Case Study Report on Hotel Operations | Fire Safety | Housekeeping

Case Study Report on Hotel Operations

Vinh Q. Nguyen – La Trobe University

Table of Contents
Section Executive Summary ……………………………………………………………… 1. Introduction ……………………………………………………………………. 1.1. Objectives …………………………………………………………………….. 1.2. Scopes ………………………………………………………………………… 1.3. Acknowledgements …………………………………………………………... 1.4. Assumptions …………………………………………………………………. 1.5. Background …………………………………………………………………... 2. Housekeeping …………………………………………………………………. 2.1. Room cleaning ………………………………………………………………. 3. Laundry Service and Inventory ……………………………………………… 3.1. Laundry quality control ……………………………………………………… 3.2. Laundry Inventory control …………………………………………………… 4. Maintenance ………………………………………………………………….. 4.1. Furniture care and maintenance ……………………………………………… 5. Fire Equipment and Fire Procedures ……………………………………… 5.1. Fire equipment ……………………………………………………………… 5.2. Fire drills and procedures …………………………………………………… 6. Conclusion …………………………………………………………………… Page 2 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 5 5 6 7 7 8 8 9 11

7. Appendix 1: Rydges Room Cleanliness Rating Card ……………………… 12 8. Appendix 2: Hotel Product Usage Report …………………………………. 9. Appendix 3: Correct Use of Fire Equipment ……………………………… 10. References …………………………………………………………………. 13 14 15

Vinh Q. Nguyen – La Trobe University

Executive Summary This report provides an analysis and evaluation of some areas of the operations within the hospitality industry, using Rydges on Bell as a case study. Problems that are inevitably faced by accommodation businesses are discussed, as well as viable suggestions on how these can be effectively dealt with. The areas focussed on are guest room cleaning, laundry quality and laundry inventory in the house keeping sector. Furthermore, other areas such as interior furniture maintenance, fire procedures of the facility care and emergency maintenance sections have also been observed and evaluated. The report finds the current position of Rydges on Bell as stable and reasonably operative in terms of adherence to standard procedures in housekeeping, maintenance. However, there are several areas that require further consideration and corrective action by management. The report investigates the current operations and existing practices at the hotel. Consequently, some problems have been identified and addressed suggestively. Thus, recommendations are made accordingly. Recommendations discussed, include:  Guest rooms should be completely cleaned. Critical areas are window corners, toilet curtains, drink spills on refrigerator doors.  Laundry quality should be better controlled to claim causes of damage, defects from delivery.  Concise records should be made by housekeepers on every incident and damaged item in guest rooms, including damage of surfaces.   More efficient accounts of laundry inventory. Portable fire extinguishers would benefit the hotel if they were to be placed between guest rooms along corridors, as well as in the elevator.  Maintenance is required to complete thorough inspections of the safety aspect of the hotel and act on their findings immediately. The absence of a fire blanket in the wall bag showed the fact of negligence by the maintenance staff.
Vinh Q. Nguyen – La Trobe University

1. Introduction 1.1. Objectives: The aim of this report is to analyse some areas in the operations of accommodation industry. For better performance and improvement, the identified problems will be addressed and analysed in a manner of contributive suggestions and solutions. The students’ pair, Vinh Nguyen and Kym Feore have practically worked at the hotel, and have subsequently conducted individual observations, debriefed with the executive housekeeper over the concerned areas. The students are in an effort to address the issues confidently in view of effective management in the industry. 1.2. Scope: This report will discuss on the frequent problems and issues within the hotel. Thus, guest room cleaning, laundry quality and laundry inventory control in the house keeping section have been observed and will be analysed in thorough discussion. In addition, other areas such as interior furniture care & maintenance and fire equipment; fire procedures and prevention of the facility engineering and emergency maintenance sections have been looked at and evaluated. 1.3. Acknowledgements: In order to complete this academic report, the pair students have debriefed with the executive housekeeping manager of the hotel for an insight of current and existing procedures and practices. Library materials, academic journals, websites and facts have been resorted to strongly back up the ideas, suggestions. The students appreciated advice from the executive housekeeper and front office staff, as well as the valuable insight of the hospitality operations provided by the housekeeping staff. 1.4. Assumptions: It is assumed that this report serves the purpose to provide suggestions to potentially improve management practices and that the information resources are relevant to the components of the report. However, this report, within its work frame limitations may not cover other areas which are also related and worth discussing. It only focuses on the said
Vinh Q. Nguyen – La Trobe University

