3 Ways Hotels Can Prevent the Holiday Under-Staffing Blues
It’s that time of year: the smell of Christmas trees, sugar cookies, and the flu bug are in the air. Employees are getting sick, vacationing, and no-showing during the time of year when hotel needs them the most. Holiday travelers are expecting a top-notch experience to match with their top-notch holiday moods, and that requires the appropriate level of staffing behind the scenes to keep the building safe and comfortable for guests.
Here are 3 ways chief engineers and directors of engineering can prevent the holiday under-staffing blues:
1. Staff More Than You Think You Need
Your normal staff is 10 per shift, so you staffed 12 this year, but ended up only with 8. From this you know you’ll have a holiday no-show rate of 4/12, or 25%. It may be too late this year, but use the pain you’re experiencing now to plan ahead next year’s schedule. This might even mean hiring seasonal staff to fill in the gaps where possible, and use the results from this year’s issues as evidence for budget requests for next year.
You also likely have a few highly reliable staff going above and beyond and sacrificing some amount of their own holiday joy to keep the hotel running. Make sure to compensate those employees well, not just monetarily but with appreciation, praise, and extra vacation time later!
2. Prepare Systems Ahead
It may seem obvious now, but make sure to schedule equipment maintenance for BEFORE the holiday rush. If you are on a quarterly or annual schedule for maintaining boilers, HVAC, and performing safety checks, set these times at least a month on either side of the holiday rush. Also, create a check-list of extra needs that occur around the holidays and work this into regular maintenance for the fall. Is your heat keeping pace? Are there extra requests for hair dryers? Is ventilation working at capacity? Use the pain you are experiencing now to learn and prepare ahead for next year!
3. Remotely Monitor to Predict Problems
There’s almost nothing worse than a 2AM disaster requiring you and your staff to get out of your cozy beds and go to the hotel for trouble-shooting and remediation. This problem is only amplified when staff numbers are low. Although some problems may seem unpreventable, evidence of many break-downs shows itself over time through equipment changes in temperature, energy pull, and sounds. Normal day-to-day walkthroughs might miss some of these very subtle changes. The best practice for hospitality is to deeply monitor equipment for signs of fault that can be fixed before it’s too late. Even better, use a remote alerting system to be warned of the early stages of error to fix them in non-emergency mode.
We hope this is a helpful list! Feel free to comment with your own suggestions, and reach out to us here at Verdigris to help you monitor your equipment and predict problems with less staff and fewer emergencies.
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