Hotelier Guide to Maintenance, Inspections & Audits

Maintenance
Hotel
Published on:
January 31, 2024
Read Time:
23
min

Maintenance is important, even in our day-to-day lives—people exercise to maintain physical health, we take our cars in for regular tune ups to keep them running smoothly, we download the latest operating systems so our phones stay in working order.

There are types of maintenance all around us. So it’s no surprise that regular maintenance is necessary for a hotel’s success. 

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Maintenance keeps assets from breaking down, ensures hotel facilities are clean and safe, and helps to provide better guest experiences. But sometimes knowing where to start with regular maintenance or how to update existing procedures to improve efficacy can be overwhelming. 

In this blog post, we’ll be exploring: 

  • What is hotel maintenance? 
  • How hotel maintenance directly affects your bottom line
  • Who is responsible for hotel maintenance? 
  • What hotel assets require maintenance? 
  • What is a hotel maintenance system? 
  • Tips for improving hotel maintenance 
  • How to build a maintenance checklist

To continue your learning, check out our comprehensive Hotel Operations Management Guide

What is hotel maintenance? 

Hotel maintenance can include everything from room cleanings and routine pool inspections to work orders and HVAC tune ups. Any process that’s in place to maintain the longevity, efficiency, and safety of hotel assets, facilities, and rooms is a form of hotel maintenance. 

This can encompass the inspection of electrical systems, elevators, plumbing, and more. Any system that has the potential to wear down or need replacing over time should ideally be included in regular hotel maintenance responsibilities. 

Let Me Fix This Gif
Almost Family via Giphy

Hotel maintenance processes are important because they help resolve issues at your hotel quickly.

The right maintenance processes can even help you prevent problems entirely, saving your team time and saving your organization money. But maintenance doesn’t just keep your hotel assets operating smoothly—it optimizes guest experiences and ensures the overall safety and security of your property. 

A faulty electrical system, for example, could be a fire hazard.

But if your team has preventative maintenance or recurring maintenance inspections in place for the electrical system, you could catch a faulty wire before it becomes a big problem. With regular maintenance you’re able to stay on top of risk evaluation and prevent safety issues so you don’t have to run around your hotel putting out fires, literally and figuratively. 

How hotel maintenance directly affects your bottom line

Because regular maintenance keeps you and your team on top of risk prevention and ensures asset functionality for guests, it directly underlies guest experiences. If a guest arrives to their room after a long ride from the airport to find their sink doesn’t run or the toilet doesn’t flush they’ll likely be understandably upset. 

If a guest checks in on a hot day only to find the HVAC is broken and their room is just as warm as the world beyond their window they’re likely to leave a negative review about their experience.

Plus, for any guest inconvenienced by an improperly serviced or broken asset, you and your team will have to spend time and resources finding the appropriate conflict resolution to try to salvage your guest’s experience.

In this case, not only has poor maintenance planning caused a loss of time, but it’s also caused a potential loss of revenue beyond the replacement or repair of the asset. 

Equipment downtime can cause costly downstream operations expenses

Hotel maintenance also impacts your bottom line by minimizing equipment and asset downtime. When proper preventative maintenance is regularly taken care of you can plan for asset service times and continue running your hotel as close to capacity as possible. It also ensures there won’t be outages during guest stays. 

To top it all off, by regularly servicing items and taking stock of asset health on a consistent basis it can help prevent the large expense of asset replacement.

Who is responsible for hotel maintenance? 

Oftentimes when we think of hotel maintenance, the first thing that comes to mind are hotel technicians or engineers, the teammates who spend their time addressing work orders and inspecting technical issues. You might also think of a pool technician performing systematic chemical checks to ensure hotel pool maintenance is taken care of. 

At the core of hotel maintenance initiatives is your hotel Engineering Department.

The administrative side of this department is generally responsible for purchasing and inventory, organizing preventative maintenance schedules, scheduling contract services, and record keeping.

Those responsible for building systems will be in charge of HVAC systems, plumbing, electricity, refrigeration, food protection equipment, computer systems, etc. And occasionally there will also be a crafts segment to this department that takes care of carpentry, paint, groundskeeping, and upholstery concerns. 

In the end, all staff is responsible for the maintenance of the hotel property in some way

But even while there is a dedicated department for maintenance at many hotels, there are many people who are responsible for hotel maintenance—in fact, almost everyone at your hotel is responsible for some form of maintenance in their own way.