core aspects and that complete details of evaluation may not be thoroughly elaborated in a more professional way due to time allocation of such a report. 1.5. Background: Rydges on Bell Preston Melbourne, rated the four star hotel establishment which is “the beautifully resort styled landscape garden” (Rydges on Bell Preston website, 2007) has been used as the case study in this report. Initiated solutions have been based on and viewed from existing issues in the said hotel.

Jones (2005), states that a hotel’s success is a departmental contribution of the sales and marketing, the front office, human resources and the management. There are other departments such as the housekeeping, facility engineering and emergency maintenance where their significant work from the backyard transports a huge part of commitment to the success of the lodging establishment. Without doubt, effective management in these sections can result in complete satisfaction to guests.

2. Housekeeping 2.1. Room cleaning: “Hotel industry surveys consistently confirm the fact that the role of the housekeeping is most important, from the point of view of the hotel’s guests.” (Hayes & Ninemeier, 2007, p.312). The authors support the view that “the responsibility of the housekeeping is to provide that clean room” (Hayes & Ninemeier, 2007, p.312). In all circumstances, therefore, the housekeeper must check in every corner, angle of the guest room, from the room floor, underneath beds and tables, T.V shelf, and the bathroom to ensure that there is no dust or stains and rooms are of complete hygiene. It is ideal that Rydges Hotel runs a good practice of distributing a room cleanliness rating card (refer to appendix 1 for Rydges Hotel room cleanliness rating card) to guest rooms in purpose for rating the room cleanliness. By doing this, the housekeeping staff receives feedback from the guests’ point

Vinh Q. Nguyen – La Trobe University

of view and they know how well the rooms have been serviced. Complaints from guests, if any will help improve better service. The fact at Rydges shows that all guests rated their serviced rooms at 5 marks – excellent grade, within the week commencing Monday, 8th October, 2007 (facts were heard during the 10:00 am briefing by Executive Housekeeping Manager). This indicates the excellent work done by the housekeeping staff. Apparently, “guest room cleaning is a very important job because guests look for a clean and pleasant environment” (Pappa, Nischke & Schappert, 1995, p.26). However, there are some issues worth noting in housekeeping at the Rydges Hotel. It has been seen that glass windows at both wall sides where curtains cover over are not well dusted and cleaned. Housekeepers usually use a feather hand broom to quickly dust only the glass of middle windows, not with a cloth, dampened with glass cleaner as required. The windows are left un-cleaned in both corner sides, covered with the curtains where dust settles for a long time. Also, the toilet plastic curtain needs more care for cleanliness. Besides, the refrigerator often has drink spills in edges and over door surface to clean as necessary. These issues are often overlooked, most probably due to temptation to finish early as staff are allowed to leave when their allocated rooms are finished being serviced. It is critical that the supervisor on duty should inspect these areas such as windows, bed headboard top rail, and table & nightstand drawers, under beds, floor tile edges in toilet, even though it is the housekeepers’ duty to have these areas spotless.

3. Laundry service and Inventory 3.1. Laundry quality control: Hotel managers confide to the author, Jones that “choosing to outsource in commercial laundry service has advantages for two reasons, convenience and real estate costs” (2005, p.353). On the other hand, “the hotel does not want to take the responsibility of having yet another large department in their organization” (Jones, 2005, p.355). However, this has certain disadvantages in controlling the laundry quality.

