How Checklists Can Improve Hotel Operations

Happy National Checklist Day! Yes, there is such a thing, and yes, we are celebrating! There seems to be a national day for everything. Some days we can get on board with, like National Donut Day, some that are just odd (National Awkward Moments Day, National Carbonated Beverage with Caffeine Day, the list goes on…), and then, there are the days that as hoteliers, we are thankful for.

For hoteliers, a checklist can be anything from a simple reminder, to a life raft in the middle of the ocean. It can be the difference between regular preventative hotel maintenance, or buying a new $100,000 boiler in the middle of the year that you didn’t budget for.

As a general rule, checklists enable people to free up some of their brain space by providing reminders for the most basic, but oftentimes overlooked, tasks. They serve as a reminder to do the little things, so your attention (and brain power) can be focused on the bigger picture, which in a hotelier’s case, means providing exceptional guest experiences and keeping guests safe.

Checklists play an essential role in hotel operations. From front desk agents, to valets, to hotel general managers, there isn’t a hotel employee who doesn’t use checklists.

Preventative maintenance runs on checklists

Any business can save between 12-18% by investing in preventative, instead of reactive, maintenance. Hotel preventative maintenance is essential. Having a preventive maintenance system in place is not a ‘nice-to-have’ item, it is a critical solution that every hotel operation relies on. But what is preventative maintenance?

Preventative maintenance is the daily, weekly, or monthly checks done by a hotel’s engineering team. It can be cleaning out pool filters weekly, changing the oil in a hotel van every 3,000 miles, or walking the stairways and making sure that railings are tightly secured to the walls.

Wear and tear happens, in fact, it’s normal. But never checking or completely neglecting equipment is what can lead to problems.

Hotel operations are improved when a physical property is in good condition, and its largest pieces of machinery and equipment have regular maintenance. With maintenance checklists, maintenance and engineering teams have instructions on how and when to check large pieces of equipment.

ALICE Preventative Maintenance provides digital, mobile checklists so maintenance and engineering teams can check off, record meter readings, and make notes, from wherever they are on a hotel’s property.

Checklists help teams adapt to new SOPs

It’s no surprise that COVID-19 has changed the way we do things in businesses around the world. The hospitality industry is not immune to these changes, and while some may be temporary (checking temperatures at the front door), it is likely that many of the changes, especially those related to cleanliness, will be long term.

Hotel Housekeeping departments benefit greatly from checklists. The frequency of cleanings and sanitization throughout hotels has dramatically increased since the onset of COVID-19. Following local, state or federal guidelines can be a challenge for hotel employees and hotel management if new regulations or suggestions for best practices vary greatly from pre-existing procedures.

With the need for enhanced disinfection, a housekeeping checklist now includes tasks for cleaning as well as tasks for disinfecting. When you’re using a checklist detailing every single item in a room that needs to be sanitized, there is much less of a chance that items will be missed.

Checklists support lean teams

The hotel industry has been hit particularly hard by COVID-19, and many hotel employees have lost their jobs as a result. With fewer business and leisure travelers, hotels have been operating with low occupancy, and lean teams, for the most of 2020.

Staffing appropriately has been a challenge for hotels as occupancy has fluctuated greatly over the past eight months. Operating with leans teams inevitably means that employees are wearing multiple hats. We’ve heard stories of hotel general managers who are room attendants for the day, and front desk agents who are also room attendants, and maintenance.

Some hotels have also faced challenges rehiring staff. Employees who are new to a hotel department, or new to a hotel will need reminders for standing operating procedures. Checklists can also service as a training tool for new employees.

With lean teams, it’s hard to chase down employees to ask them if they’ve completed a task. Checklists provide accountability and documentation. Employees in other departments can confidently review a pre-arrival checklist and confidently tell guests, “Yes, your room was cleaned and sanitized yesterday, I see that it was checked off and signed by a member of our housekeeping team.”

Tips for making a good checklist

  • Create clear tasks
  • Include only one task for each checkbox
  • Group “like” tasks together
  • Group tasks in the same area together
  • Include space for users to include note

It’s harder for things to slip through the cracks with checklists

Hoteliers know that every day is full of surprises. Checklists help hoteliers track details and act as reminders to minimize failure. Checklists are easy to implement, encourage success, and are readily available for hoteliers.

At a time when customer satisfaction is paramount, hotels can’t afford to have details slip through the cracks. Checklists help teams enhance operational efficiency, and make sure that no details are lost or checklist items overlooked.

Did we mention that we also celebrate International Housekeepers Week every September? Housekeepers are the lifeblood of a hotel. Without them, hotels might not exist. And what is the best tool they could have? Hotel housekeeping software. Check out our infographic on why hotel housekeeping software is essential.

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