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Managers play an important role in maintenance. While hotel technicians often hold the primary role in completing hotel maintenance needs, maintenance managers are key in organizing procedures, setting up maintenance systems, and ensuring routine preventative maintenance takes place at a regular cadence. 

Housekeeping is also more critical to maintenance than you might initially think. Housekeepers can not only play a key role by reporting and creating work orders for issues they spot in rooms during regular cleanings, their regular cleanings are actually part of routine room maintenance in hotel procedures. Cleaning is an essential maintenance task that ensures quality and brand standards are consistently met and maintains guest satisfaction and safety. It is essential to have high housekeeping performance standards to support a successful maintenance program.

The front desk team additionally has more to do with maintenance than you’d first assume. Front desk teams ensure the lobby and general spaces are set up appropriately day by day. And when a guest reports an issue to the front desk, it’s crucial that that information is relayed to the appropriate department so it can be taken care of before it causes further inconvenience. 

In this way, everyone at your hotel plays an important role in the chain of maintenance across a property. The entire team has a responsibility to contribute to the completion and monitoring of hotel maintenance according to whatever operating procedures you set up at your property. 

What is a hotel maintenance system? 

A hotel maintenance system is any tools or standard procedures that are in place to help hotel teams to regularly manage maintenance. Some hotels use manual systems like procedural binders or paper documents to track maintenance. Nowadays, however, more hotels tend to implement software solutions as their primary maintenance system.

Software solutions like Xenia provide hotel teams with simple, customizable maintenance tools that everyone across the property can access easily via their own or provided mobile devices.  Tools like Xenia allow teams to complete and track work orders, inspections, quality audits, preventative maintenance, and more, all in one place. 

Hotel maintenance systems provide communication, accountability and audit trails of work completed

Having systems in place to manage maintenance is crucial to accountability, clarity, and accuracy. And central to hotel maintenance systems are inspections and audit procedures. These necessary processes often provide the data needed to more fully understand maintenance needs. 

Analyzing historical information from asset and facility audits helps you and your team to find the right cadence for maintenance to prevent issues and extend your assets’ longevity. Hotel inspections and audits are often set up at a regular cadence so that hotel teams can understand the ongoing maintenance needs of assets and facilities. This helps you and your team to identify if more regular preventative maintenance is needed to ensure the reliability and safety of these assets and facilities. From there, you can fine tune your maintenance systems. 

Utilizing tools like Xenia allows teams to easily track inspections data and analyze custom reports on the information, so understanding maintenance needs is as simple as filtering for the right analytics. You’re able to see how often work orders are requested for specific assets, or how many times an asset has had issues within a specified timeframe. 

Once you’ve taken a look at how inspections and audits are going in various spaces within your property, you can more deeply understand the needs behind preventative maintenance procedures and ensure everything is adequately followed via your hotel maintenance system. 

What are the types of hotel maintenance? 

There are several types of hotel maintenance, but we’re going to focus on three crucial types of maintenance that might take place at your hotel: routine hotel maintenance, preventative hotel maintenance, and reactive hotel maintenance. 

⏰ Routine maintenance

This includes things like daily pool checks, general area cleanings, and room cleanings. These are the daily or weekly tasks that keep rooms and facilities clean and safe for your hotel guests. It can include things like vacuuming the floors, replacing light bulbs regularly, and unclogging drains. Think of routine maintenance in hotel spaces as your general cleanliness and safety procedures that keep guests happy from day to day during their stays. 

🧰 Preventative maintenance

Preventive Maintenance (PM) includes maintenance procedures that are intended to keep assets and facilities functioning efficiently to optimize guest experience. This often includes more technical tasks such as HVAC tune ups, plumbing inspections, and electrical system adjustments. Preventative maintenance is often based on manufacturer recommended usage guidelines and instructions for care, but they can also be based on individual asset history if your hotel team has been tracking the historical usage and work order history of certain assets. 

🚨 Reactive maintenance

Reactive maintenance is what teams are often looking to avoid by instilling routine maintenance and preventative maintenance systems. Reactive maintenance is pretty much just what it sounds like: your team quickly reacting to a sudden, and often unplanned, maintenance need. This includes things like work orders or unexpected appliance breakdowns. For example, if an HVAC system goes out unexpectedly and your technicians are scrambling to get the issue resolved, that’s a reactive maintenance issue. 

