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Case Study Report on Hotel Operations

Vinh Q. Nguyen – La Trobe University


Table of Contents

Section Page

Executive Summary ……………………………………………………………… 2

1. Introduction ……………………………………………………………………. 3
1.1. Objectives …………………………………………………………………….. 3
1.2. Scopes ………………………………………………………………………… 3
1.3. Acknowledgements …………………………………………………………... 3
1.4. Assumptions …………………………………………………………………. 3
1.5. Background …………………………………………………………………... 4

2. Housekeeping …………………………………………………………………. 4
2.1. Room cleaning ………………………………………………………………. 4

3. Laundry Service and Inventory ……………………………………………… 5


3.1. Laundry quality control ……………………………………………………… 5
3.2. Laundry Inventory control …………………………………………………… 6

4. Maintenance ………………………………………………………………….. 7
4.1. Furniture care and maintenance ……………………………………………… 7

5. Fire Equipment and Fire Procedures ……………………………………… 8


5.1. Fire equipment ……………………………………………………………… 8
5.2. Fire drills and procedures …………………………………………………… 9

6. Conclusion …………………………………………………………………… 11

7. Appendix 1: Rydges Room Cleanliness Rating Card ……………………… 12

8. Appendix 2: Hotel Product Usage Report …………………………………. 13

9. Appendix 3: Correct Use of Fire Equipment ……………………………… 14

10. References …………………………………………………………………. 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.
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Vinh Q. Nguyen – La Trobe University


7. Appendix 1
Rydges Room Cleanliness Rating Card

8. Appendix 2:

HOTEL PRODUCT USAGE REPORT

Department: Housekeeping Item: King-size Sheets


Prepared By: Date:
For Period: to

Count on: January 1 850 units

Plus

Purchased in month 144 units


Total in service 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