COMMON MAINTENANCE PROBLEMS
Quality assurance experts share their expertise.
Interviews by Stephanie Mayhew

ALB asked quality assurance experts about some of the most common maintenance issues they see and how to fix them.

• Bob Shackleford, vice president of quality assurance for US Franchise Systems, Inc. (USFS)
• Mike Smith, quality assurance consultant for GuestHouse International Inns, Hotels & Suites (GuestHouse)
• Russell Lane, project engineer for AmericInn International, LLC (AmericInn)
• Stephen Arnold, Sr., director of quality assurance for Hilton Hotels Corp. (Hilton)
• Jeff Palla, director of franchise services for La Quinta Corporation (La Quinta)
• Lee M. Thompson, construction manager for Accor North America (Accor)

ALB: What is the most common maintenance problem you see in mid-scale
hotels and what is your advice on how to fix it?

USFS: Hoteliers not consistently administering a quarterly preventative maintenance program. A hotelier should create and administer a quarterly preventive maintenance program for all exterior and interior areas of the hotel. Document all completed work and keep in a central filing system for easy access when needed. Have a daily maintenance request program that uses maintenance request slips that can be filled out by hotel personnel and directed to the maintenance department for immediate response and proper record keeping. Make sure that all maintenance procedures are clearly documented to ensure proper administration of the procedures you have put in place. It often helps if the maintenance program is administered by a designated maintenance person. It can be the difference between extending the life of most of your FF&Es versus the more costly alternative of replacing these items year after year. And last of all and maybe the most important — keep track of all warranty information.

GuestHouse: Problems with individual guestroom HVAC units. Constant preventative maintenance is the most important thing hoteliers can do. Preventive maintenance for HVAC units should include routinely cleaning the filters a minimum of once a month, annually removing the units from the guestrooms and performing a thorough cleaning of the coils with a special coil cleaner and checking the wire connections for damage. GuestHouse feels that showing properties the most efficient and cost effective ways to properly clean and maintain their properties provides many benefits, including guest satisfaction, reduced labor costs and protection of their financial investment. GuestHouse feels so strongly about this that they conduct on-site housekeeping and maintenance training at no charge to their franchisees.

AmericInn: The PTAC drain lines of the pool air handler become clogged and cause water to run back into the rooms. Establish a quarterly maintenance contract with a reputable contractor to maintain all major equipment. In addition, the PTAC equipment should have the filters changed often in humid conditions and during periods of the year when higher air contamination occurs, such as spring when the pollen is heavy and fall when tree leaves are falling. In addition, the speed of the electrical equipment should be verified, to ensure that it is running at the proper speed.

Hilton: Improper maintenance and care of PTAC units. To ensure the proper care, make sure to train your staff on how to maintain and care for the units, regularly replace the filters and set-up a monthly cleaning schedule to keep drains and pans clean and free of corrosion and debris.

LaQuinta: Bathroom maintenance issues, such as slow or clogged drains and dirty and mildewed tile, grout and caulking. I also see a lot of problems with AC units. At La Quinta we have several preventive maintenance programs that are a proactive approach to resolving maintenance issues. Our most comprehensive preventative maintenance program is the 50/50 program.

Through this program, the maintenance team would review at a minimum of once per quarter 50 projects in 50 weeks and perform, if needed, a “quick fix.” The “quick fix” is a checklist of items reviewed in each area of the hotel. Other preventive maintenance programs include the “zip it” program for keeping drains free of clogs and a preventive maintenance program for continual AC maintenance and cleaning procedures.

Accor: Poor air quality in guestrooms. Regularly scheduled maintenance of HVAC units and accessories help keeps rooms from becoming musty. Also, regular maintenance of the bathroom is important. Check bath caulking routinely, keep the bathroom freshly painted, and perform regular maintenance on the exhaust fans. ALB


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