How to keep guestroom refrigerators efficient and clean

This is part two in a series on hotel guestroom refrigeration. Click here for part one, "The upshot of outside food."

Guests are paying more attention to the guestroom refrigerators, and so should hotels. That means more and closer inspections by housekeeping and, in some properties, engineering. 

“Obviously we all want to say we’ve been taking great care of our refrigerators for years, but some need a closer look than others,” said Jayne Barrett, GM of the DoubleTree Suites Boston. Barrett’s property has weekly inspections of guestroom devices and fixtures from the hotel’s engineering staff, and that includes refrigerators. “They are seeing use, so above all we’d like [the refrigerators] to work. We are doing more preventive maintenance than five years ago,” Barrett said.

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This is even more important in hotels with high occupancy, as there will be little downtime for replacing broken refrigerators and few alternative rooms to shift guests to. Kyle Highberg, GM of the Residence Inn by Marriott Omaha Downtown, said ice buildup is a problem area housekeeping can watch for when cleaning refrigerator ice makers. 

“It’s something to watch for, because if you have high occupancy you can’t turn the refrigerators off,” Highberg said. “People need to come in and have them ready to go. It doesn’t take much, cleaning empty ice trays and watching for buildup, but it’s easy to overlook.”

If a property is turning every stone for energy savings, Highberg said they should consider turning off the refrigerators in rooms that won’t be filled during low travel seasons, but debates whether the savings are worth being unprepared for sudden bookings.

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