Q. In light of the current economic environment, how can I keep my property competitive when I have no capital budget?
A: It is important to maintain your largest asset: the guestroom. You will be able to maintain your property and improve your guest satisfaction by putting in place a preventive maintenance program. There are several steps for this process. Look at what needs maintenance, what needs replacement and what needs cleaning. Create a checklist for the entire guestroom (suite or standard room). It should include floors, furniture, fixtures, appliances, lighting and the bathroom. Consider the room from the guest’s perspective: sitting on the toilet, standing in the shower, laying on the bed, using the furniture. Act like a guest, and you’ll see what they see.
• Open the door. Does it close automatically, do hinges squeak or does the door or frame rub?
• Check electronic and secondary locks.
• Is the peephole clean and clear?
• Inside, “hug” the wall and take a 360-degree inspection of the room, working your way throughout the entire space.
• Does the toilet flush properly, or does it keep running?
• Inspect the vanity, tiles, grout, caulking and ceiling.
• Enter the shower. Look at the grout and caulking and note necessary repairs or cleaning. Cracks or holes could lead to damages in the guestrooms below, moisture in the walls, and potentially mold.
• Inspect the showerhead, clean any calcium deposits and run the water to check the pressure.
• Test the tub stopper and the tub for standing water. For slow drains, use the Zip-It drain-cleaning tool. Using the tool quarterly for tubs and sinks is recommended.
• Check the shower rod and curtain. Is the rod loose or damaged? Does the curtain move correctly?
• Test the faucet and fill the basin. Does the faucet drip? Does the sink drain properly? Check caulking.
• Ensure towel racks are tight and secure.
• Check mirrors for cracks and chips; re-silver if applicable. Light fixtures/bulbs, vents and fans should be clear of dust and other debris.
• The bathroom door should open, close and lock as well as the front door.
• Test the blow dryer and check the filter. Does the filter need replacing? Inspect the cord and plug for damage.
• Check the night-light.
Furniture and electronics
• Inspect all furniture—desks, chairs, tables, etc.—for chips, scratches or damage. Note needed repairs.
• Dresser and nightstand drawers should open and close correctly.
• Check batteries in remote controls, inspect alarm clocks, and check the cords on the TV and any other hardware.
• Check mattresses and bed frame for condition.
• Inspect for cracks and drafts.
• Make sure drapes work correctly and that pull cords and batons operate properly.
• If the room has a balcony/sliding door, the door should slide and lock properly.
• Adjoining room doors should be inspected just like the front door.
• Carefully check PTACs. Clean filters and replace when necessary. Clean the coils and condensation pan at least twice annually.
• Replace guestroom lighting with compact fluorescent lighting. Change all the guestroom lighting at the same time and date the bottoms so you know when they were installed. Replacing incandescent bulbs with CFLs, which are designed to last 10 times longer, will extend the amount of time before you need to replace them saving you maintenance and replacement lamp costs.
• Check each lamp for cord and shade damage.
• Don’t forget to check the switch plates and wall sockets.
• Check the door and shelving.
• Inspect irons and ironing boards, ensuring they are clean and work properly.
Preventive maintenance and deep-cleaning programs should be done in two phases. Maintenance first, with repairs and replacements completed, followed by a housekeeper’s deep cleaning. Housekeeping should wash the ceiling and walls, clean behind furniture and under beds, wash drapes and bedspreads and steam clean the carpet at a minimum.
These programs should be customized to your property. Consistency is always your best approach. Set your list to conform with guestrooms, then fine tune them, but don’t ever forget them. You’ll not only save future maintenance dollars, but have much happier returning guests.
Stratton Michals is a National Account Manager with HD Supply. He can be reached at [email protected]