In the midst of increasing competition for tourism dollars due to the economic recession, this large hotel chain was forced to start looking at other alternatives to continue to generate similar levels of profitability as it had enjoyed in years past. In particular, with declining guest volumes compared to past years, they could no longer rely on past staffing patterns at the risk of grossly under-utilizing staff in several support areas: Housekeeping, Environmental Services, Engineering, Landscaping and Transportation. However, any staff reductions would need to be done intelligently in such a way to not affect the guest experience.
The project exceeded expectations in delivering a ROI of 4.2 to 1 compared with an original requirement of 2.9 to 1. Some of the key process changes put in place to achieve the results included:
- Reducing staffing levels by zoning Attendants based on daily volume of guests in public spaces
- Reducing non value-added time for Attendants through improvement of material storage and distribution
- Reducing work order backlog by redesigning the dispatching process from piecemeal to daily batch assignments
- Maximizing productivity by redeploying administrative tasks to less skilled positions
- Reducing staffing levels by developing a more flexible, cross-trained pool of employees to eliminate dependence on skill-specific labor
- Reducing the practice of outsourcing by creating and maintaining standards for car cleanliness and realigning driver staffing levels to maximize use of the in-house fleet
- Improving productivity by utilizing drivers for airport greets during low-volume hours
- Improving productivity by adjusting task frequency and rebalancing workload between shifts
- Reducing Manager rework by standardizing administrative responsibilities and eliminating non value-added activities
- Improving room cleanliness levels by developing a calibrated quality inspection team
- Maximizing guestroom Attendant productivity by limiting non value-added time associated with do not disturb or refused service rooms
Several of the above changes tied to productivity were made possible through the implementation of a framework for measuring and forecasting foot traffic through the hotel, transportation runs and housekeeping guest requests.
The project also saw a very high level of engagement from the client team participating in all facets of the project. This was a key contributor to the sustainability of the results and was a key benefit expressed by the Executive sponsor when he remarked:
“The changes that I’ve seen in our leadership’s understanding of their departmental performance have been invaluable. The improvements associated with the new planning tools, their ability to show Managers that each day is different and consequently requires different resources, have provided my leaders with a methodology to ensure that high levels of service are provided without the excess cost.”