How to prepare your hotel operations for reopening. (Part II)

Hotel Operations

There are a variety of factors at play as you ramp up operations and get back to business.

As you welcome back staff, reconnect with vendors, and prepare the property for full occupancy, you’ll need to keep the following considerations top of mind:

  1. BUILD A FLEXIBLE STAFFING PLAN

The front desk may be facing a steady stream of guests who are eager and excited to be out of the house. Of course, that eagerness and excitement can quickly turn to frustration standing in line at a swamped front desk, waiting hours for room service, or sweltering in a hot guest room because maintenance missed a broken AC.

Along with using technology to keep your teams organized and on point, your staffing plan must be flexible and designed to accommodate sudden surges. There’s little room for error; as people emerge from hibernation, their expectations will be high.

In the face of the growing tide of demand, it will be vital to ensure your stuff fells valued and set up for success. Some staff may still feel unsafe, have new jobs, or prioritize full-time work if you’re only able to offer part-time.

You can head off some of these difficulties by cross-training staff across roles. When front desk team members can also act as the concierge, valet, shift lead, or even housekeeper in a pinch, scheduling can fluctuate more easily with demand. That said, it’s vital to ensure your staff do not feel overwhelmed or responsible for filling multiple roles. Along with training, encourage your staff to be open and honest with how much they can successfully handle and when

extra support is required. You’ll have a happier team — and a better guest experience.

 

  1. MONITOR INVENTORIES CLOSELY

Demand will be tough to predict for the rest of the year. To stay lean on capital outlays, be vigilant on inventories – especially perishable items.

You may need to do inventories more often than before the pandemic. The increased frequency will help you maintain essential stock, such as food, linens, and towels, without overspending. The more money that sits on shelves (or disappears into the trash), the less money there is to invest in staff support and demand generation as you pursue a profitable summer season.Monitor inventories

Even so, don’t ditch the mask inventories just yet. Plan for the pandemic to continue for the rest of the year, and keep masks and other supplies on hand. You’ll need enough to not only accommodate staff needs but to offer guests protective coverings as required by law (or by brand competitiveness).

A quick note on forecasts. Rather than looking at last year’s business as a baseline, the pandemic shifted focus to the week-to-week and month-to-month trends.

As you monitor these trends at the property-level, keep a watchful eye on market-level trends too. These near-term barometers continue to be the best indicators of appropriate staffing and inventory levels.

  1. DOUBLE DOWN ON TECHNOLOGY

rest of the year, and keep masks and other supplies on hand. You’ll need enough to not only accommodate staff needs but to offer guests protective coverings as required by law (or by brand competitiveness).

A quick note on forecasts. Rather than looking at last year’s business as a baseline, the pandemic shifted focus to the week-to-week and month-to-month trends.

As you monitor these trends at the property-level, keep a watchful eye on market-level trends too. These near-term barometers continue to be the best indicators of appropriate staffing and inventory levels.

The pandemic accelerated the adoption of guest-facing touchless technology which reduced interactions with staff but also enhanced the guest experience.

Touchless contact

Technology also enables your back-of-the-house staff to work smarter, not harder. Maintenance in particular has a lot on its plate.

If your property hasn’t been able to keep up with preventative maintenance during the prolonged closure, it’s time to revisit those property PMS.

  1. ALIGN HOUSEKEEPING AND MAINTENANCE

Housekeeping and maintenance have arguably some of the toughest ramp-ups. The heightened cleanliness requirements continue to burden housekeeping staff, who are also dealing with smaller teams and higher workloads.

Revisit all processes to ensure that checklists, workflows, and expectations are aligned across housekeeping and maintenance teams.

Everyone needs to work closely to ensure that rooms are ready to welcome guests — and that all processes are updated to reflect the latest cleaning guidelines.

Housekeeping can also help maintenance identify emerging issues before they impact the guest experience. Incentivize housekeepers to report any urgent PM issues to maintenance: Are rooms up to standard? Do the lightbulbs work, the AC cool, and the plumbing drain?

Does everything look (and smell) good? The more eyes and ears on alert, the less likely that a critical issue will slip by and affect the guest experience.

Stay vigilant and adaptable

Staying up-to-date with the latest local, national and international travel restrictions has become second nature for hoteliers. With rules fluctuating daily, hoteliers have become accustomed to checking these updates frequently.

Stay diligent in monitoring habits for at least the rest of the year. Your hotel must continue to adapt in the face of changing conditions. The pandemic won’t be over in a single moment, and COVID may remain a seasonal event that impacts travel for years to come. In that case, your preparations now will pay off in the long run.

Source: cendyn.com 

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