What is hotel maintenance?
Hotel maintenance is the upkeep of the various systems and components used in the hospitality industry. These systems include general building operations such as HVAC, electrical, and plumbing, but also many needs specific to hotels and their customers. These specific needs are widely varied and their scope depends on the size of the hotel and the services they offer.
Hotel maintenance may include upkeep of refrigeration, elevators, cable TV, phone lines, personal computers, room furnishings, and lighting fixtures. This wide scope of maintenance needs requires a large breadth of expertise from hotel maintenance crews. It also means that maintenance planning is crucial for hotel maintenance success.
Types of hotel maintenance workers
- Maintenance technicians handle a wide range of responsibilities so they tend to be “jack-of-all-trades” type workers. Their tasks include regular scheduled maintenance as well as corrective maintenance performed on a hotel’s numerous systems. Maintenance workers might also be involved in keeping up the grounds and exteriors of buildings.
- Maintenance supervisors oversee the actions of maintenance technicians and may also help with regular maintenance tasks themselves. In addition, they report to maintenance directors on various metrics, such as scheduling, regulatory compliance, and safety.
- Directors of maintenance handle high-level planning and hotel maintenance tasks, including working with supervisors, reporting to the hotel manager, and creating policies for their workers to follow.
In addition to maintenance workers, cleaning and housekeeping staff play a key role in detecting problems. Communication between maintenance and housekeeping should be open enough that it facilitates resolution of minor problems as they’re found. This communication is typically handled through work orders submitted to the hotel’s maintenance department.
Example of hotel maintenance
On average, a hotel charges a little under $130 per night. If there is a significant problem in any of the rooms it rents, it means a loss of $130 each night that the room needs repairs. If the repair work requires multiple rooms to be shut down for a few days during a busy season, that amount quickly escalates.
For instance, suppose the water pressure in one floor of the building goes out during the summer. The time it takes to diagnose and repair the issue could mean a lengthy downtime. If the floor has twenty rooms, that means $2,600 in lost revenue each night.
In addition, a problem of that scope would likely be preventable, meaning a small investment in preventive maintenance would have avoided that downtime altogether.
Places that use hotel maintenance
The hospitality industry includes several types of hotels, all of which have their own maintenance needs.
- Hotels: An average hotel needs a wide variety of maintenance work, including heating, cooling, plumbing, lighting, groundskeeping, electronic equipment, and myriad others.
- Serviced apartments: Residential hotels offer longer stay times, and their maintenance needs tend to resemble those of apartments rather than hotels. Even so, their maintenance needs are still quite varied.
- Resorts: Resorts located in remote locations have unique maintenance needs. Often, they need to supply their own electricity, water, and waste disposal, all while keeping up on the additional features they offer. Examples of extra features include golf courses, skiing, and swimming.
- Timeshare rentals: Renters purchase accommodations for a certain period of time each year, and they are often responsible for funding some of the maintenance of the property.
- Casino hotels: Casinos provide lodgings as a secondary function to their primary means of business. Those lodgings require just as much upkeep as other hotels. In addition, the machines and food service areas on the property also require consistent maintenance work.
Hotel maintenance certifications and training
Various organizations are dedicated to advancing professions in hotel maintenance, including AHLEI and NAHLE. To that end, they each offer their own educational programs:
- AHLEI Maintenance Employee Certification: The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) offers a certification for hotel maintenance employees as well as others involved in the hospitality industry.
- Certified Chief Engineer training: CCE training is offered by the National Association of Hotel & Lodging Engineers (NAHLE). The program is designed for hotel engineers and maintenance workers, and it trains candidates in management, operations, grounds, and building systems.
These come in addition to college degrees and other training programs offered through various institutions.
Hotel maintenance news and resources
- LODGING Magazine: This online magazine is published by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA). It contains numerous articles designed for those in the hospitality industry, including those working in hotel maintenance.
- Hospitality Net: Hospitality Net publishes regular news articles and informative content for those working in hotel maintenance and related professions.