting with Hotel Preventive Maintenance Software
When your team has installed and is using some type of hotel maintenance software or platform, hotel management and authorized maintenance personnel are able to maintain much-needed visibility into the status of all maintenance programs and procedures. This includes the status of your equipment and how it’s functioning, relevant work orders, and vital notes and data left by maintenance staff related to all of your hotel’s most important assets that require regular maintenance.
This allows your hotel to maximize its budgeting and decrease unexpected and often incredibly cost expenditures. When regular maintenance is being performed on schedule, your engineers and other maintenance staff will have a much better overview of how your equipment is functioning. This gives them more accurate estimates regarding every piece of equipment and when they can expect to have to fix it or, eventually, replace it.
This foresight allows hoteliers to plan their future expenses appropriately and accurately. The better your budgeting is during the course of the year, the easier it will be to cope with the inevitable event of a surprise malfunction that will need to be repaired on the fly.
Proper preventative maintenance helps you to reduce the chances of these types of malfunctions occurring and also makes them much easier to deal with when they do occur.
Preventive maintenance management doesn’t have to only deal with your equipment, it can also extend to keeping track of inventory. It allows you to note what you’re running low on and replace anything that’s missing on time before an inventory shortage can affect your guests’ experience.
This type of inventory management can also positively affect your budgeting by allowing you to purchase what you need on time, in bulk, and at better prices.
2. Elimination of Maintenance Staff Idle Time
What does “idle time” mean when we’re talking about running a hotel? Idle time is a period of time during which an employee (or a machine) is either not available to perform tasks that need to be performed or is simply not doing anything productive.
Idle time for your maintenance staff can entail waiting for a part to be delivered or waiting for a tool to become available before they can use it to perform a task, for example.
Every minute of idle time costs your hotel money. And while small periods of idle time are inevitable in any line of work, the goal is always to minimize idle time and increase the efficiency of both your employees and your equipment.
Preventive maintenance does just that. Preventive maintenance is all about optimizing your staff’s workflow, enabling instant staff communication, creating more balanced workloads and schedules, installing clear operating procedures, delegating routine tasks, and providing checklists and auditing tools.
Preventive maintenance management helps you make sure that your maintenance employees always know what they need to be doing and, most importantly, that they always have something to do.
Of course, this is not about providing them with busy work just for the sake of it. It’s about having a plan installed that’s going to allow them to perform all necessary checks and maintenance tasks routinely and systematically in order to keep your hotel running like clockwork.
3. Increases Maintenance Staff Efficiency and Productivity
One of the many unfortunate circumstances of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is the fact that many hotels are currently operating with a decreased staff count. One of the best ways to combat this shortage of personnel is by installing preventive maintenance management procedures. This can automate many of your maintenance processes and help you to get more work done with fewer people.
Today’s modern hotel management solutions enable maintenance staff to receive their tasks via their mobile phones and always have preventive maintenance checklists and procedures available to them. This enables them to work on the go, check off the tasks they’ve performed, and even record notes and equipment measurements and analysis on their phones, increasing both efficiency and team-wide transparency.
Employers often fear introducing new technology and automation to their workforce, believing that it might confuse their staff. But the reality of the situation is that most workers prefer automation and software as work aids. According to a recent survey performed by Zapier, close to 40% of the workers they surveyed say that automation software helps them complete their tasks faster. They also claimed that automation helps them be more organized, improves their overall work, and helps them focus on their most important tasks.
Preventive maintenance is about working smarter, not harder. Having a system in place that provides your maintenance team with checklists and reporting abilities helps them organize themselves better. This enables them to not only tackle their scheduled tasks more easily and efficiently but also be better equipped to handle urgent issues when necessary.
There can be dozens of things that your PM staff will need to check on over the course of the day. No matter how long they have been on the job, it’s easy to forget or accidentally skip a few.
With preventive maintenance checklists that ask your staff to sign off on each completed task, hotel management can be certain that all routine tasks have been completed. They can even check to see when they were completed and whether staff left any notes regarding the status of your hotel’s equipment and assets.
4. Increased Guest Satisfaction Levels
When all is said and done, there really is nothing more important to property owners and managers than happy guests. By gaining greater visibility and securing greater staff productivity and efficiency, your preventive maintenance system can lead to a significant decrease in guest complaints.
Automated PM schedules help your staff catch small issues before they become big ones and localize problems before they become widespread. Just as preventive maintenance decreases the chances of surprises affecting your staff, it can do the same for guests. This can lead to restful and pleasant experiences that increase customer satisfaction, positive reviews, and the possibility of future bookings.
Routine maintenance of your hotel’s air-conditioning, plumbing, ventilation, electrical, and all other customer-facing systems significantly decreases the chances of problems that require expensive and immediate fixes occurring.
We’ve discussed how having a regular preventive maintenance plan can keep your property running smoothly, cut down costs, save your staff time, and ultimately increase guest satisfaction levels.
But it’s also important to remember that PM plans are also essential to maintaining general safety and cleanliness standards. This helps your hotel achieve compliance with all relevant standards and regulations.
Installing preventive maintenance measures can improve literally every aspect of your operation and increase the efficiency and performance of your equipment and staff in every sector. It can increase the lifespan of your air conditioning and heating systems, air treatment systems, kitchen equipment, elevators, escalators, power generations, even your gardening equipment.
More than anything, preventive maintenance is about being prepared. It’s about avoiding surprises and being forced to quickly react to expensive malfunctions. It’s about checking on all of your equipment routinely and creating a more sustainable plan for keeping every hotel asset working as intended.
The world of hospitality is always an exciting and dynamic one. Above all, preventive maintenance helps bring a sense of calm and stress relief to your operations and provides a level of predictability and assurance that’s hard to come by in the business of hoteliering and property management.