Use Checklists to Ensure a Hotel Runs Seamlessly Amid Staff Shortages

Hotel staff complete many tasks and processes every day. And the key to delivering a comfortable stay and excellent guest services depends on all employees following through with each step and finishing each job to the hotel’s standards. But what happens when the person who regularly completes a job isn’t available? Or when tasks come up that only need to be done occasionally or very rarely?

The answer is: checklists. By having hotel operation checklists for common procedures ready to go, staff can make sure the hotel is ready for the next guest in the most efficient manner possible. During the pandemic, the ALICE team was hard at work developing ALICE Checklists to help hotel managers efficiently handle the on-the-spot changes and challenges that the hospitality industry faces.

But checklists aren’t just for pandemics. Checklists should be the cornerstone of all hotel operations. ALICE Checklists are available exclusively to all users of ALICE products. Here are 10 checklists that can help encourage positive guest reviews and loyalty:

Disinfection Checklists

Over the past two years, hotels added disinfecting to their regular cleaning processes. Because many guests select hotels based on the COVID-19 procedures they follow, it’s essential that employees complete all the steps in this crucial disinfection process. Front desk staff can even show guests the checklist to give them peace of mind. 

Disinfecting or sanitizing is different from cleaning, and these checklists are designed to augment existing cleaning processes. Because COVID-19 protocols are always evolving, using ALICE COVID-19 hotel operations checklists ensures staff is following the most up-to-date guidance. Hotels must fully educate each team member, as well as follow well-documented and detailed guidelines. Therefore, disinfection checklists should consider everything from team training of what to do if a guest falls ill to where to put hand sanitizer stations. Three examples of ALICE hotel disinfection checklists include:

Disinfecting Guest Rooms

Cleaning a hotel guest room is even more important than ever, as it’s critical that each time a room is turned over to a new guest it has been cleaned and disinfected properly. Room attendants must be fully protected before entering a room, and they must also have the hotel supplies they need to thoroughly complete the cleaning the first time. Each time they leave and re-enter, they add new risk of exposure. This checklist ensures rooms are disinfected properly and staff uses proper protection.

Disinfecting Guest Areas and Welcome Areas

While disinfecting a lobby may look very similar to the process of disinfecting a guest room, these tasks are completed more frequently, as more guests and staff are constantly moving in and out of the area. This checklist provides a list of all items in the lobby that need attention at 30-minute intervals (or at another predetermined interval). High-traffic areas include but are not limited to elevators, fitness centers, and vending and ice machines.

Disinfecting the Back of the House (Hourly and After Each Shift)

In addition to protecting guests, staff need to be kept safe and healthy. Staff common areas must be regularly disinfected – such as breakrooms, lunchrooms, shared lockers and other communal spaces. Without proper checklists for Back of the House disinfection, the possibility of staff transmission is increased – which means a temporary hotel closure is more likely.

Guest Room Checklists

While many components of the hotel are important (guest services, amenities, location, etc.), at the end of the day, having clean, functional and aesthetically pleasing rooms for guests fulfills the hotel’s core function. While many hotels used this process more frequently during the pandemic due to changing occupancy guidelines, the process of taking rooms out of service and bringing them back into service occurred before the pandemic and will continue long after it is over.

Taking a Room Out of Service

If a room will be out of service for a few weeks or more, it needs to be removed from the hotel’s room inventory completely — in a semi-permanent way. Consider everything from removing linens to altering the room status with the hotel’s online travel agent and online reservation services. Other considerations include shutting down the water, general room checks and unplugging unneeded electrical items.

Returning a Room to Service

Between taking a room out of service and bringing it back again, any number of scenarios may occur, including staffing changes or permanent changes within the hotel. Bring a room back into service without missing a step by following a room inspection checklist that addresses everything from replacing batteries in door locks to confirming that content on the television is accessible.

General Property Checklists.

While we all hope we won’t have to shut down operations again, as we did during the pandemic, some hotels operate seasonally and others periodically close their doors temporarily for renovations. By using the general property checklists, hotel managers can ensure that no steps are missed.

Closed Maintenance Check (Weekly and Monthly)

When using a light caretaker or caretaker crew, this checklist guides staff through regular maintenance checks. While these tasks can be completed more frequently, we recommend a weekly routine. Closed maintenance checks include checking rooms and guest areas for water damage or leaks, and checking essential equipment such as emergency lighting and water pumps.

Financial Checks (Temporary Closure and Reopening)

Hotels operate with the help of many third-party vendors and services. Communication with each of them about the status of the property, as well as requests to pause billing or return to service, is important to maintaining smooth transitions as the status of the hotel changes.

Setting up the hotel’s office to handle related inquiries is important as well. This checklist provides a list of steps for hotels to take internally, including setting out of office emails and voicemails, and has a list of service providers to contact.

Turn Operational Expenses Back On

If third-party services have been paused, bringing them back online will be essential before reopening. This checklist outlines a process to ‘return to service’ or ‘extend suspended service’ for monthly recurring operating expenses (i.e. SaaS or ASP) partners that bill on a per room basis. 

Return Areas of a Hotel to Service

Some hotels open floors, wings or buildings one at a time, instead of reopening all areas at once, such as during a remodel. Make sure each area has a checklist so uniform procedures are carried out within each area, regardless of when they open.

Return Areas of a Hotel to Service

When reopening, it’s great to have a second eye on the property making sure everything is good to go from a guest perspective. If the hotel is having a soft opening, ask guests or industry partners to fill out a checklist to assess everything from whether staff members greeted them, to ensuring that guest room clocks are set to the right time.

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