Vinh Q. Nguyen – La Trobe University

The fact is that Rydges Hotel does not have an in-house laundry. All laundry is outsourced to a service company who picks up dirty sheets, towels etcetera, and delivers clean linens everyday. It has been evaluated as a considerably good operation. However, the point is that checking laundry quality of every delivery is an issue. The hotel staff can not possibly take their time checking every item. Consequently, quality of laundry when delivered may not be satisfactory or a random check of a few items, if any, will not make a difference as damaged or defected items are in between a large quantity of laundered items. Defects may occur to these items during the cleaning process or transport by the side of the service company, which is out of the hotel’s control. Problems are only found when room attendants make use of the items when it is too late to claim as to how, by whom and when the damage or defects have been caused. During 3-day work experience, such incidents happened that when the housekeeper put on the bed sheets and blankets it was found that they had holes and were mechanically stained though the items still looked relatively new. These damaged sheets and blankets with holes can of course, not be fixed and are costly to replace. This is a frequent problem that occurs during room servicing. It is suggested that quality control be implemented, such that the items are inspected upon delivery and records are made by the housekeeper on every incident. Damaged items should be isolated in a separate bag and reported to the staff in charge for controlling purposes. 3.2. Laundry inventory: Controlling software items (bedspreads, valances and so on) is an important job (Jones, 2005) as inefficient supervision can result in unnecessary costs. Loss and damage as mentioned above must be recorded immediately so the staff in charge can easily trace the causes. This relates not only to the costs and expenses of purchasing items against revenues but also to balance availability for use. Jones, 2005, p.263 states that “use, balances, supply levels are critical control information that must be routinely maintained to ensure availability of materials when needed”. Thus, it seems that the controlling system at the hotel is not functioning quite well at an optimal level. Some cases of damaged items were not reported or housekeepers simply discarded bath towels and other damaged or dirty
Vinh Q. Nguyen – La Trobe University

items beyond repair in rubbish bags for disposal. Have records on damage, loss been done effectively? Are the staff checking item inventories properly? And what is frequency basis of the controlling system for checking inventories? It is known that the hotel has inventory control system in place but needs to be executed in a different manner for better performance. Management should look into this issue as the establishment can experience big expenses against its revenues in a long term. Hayes & Ninemeier, 2007 recommend a systematic tool for proper inventory control, called “a product usage report “ (a report detailing the amount of an inventoried item used by a hotel in a specified time period, i.e. week, month, quarter, year) – refer to appendix 2. 4. Maintenance Facility maintenance is a huge department which is responsible for maintaining exterior and interior facilities of the hotel (Hayes and Ninemeier, 2007). In this report, the interior furniture maintenance will be addressed. As the part of the hotel’s style, according to Jones and Lockwood, 2006, interior furniture such as beds, tables, chairs, cabinets will have a significant impact on the guests’ perceptions and enjoyment of that stay. Therefore, to keep and maintain the beautiful and costly furniture with its standard finishing and design is a critical job. 4.1. Furniture care and maintenance: Beautiful furniture to match with room design and decoration costs the hotel a large amount of expenses (Jones, 2005) but enhances the hotel’s elegance. When guests enter their room, it is usually the first impression that forms the basis of their judgment for that hotel. It is without a doubt that the role of housekeepers is essential in caring for the interior furniture properly. Preventive maintenance is essential and care guidelines or instructions on wooden items; glass ware; fabric & leather upholstered items should be strictly practiced otherwise negligence by housekeepers will shorten life expectancy of the finishing or the whole furniture. It is guided that “laminated tops are an essential element of most institutional furniture. Spilled drinks and beverage rings would quickly mar the finish and stain ordinary wood furniture.” (Jones, 2005, p.75). When vacuuming the floor, cleaners may damage edges of bed side rails, footboard bottom rail, table bottom stretcher, chair legs. Chemicals
Vinh Q. Nguyen – La Trobe University

