Optimizing Service in a High Turnover Market
Mid-Sized City Property
Striking the right balance between guest experience and profitability is a primary focus for many of our clients and their competitors. Conventional wisdom in hospitality circles suggests that one tried-and-tested way for an organization to increase its guest-scores is to make a corresponding investment in its people and product. But what if that is not always true? What if increasing investment has a flat or negative effect on service levels?
One of our clients – a 4-star hotel in the mid-South – brought Carpedia Hospitality in to help with just such a problem. Increasingly high turnover and the need for temp labor was universal in our client’s labor market. The high churn constantly produced a large pool of new employees with less than desirable guest-scores. The productivity losses associated with the constant learning curve – coupled with the high wages paid to temp employees – also meant our client was effectively making a premium investment in its personnel but was paradoxically eroding the guest experience at the same time.
Since the very nature of the labor market wasn’t going to change in the short-term, the focus became how to mitigate the effect of high turnover. The strategy was three-pronged and involved shortening the onboarding process, maximizing output from existing full-time employees and better equipping managers with planning and execution tools. It ultimately spanned operations in Housekeeping, Laundry, Guest Services, Food & Beverage and Engineering.
To fully appreciate the size and scope of our strategic improvements, extensive data analysis was coupled with over 145 hours of field study. Some of the changes installed included:
- Streamlined guestroom cleaning to reduce average cleaning time by over 5 minutes/room
- Standardized Room Attendant training program to shorten the onboarding process
- Realigned Houseperson duties to increase their available time for guest-related activities by 16%
- Redesigned the Laundry process to increase throughput by 15% using only existing resources
- Adjusted Server-to-Guest ratios based on actual event requirements in order to maximize output from seasoned staff-members
- Standardized equipment storage and transportation to reduce travel during event maintenance and breakdown by 19%
- Increased forecast accuracy to 97% for Food & Beverage Managers to staff more effectively according to volume
By installing and standardizing new operational processes throughout the hotel, the program provided more structure to both the onboarding stage and ongoing development of our client’s team-members. Through fixing current process breakdowns, the client was able to maximize the time and effort of their existing top-performers. Lastly, by augmenting the current management operating system, the program not only provided the tools managers needed to plan and execute work more effectively, but also the reporting structure to help root-cause variances to productivity and guest-score targets. There was ultimately both an 11% productivity and a 4% guest satisfaction improvement, effectively restoring the desired balance between profitability and guest experience for our client.