The past recession has been unusually hard on the physical assets of hotel properties! In the past, CapEx dollars may have kept your hotel fresh and compliant with guest expectations. However, several years of non-existent capital expenditures has now come home to roost.
Certainly any hotelier would want to correct issues that are negatively affecting guest satisfaction, destroying price-value and diluting guest loyalty! After all, it is difficult to grow revenue if a multitude of situations are driving business away. No hotel is immune from these issues as most hoteliers face situations such as these continually….even in a good economy.
As hospitality indicators are finally showing upward trends, the best solution in correcting tired FF & E (Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment) is to get a fresh look at your hotel. To accomplish this do a “walk through”. Do this using a note pad and while having two hotel associates (that are known for attention to detail) accompany you.
Investigate – The intent of this process is to follow the same path that the guest uses to access various functions and amenities of the hotel. Routes might include front door to the registration, guest elevators, guest corridors and finally guest room. Additional investigative routes should be taken to every other public area (banquet, public restrooms, etc.). In each case, you are looking for FF & E items that will negatively affect your guests’ perception of the hotel. As you identify issues, record them on your list. Use 3 priorities and assign each issue a priority.
Priority one identifies items or issues that can be remedied without substantial expenditures. Some items that may end up on your list are spots / stains / damage to upholstery and carpets. Other issues that negatively impact guest perception are discolored lamp shades, crushed sofa cushions, crippled bell carts, broken pool furniture and worn registration cabinetry finishes.
Priority two should address issues that take some funds and maybe more complex to resolve (such as re-upholstery, replacing damaged occasional tables, etc.).
Priority three should be used to identify those issues that will take more time to solve, may require bids or quotes (fitness equipment
replacement, window treatments, decorative art, etc.) and may have to be deferred until the next CapEx proposal is submitted.
Evaluate – With the above list in hand you can now see as a whole, what may be influencing the guests’ perception of your hotel. You may find that some items were very offensive and need immediate attention. Others may take more time to resolve. On issues that are within reach, it is suggested that you use the “divide and conquer” approach so action and positive results can be swift.
Assimilate – In this phase, you are organizing your decisions and their solutions into communications. In the process, identify the associate or team to accomplish each item on the list. Establish a deadline for each item. Publish the work and put the associates to task. It is also suggested that a follow up “walk-thru” occur in 30 or 45 days using the original list of work. This not only serves to physically assess that the correction was successful, but evaluate other immediate items to see if further work is necessary.
It should be noted that any hotelier wanting to make this process even more effective, will want to build an Annual Capital Expenditure Plan or Long Range Capital Expenditure Plan. The management arm of a hotel property may have experience staff to accomplish this or it may be necessary to utilize an outside firm that can provide this service.
What are your experiences in correcting tired FF & E? Please post your comments by clicking here.