for cleaning should not be placed on top surfaces of furniture as spills may happen. The type of materials used to clean the furniture should also be strictly adhered to. A clean, soft cloth is recommended for surfaces; however it was observed that dirty cloths were used. In event of damage to the finishing, or construction of the furniture due to any circumstances, housekeepers should report to the maintenance staff for immediate actions. The fact at Rydges Hotel shows maintaining the furniture is not well done. There are some furniture such as tables, chairs in guest rooms 6032, 6033, which are badly scratched on table top, edges, legs, leaving an unsightly look and need to be re-polished. This is due to the dark veneer used on light wood that chips away easily. However, this situation has been unsolved for a long time and no actions have been taken. It should be remembered that it is important to continuously maintain the interior furniture in order to keep its quality as much as of original standard. It may cause a negative impact on the guests, thinking that they are paying for the 4 star room rate but interior facilities are not worth such quality standard. 5. Fire equipment and fire procedures Evidently speaking, fires in lodging and residential estates are a human-caused disaster. It is difficult to estimate the cost of loss in terms of human lives and properties as a result of such disaster. Facts show that fires in 1980 destroyed the MGM Grand hotel, a 26-storey hotel in Las Vegas and 84 people were killed; 26 were killed at Stouffer’s Inn in White Plains, New York; and 8 were killed at The Las Vegas Hilton (Jones, 2005, p.348). Accommodation establishments must be vigilant in sustaining fire procedures and prevention. It is, by law, the responsibility of the organization to correctly implement fire procedures in order to eliminate and control fire hazards to create safety, security to guests and staff in their establishment. 5.1. Fire equipment: According to Kansas Buildings Fire Safety Handbook (2006), the following fire equipment must be installed in place in high rise buildings by legislative requirements: emergency lighting system, automatic fire alarm system, electric fire pump, central control station equipment and lighting, complete automatic sprinklers, smoke proof enclosures, room
Vinh Q. Nguyen – La Trobe University

smoke detector, fire hose reel, standpipe for fire department use, exit signs, and importantly external escape stairs. Access to fire equipment stations must be kept clear and available at all times. For example, housekeeping trolleys, other materials must not hinder the access to fire hose reels or exits. One particular fire hazard observed at Rydges, was the practice of leaving many linen and rubbish bags in the hall in front of the lift. These bags obstruct the one of the wings and often block the door to the stair case as they wait for removal. A less hazardous and more effective way of removing the linen and rubbish bags needs to be implemented. Once the fire equipment have been fully installed, it must be a strict practice that maintenance staff should conduct inspections of the equipment on a regular basis to ensure that all is in working condition, if anything is found not working properly or out of order, make sure it must be fixed or replaced immediately. Attention should be paid to dry chemical fire extinguishers for expiry date, and that fire alarms work well. In summary, a complete checklist of fire equipment must be inspected and controlled by the maintenance department (Kansas Buildings Fire Safety Handbook, 2006). It is no use if equipment is there in place but is not functioning when needed. As a result, a regular audit on fire equipment needs to be done in order to take corrective actions if necessary. For instance, Rydges Hotel has installed adequate fire systems, is well-equipped with the required tools and equipment as per legislative requirements. In view of better fire prevention, Rydges Hotel still encounters some outstanding problems and the suggestions are put forward in the later part 5.2 of this report.

5.2. Fire drills and procedures: Fire safety information and emergency instructions, emergency contact numbers must be provided to guest rooms. Floor diagram and assembly exits must be clearly guided. Observations have proved that all floor guest rooms of Rydges Hotel operate well in this regard. Aside from the fire equipment, fire drills and procedures must be implemented correctly. It must be a procedure that fire drills for all staff are conducted in the organization at least once every quarter (NSW Emergency Fire Procedures, 1981) in which

