• Tarun Kapoor

A SELECT SERVICE HOTEL SURVIVAL PLAN “COST CUTTING IN A PANDEMIC”

As a hotelier and a consultant, I have always prided myself in practicing what I preach. Steadfastly, I advocate for transparent business practices. With the right training and information I believe the most affordable person can be equipped to do a job, as long as they are consistently held accountable to the outcomes. However, I say this with a caveat—the associate must be empowered to ensure that the guest comes first. As such, it is important to assign duties efficiently, considering and differentiating which tasks must be completed by specific personnel and which can be accomplished by any staff member. These concepts are what I call Tarunisms! While this stands true, in these unprecedented times, I have found myself questioning these Tarunisms , my beliefs.


The past three weeks I have been in crisis mode. I have been on the phone, Skype, Zoom and FaceTime guiding clients as they maneuver this new reality. As I’m being presented with new challenges daily, I find myself reflecting on my beliefs-- fighting for ways to continue to uphold them all the while adapting to these unique times. That being said I decided to blog my reflections. Here is the first of this series A Select Service Hotel Survival Plan:


First, stop the bleed! In these trying times we must deliberate and cut any and every unnecessary cost that we can. Following are some suggestions that can be easily implemented yet show measurable cost savings.


BREAKFAST


  1. Suspend Breakfast Service and replace with a Grab and Go style Breakfast that could include a saran wrapped (pastry? Sandwich?), a granola bar, a prewrapped muffin and a nonrefrigerated juice.

  2. Task your night auditor with preparing one Grab and Go bag per room occupied. Ensure this is done in a sanitary manner following most up to date COVID-19 prevention guidelines such as washing hands and wearing gloves. (Optional: link resources from the CDC for proper food handling)

  3. Remove ALL breakfast items from display and turn off all Juice Machines/dispensers. Store securely for future use.

  4. Eliminate Coffee Service in the lobby and add additional coffee packets in rooms.

  5. Suspend Complimentary Bottled Water.

  6. Expand the products for sale in the market.


FRONT DESK /PUBLIC AREAS


  1. Management (GM, Front Office Manager and Sales managers) must pull shifts.

  2. Front Desk staff should regularly and frequently clean and sanitize the front desk and other associated or nearby public areas

  3. Shut down the Fitness Room, Pool & Spa. Post professional closure signs. Turn off heaters & Chemical Dispensers while allowing the water pump to continue circulating the water and restrict Pool Cleaning to once per week.

  4. Stop renting the meeting rooms.

  5. Put signs up telling guests not to congregate in the lobby.

  6. Place an updated guest letter in every room describing these changes.

  7. Shut down the Business Center and turn off the Computers. Post a sign.


Market Area


  1. Remain open for grab n go convenience, all food products should be sealed or pre-packaged.

  2. Be sure to restock well.

  3. Keep sanitized & wipe down with same schedule as lobby cleaning.


HOUSEKEEPING


  1. Start housekeeping shift at 9:00am or later.

  2. Distribute hours equitably based on demand (rooms that need to be cleaned.)

  3. Head Housekeeper should be assigned an appropriate amount of cleaning.

  4. Extra emphasis must be placed on safety, everyone should use gloves (that are frequently switched out and replaced) and guest’s personal items should be left as is.

  5. Suspend all deep cleanings.

  6. Do not overstock guest room with supplies and public restrooms with supplies (1 toilet paper roll per holder.)


MAINTENANCE


  1. Schedule on demand.

  2. Pair maintenance with housekeeping when possible.

  3. Suspend PM, pool chemical checks etc.


Shuttle Service


  • If you offer Shuttle Services suspend for now.


LABOR


  1. Lay off based on productivity.

  2. Advise them to seek unemployment.

  3. Keep in touch with laid off associates, assist them if possible.


PURCHASING GUIDELINES


  • Suspend all purchases of linen & terry

  • Suspend all purchase of brand standard coffee & breakfast. Only purchase approved breakfast To Go items.

  • Suspend but with GM approval if needed – purchases of AC, TV, Refrigerator, and any other in room items.

  • Suspend outside pool services if applicable

  • Defer capital items

  • Eliminate wasteful printing. Purchase paper, toner, ink only on an as needed basis.

  • Do not over order toilet paper, tissue paper, or travel size items. Order based on occupancy and there should be no excess inventory.


UTILITIES


Utility service should be based on room occupancy.

  • AC/Heaters should always be off for non-occupied rooms

  • Room refrigerators

  • Eliminate usage on floors, sections, or unplug based on individual hotel’s needs and layout.

  • Use circuit breaker if feasible. Unplug refrigerators if the best option.

  • Keep notation of utilities shut down

  • Meeting room utilities should be shut off

  • Trash pick-up needs to be evaluated and reduced



GENERAL MANAGERS


  • Reach out to Local Agencies for occupancy lodging tax forgiveness, reduction, or deferral

  • Hotels are experiencing high levels of cancelations from 3rd party vendors and other travel agencies, so it is critical to reconcile before paying.

  • Stay extra vigilant and cautious with associates who display or have symptoms of sickness. These individuals should not be allowed to work. Employees should be advised to stay home and contact their healthcare providers if experiencing any of the following symptoms: cough, fever or trouble breathing.

  • Employee Acknowledgement Letter to be reviewed with and signed by employees.


I hope you find this helpful. While it does not entirely address the tumultuous drop in business and the catastrophic drop in RevPAR, I hope these simple changes will help slow the bleed. In future blogs, I plan to address the effects of the pandemic on both our associates and guests and share some more Tarunisms.


Till then stay safe and hang tough, this too shall pass!



For a free thirty minute consultation, please contact me at tarun@kapoorandkapoor.com.


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