3 Major Areas for Hotel Maintenance

There are three main areas that hotel maintenance typically takes place: hotel building systems, facility maintenance, and equipment maintenance. 

🏨 Building System Maintenance

Hotel building system maintenance includes servicing things like HVACs, elevators, fire alarms, and electrical systems at the property. These assets tend to be the most expensive and, thus, the most important for consistent preventive maintenance and efficiency inspections. Maintenance managers must keep meticulous logs of equipment readings and service processes conducted and

🛎️ Facility Maintenance

Hotel facility maintenance includes things like room inspections, hallway checks, lobby inspections, and amenities or entertainment area maintenance. 

💻 Equipment maintenance

Equipment maintenance includes preventative maintenance across hotel equipment used by both guest and staff, including furniture, luggage carts, hotel gym equipment, computers and more.

What hotel assets require maintenance?

The assets that require maintenance at a property can vary from hotel to hotel. It’s important for any assets that are frequently in use by guest or staff are regularly serviced to maintain efficiency and functionality, but here are a few of the key assets that require regular maintenance at hotels: 

🔥Boiler

A boiler heats the water supply at a hotel to be used for things like warm showers, laundry, cooking, sanitation, and more. Boilers require regular maintenance to ensure longevity and full functionality. Because hotel boilers supply hot water to the entire hotel, you definitely don’t want your boiler malfunctioning—that’s why it’s critical to stay on top of boiler maintenance. Preventative maintenance for a boiler can include checking for leaks, inspecting valve pressure, and recalibrating operational controls. Download our free Boiler Preventive Maintenance Checklist for a detailed list.

❄️ Chiller

A chiller provides a constant flow of cool air and can be used for a multitude of purposes but they’re generally used at hotels to maintain HVAC and cooling systems. Chillers need regular maintenance to ensure correct temperatures are met for optimal guest experience, food storage needs, machinery needs, and more. Preventative maintenance for chiller systems can include checking coolant levels and temperature outputs. Download our free Chiller Preventive Maintenance Checklist for a detailed list.

🛗 Elevator

Elevators are not only a modern convenience, they’re also a necessity for guest accessibility and safety. Elevators require regular preventative maintenance and mechanics checks to ensure adequate risk prevention, safe operation, and full function. Preventative maintenance for an elevator includes regular control inspections and door functionality checks. 

💡 Lighting

There are lighting systems across every hotel, and we often take for granted how important these lighting setups actually are. There’s of course lighting in guestrooms such as lamps or overhead fixtures, and these should be regularly inspected and serviced to keep guests comfortable. But lighting in public spaces such as hallways, lounges, cafes, parking lots, etc. are just as important, and maybe even more so when it comes to security and risk prevention. 

Lighting maintenance can be as simple as regularly replacing light bulbs, inspecting public area lighting fixtures, and regularly checking light switches. 

🪠 Plumbing

Ensuring that your hotel plumbing is fully functioning isn’t just important for your guest’s experience in their guestroom but also for their experience across your property. If your hotel experiences plumbing issues it could be an issue for your housekeeping services, F&B facilities, amenities, and more. Conducting basic plumbing inspections during housekeeping checks or preventative maintenance inspections is critical in staying on top of plumbing needs. It can be as simple as checking that the sinks are running and the toilet is flushing. 

Tips for improving hotel maintenance

When it comes to hotel maintenance, a good rule of thumb to follow is the 80/20 rule of maintenance: 80% of your hotel maintenance should be proactive or preventative and only about 20% of maintenance activities should account for unplanned maintenance. This means that you and your team should prioritize and plan for proactive and preventative maintenance activities and risk prevention. 

Create standardized operating procedures to manage maintenance tasks

The next important step in improving hotel maintenance is to standardize and organize maintenance tasks. This means creating centralized processes for your team to follow to complete maintenance needs in an organized fashion that’s easy to log and track. Set up standard operating procedures (SOPs) around maintenance processes to keep everyone on the same page and ensure brand and quality standards are met according to expectations. 

Setting up SOPs also helps ensure accountability by creating clear systems around who is responsible for what task. You can take that a step further by creating a RACI chart for your team to fully identify and clarify roles and expectations around maintenance. RACI stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed, and these charts essentially map out the responsibility of tasks and ownership so everyone knows exactly what’s expected of them.