Vinh Q. Nguyen – La Trobe University

guest evacuation, fire fighting and essentially a regular fire rehearsal are trained and practiced in such a way that they manoeuver it so well as in a real situation. The trained staff is responsible for guiding and evacuating guests to exit locations. Jones, 2005, p.348 insists that “training employees and drilling them in various situations is a most effective tool to reduce the possibility of panic in a fire situation”. In addition, it is important to instruct the staff about appropriate use of fire extinguishers to types of fires as a hazard or a danger may be caused if misuse occurs (see appendix 3 for correct use of fire extinguishers). Obviously, the importance of fire drills for staff is of no doubt. It has been experienced that panic may cause injury and damages more serious than that caused by the fire (NSW Emergency Fire Procedures, 1981). It is also emphasized that “fire prevention is the best form of fire protection. Fire prevention is largely common sense and is the best guarantee against fires.” (NSW Emergency Fire Procedures, 1981). Effectively, at Rydges on Bell Preston, all staff has been trained in fire drills. The fact tells that a fire in the 2nd floor student kitchen happened recently in a late afternoon of September, 2007. The staff and fire fighting team successfully evacuated all the guests out to safety and that they were able to control and put out the fire. It has proved that their reactions were favorable in an emergency situation. However, for better fire prevention, the following suggestions should be considered by Rydges Hotel’s management:   Portable fire extinguishers in between guest rooms along corridors need to be installed on walls. A fire extinguisher should also be placed in the elevator for emergency situations for quick acting on the spot. The reason is that Rydges Hotel has only two fire hose reels on each floor which are stationed at the west wing rear and the other at the north wing front. The other two wings have none on site. These are intended for trained staff use only. Also, it may take a longer time to reach affected areas while portable fire extinguishers, if available can be used to act immediately within hand reach in event of small fires. Furthermore, it was found that all

Vinh Q. Nguyen – La Trobe University

floors had fire blankets in place in kitchens; however the fifth floor kitchen had an empty bag without a fire blanket inside. When this was mentioned to management, it was confessed that they were aware of this and that the maintenance staff had not replaced it. It is noted that kitchens are the most common places where fires occur.

6. Conclusion: The commonly encountered problems in some areas of the housekeeping, facility and emergency maintenance of the lodging industry have been addressed above and reasonable suggestions have been discussed. It is stressed that management should take corrective measures to continually maintain and keep good practices running at an optimal standard in their organization in order to minimize and control the problems. The final goal of such strategic management is to run the organization in smooth operations to better provide excellent service to guests and to bring in high revenues and establish a good reputation. It has been known that successful organizations result from managing and implementing efficient business practices. Thus, the best management knows how to manage and control the problems at minimum impact. ----------------------------- < * > ------------------------Word count: 2997

Vinh Q. Nguyen – La Trobe University

7. Appendix 1 Rydges Room Cleanliness Rating Card

8. Appendix 2:

HOTEL PRODUCT USAGE REPORT

Department: Prepared By: For Period:

Housekeeping

Item: Date: to

King-size Sheets

Count on:

January 1

850 units

Plus

Purchased in month Total in service

144 units 994 units

Less

Count on:

February, 1

877 units

Total Monthly Usage

117

Source: Figure 9.2, Hayes & Ninemeier, 2004, p.329

Vinh Q. Nguyen – La Trobe University

10. References:

Jones, T. 2005, Professional Management of Housekeeping Operations, 4th edn, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. New Jersey.

Kappa, M.M, Nitsche, A & Schappert, P.B. 1995, Managing House Keeping Operations, Educational Institute of the American Hotel & Motel Association, U.S.A. Hayes, D.; Ninemeier, J. 2007, Hotel Operations Management, 2nd edn, Prentice Hall, New Jersey 07458

Jones, P.; Lockwood A. 2006, The Management of Hotel Operations, Thompson Learning, U.K Dormitory & Hotel/Motel Inspections Checklist – 06D, Kansa Buildings Fire Safety Handbook, 2006, 3rd Edition,

New South Wales Hospitals Planning Advisory Centre, Sydney Australia, July 1981 Emergency Fire Procedures, National Library of Australia

Rydges

on

Bell

Preston

Melbourne

(2007)

[online].

Available

website:

www.rydges.com.au. [Accessed: 14th October, 2007]

Vinh Q. Nguyen – La Trobe University

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