It is estimated that there are 700,000 hotel facilities worldwide with combined annual revenues of $830 billion (Lake, 2016). In the U.S. alone, there are 4.9 million guest rooms that make up 68% of their total annual revenues (Mandelbaum, 2007). Special events, spa and health club facilities, golf, movie rentals, parking, and commercial leases make up the balance of hospitality revenues. Considered together, the hotel industry is vibrant, robust, challenging and a valuable economic contributor.
In several important ways, hotels are very similar to hospitals especially when it comes to their operations management. For example, hotels and hospitals operate on a 24/7 schedule, service a wide range and constantly changing clientele and both must adhere to the highest safety and regulatory standards. Although different in the services they provide, efficient maintenance operations must be a priority for hotels just as they are for healthcare facilities. And with so many assets to be managed at any given hotel, it is neither expedient nor safe to leave the task of maintenance management to manual approaches alone.
For these reasons as well as the need to remain competitive while finding ways to improve their bottom line, a growing number of hotel owners are turning toward CMMS as their preferred hotel maintenance management solution.
Before getting into the ways hotel maintenance management software contributes to improved facility operations, let’s start by understanding what CMMSs are all about. Computerized Maintenance Management Software also known as CMMS software is a powerful software system that can provide its users with an overview of all equipment operations. It also has the ability to provide information on the status of any single piece of equipment. All of this is accomplished by entering relevant equipment information (i.e., serial numbers, barcodes, photos, inspection data, past maintenance history, maintenance manuals etc.) into the system’s database.
Current CMMS systems make it possible for a wide range of businesses to monitor inventory levels, track work orders, quickly generate accurate reports, and instantly determine which of their assets requires preventive maintenance. It is this latter feature - preventive maintenance - that is viewed as the nerve center of CMMSs. So let’s start there.
Preventive Maintenance (PM) Programs
Until the introduction of hotel maintenance management software, hotel maintenance managers generally conducted operations maintenance on an “as needed” basis. This is often referred to as reactive maintenance. With this type of maintenance, equipment was attended to only when something went wrong or more specifically, when a piece of equipment was reported to have broken down. Maintenance on this basis is inefficient in the long run and also costly because equipment breakdowns are usually unanticipated. More importantly, the lack of routine maintenance can also result in equipment failure and ultimately, its replacement. In both instances, unexpected disruptions in operations are problematic especially for hotels that function around the clock. Consider the consequences to hotel operations when there is an HVAC system failure, an elevator breakdown or a plumbing problem.
All require immediate attention while also causing significant disruptions for guests and staff. With Preventive maintenance software feature of CMMS, PM programs can be implemented to eliminate most, if not all unanticipated equipment breakdowns while maintaining hotel operations and at the same time, extending equipment lifespans.
As a central feature of hotel maintenance management software, preventive maintenance programs offer maintenance managers the customizability they need to completely control how hotel maintenance operations occur. Since no two-hotel operations are alike, a system that is able to adapt to the specific and perhaps changing needs of a facility is imperative. There are several ways PM schedules can be set up. For new users of hotel maintenance management software systems, a good starting point begins with reviewing equipment repair histories as well as low usage times for specific assets. Reviewing repair histories will help maintenance managers to prioritize equipment based on age and/or repair frequency. An example of maintenance conducted during low usage time in hotels is conducting preventive maintenance on cleaning equipment during the evening after all cleaning operations are over for the day. Similarly, plumbing inspections can be conducted during the afternoons when most guests are out of their rooms or during slow periods when rooms may not be occupied.
Other options for PM scheduling may incorporate inspection dates as well as equipment placement locations. CMMSs also make it possible to simultaneously run multiple PM schedules. Finally, CMMS generated reports of completed PMs can be reviewed and evaluated. In so doing, maintenance manage can make informed decisions about any needed adjustments to schedules and/or equipment replacements or upgrades.
Automated Work Orders
Two of the biggest problems associated with manually generated work orders are unnecessary time delays and errors. Both are costly to hotel owners in terms of lost time and money. With work order software feature of CMMS, work orders will no longer be left sitting in a maintenance technician’s mail slot for days or contain errors caused by incorrectly transposing a part’s serial number by hand. Instead, CMMSs automatically generate work orders with the equipment part and its serial number correctly identified using the system’s integrated barcode scanning and photo capabilities. The software immediately sends it to the designated maintenance technician. Notifications can also be sent to maintenance managers informing them of the work order progress from start to finish. All of these tasks are done with just a few clicks of a mouse on a computer or taps on a smartphone or tablet.
Hotel operations never cease and neither should the software that oversees their maintenance management. Since a hotel’s reputations is based primarily on providing good service and comfort, it makes sense that every effort should be made to keep unanticipated disruptions in facility functioning to a minimum. Maintenance management software systems offer its customers a viable and cost effective solution to this issue. CMMSs make it possible for hotel guests to go home satisfied and for hotel owners to realize an increased bottom line.