Log tasks and costs to identify maintenance trends over time

Once you’ve set up a system of accountability and clear procedural steps, you can log your data to track costs and identify trends over time for future improvement. Using a digital solution like Xenia allows you to view maintenance activity and asset health within customizable data reports so you can see aggregate data over time so you can spot patterns quickly. 

Finally, prioritize and improve communication across your maintenance team and even other departments. Making communication a constant goal across your property helps everyone to identify issues quickly and keeps everyone unified on organization-wide maintenance goals. You can utilize solutions like Xenia to put instant digital communication in the palm of your employees’ hands and eliminate disruptive and cumbersome radio calls, making it easy to quickly and effectively communicate changes, requests, and updates on tasks. 

How to build Hotel Maintenance Checklists

To help you and your team identify standards of process around hotel maintenance and clarify procedural steps you can create your own hotel maintenance checklists that your team can actively work through during maintenance tasks. To create your own maintenance checklist, first identify the necessary tasks that need completion and the cadence you need your team to complete those tasks. 

From there, breakdown each component or part of each task and start writing each sequential part into process steps. Make sure you use clear and accessible language so that it’s easy for every team member to follow. Once you’ve mapped out the steps for these processes, you can deploy your checklists to your team and optimize as you begin to work through them!

Hotel Maintenance Checklist Example
Hotel Maintenance Checklist Example

You can utilize a digital checklist solution like Xenia to not only house and distribute your maintenance checklists, but to allow your team to work through these checklists directly from their smartphone or provided mobile device in real time. With a tool like Xenia, your team is able to quickly work through maintenance tasks and track each step on the go and it’s automatically logged within the system for easy data tracking. Additionally, with Xenia’s full suite of tools, if there’s an issue during a standard maintenance check, your staff can message their team lead or other team members for help immediately without having to run all over the property to track them down. 

Hotel Maintenance Templates

Here are a few free hotel maintenance checklist templates to get you started: 

Get everything you need for hotel maintenance with one easy-to-use optimization solution. 

If you’re looking for one software solution to cover all your maintenance needs, Xenia is here to help. Our customizable optimization solution includes everything you need to track, manage, and maintain inspections, work orders, routine maintenance, preventative maintenance, and more. Plus with our instant messaging features and included analytics suite you’ll be able to ensure accountability and accurately analyze data to make improvements to your process overtime.

Don’t let maintenance oversights affect your guest and your bottom line—book a free demo to see how Xenia can help you streamline your hotel maintenance procedures.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Got a question? Find our FAQs here. If your question hasn't been answered here, contact us.

What is the importance of hotel maintenance and how does it impact the guest experience?

Hotel maintenance is critical in ensuring the functionality, safety, and aesthetic appeal of a hotel, directly impacting the guest experience.

Regular maintenance, including room cleanings, pool inspections, HVAC tune-ups, and electrical system checks, prevents asset breakdown and safety hazards.

Effective maintenance ensures guests enjoy a comfortable, safe, and pleasing environment, enhancing their overall experience.

Neglecting maintenance can lead to guest inconveniences, negative reviews, and potential revenue loss, highlighting its direct effect on a hotel's bottom line.

Who is responsible for carrying out hotel maintenance tasks, and what are their roles?

While hotel technicians and engineers primarily handle maintenance tasks, maintenance responsibilities extend across various hotel departments.

The Engineering Department oversees technical maintenance, including HVAC systems and electrical maintenance.

Housekeeping contributes by reporting issues and maintaining room cleanliness, while front desk staff play a crucial role in relaying guest-reported issues to the maintenance team.

Managers organize and implement maintenance procedures, ensuring regular preventative maintenance. Essentially, all staff contribute to maintaining the hotel, ensuring smooth operations and guest satisfaction.

How can a hotel maintenance system improve operational efficiency and asset management?

A hotel maintenance system, particularly software solutions like Xenia, improves operational efficiency by centralizing and automating maintenance tasks.

These systems enable easy tracking and management of work orders, inspections, and preventive maintenance schedules, ensuring timely resolution of maintenance issues

What are some best practices for enhancing hotel maintenance management?

To enhance hotel maintenance management, hotels should implement standardized operating procedures (SOPs) for consistency and clarity in maintenance tasks.

Logging tasks and costs helps identify maintenance trends, enabling data-driven decision-making.

Regular training and improving communication across departments are essential for proactive maintenance management. Employing digital tools like Xenia for checklist management, real-time communication, and data analysis can significantly improve maintenance efficiency.