. . . an independent consulting firm specializing in hotel management, feasibility analysis studies, site development and 
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A Clean Hotel Will Lead to More Business 
"What is the Curb Appeal  to your potential Guest?"
"If 1995 and 1996 have been so good in the hotel industry, why can't I get more rooms sold?" We hear this question every day when managers and owners get together. Possibly they are only looking at the rooms occupied and not at the vacant rooms, or why they are vacant. 

Each month high occupancies are reported in all regions of the United States and in all hotel segments. Now is the time for you to maximize your occupancy by filling these vacant rooms without spending additional money. 

Target Marketing, Yield Management, and Use of Franchise Marketing Programs are all subjects that must be addressed to top off at 100% each day. But none of these strategies will work effectively if the hotel is not clean and does not have good services. 

Through the Guests' Eyes 

Stop and look at your hotel through your guests' eyes. Is the hotel clean, and do you provide good services? Are the billboards painted and are all the lights working? The same goes for the property signage. That may be highway or city land at your entrance and their road crews will clean it up once or twice a year, but it is your entrance, your image of your hotel. Mow the grass, edge the sidewalks, pick up the daily trash. 

Is the parking lot clean? Is it restriped once a year and are pot holes filled? An unkempt exterior means dirty rooms to a customer. What is your curb appeal to your potential guest? Are the light fixtures at the front door filled with dead bugs? Is the entrance door handle worn out and are the windows filled with credit card decals? Every hotel accepts credit cards; why advertise for them? You don't see the decals on Hilton and Marriott doors. 

Is the lobby warm and inviting? Remember, this is where you welcome guests into your hotel. Use sofas, easy chairs, and table lamps (warm white fluorescent light bulbs instead of cool white for a softer glow). 

Is the front desk uncluttered, with only the hotel logo or an appropriate picture on the back wall of the desk? Only four signs should be posted, and all tastefully done. 

1. Ownership License Agreement.
2. Manager on Duty.
3. Checkout time.
4. Credit cards accepted.
Don't Tell the Guest "NO" 

An owner will spend thousands of dollars in franchise fees, marketing, and advertising, and will furnish great rooms--all to have the guest come to his hotel so that he can tell the guest "NO." 

NO CHECKS ACCEPTED. Why? Use Telecheck Inc. (800/835-3243). It costs you the same as a credit card, uses the same verification machine, and not all guests use a credit card. 

NO PETS. Why? You have rooms designated for guests who smoke; why not two or three rooms for guests with small pets? Thousands of AARP members have pets with them when they travel. You solicit AARP business--keep it all. 

NO FREE LOCAL CALLS. Why? If you want commercial business guests, then make it cost effective to them. It normally costs you nothing to give free local and 800/888 access calls. 

The Clean Room 

Every guest expects a clean room. In fact, it is a hotel owner's requirement by state law to provide a clean room. Guest room decor may be old or new, contemporary or traditional, bright or subdued, but it must be clean and comfortable. 

The comfortable part is the beds. Regardless of the number of chairs, guests will sit on the edge of the bed, thus requiring the turning and flipping of mattresses on a regular basis. Most chains require that this be done four times a year. Also, be sure to rotate the box springs once a year. These simple procedures will: 

1. Extend the life of your bedding, saving you money.
2. Provide your guests with a more comfortable bed, and thus increase your repeat business,  making you money.
How often do you clean the carpets? Possibly only when required by an accident or according to your general cleaning schedule. An owner once stated that the room carpets were fine, as he had the same carpet in his apartment. However, after he was requested to walk in guest rooms with clean white socks, he had visible evidence of the dirt in the carpets, validating guest complaints. In high-occupancy hotels, try to clean a room carpet every six weeks. 

The "sanitized" paper band placed on commodes is a waste of time and money. That is why the most noted chains do not require them. What they do require is a sparkling, shining clean commode, and that is accomplished only by using bowl cleaner and a commode brush. Clean the bathtub, shine the chrome, and don't forget the paper trash under the bed and behind the dresser. 

$10 for a Housekeeper 

All chains provide instructional video tapes and printed materials on how to clean a guest room for housekeeping personnel. Independent hotels can obtain the same information from the American Hotel Motel Association Educational Institute at 800/752-4567. After the training sessions have been held, follow up the classes with individual testing. 

This testing of the housekeeping training and in effect a determination of a clean guest room, should be done on a random day and room. The housekeeper who cleaned the vacant room, along with the supervisor, is asked to observe the inspection. 

Ten one-dollar bills are placed on the bed. The owner or general manager then inspects the room, picking up one dollar for each defect found. The inspection should follow the instructions from the class. At the end, the housekeeper corrects all defects and is awarded the balance of the remaining money. This procedure has been proven extremely effective, if done on a consistent weekly basis, in training, employee morale, and having clean rooms in everyone's eyes, especially your guests'. 

"I need more business; I must fill the vacant rooms." You will get more business and fill the vacant rooms if your hotel and the vacant rooms are CLEAN.

Interim Hospitality Consultants
Edward L. Xanders, CHA, President
4145 Yardley Circle
Tallahassee, FL 32308-2942
Phone: (850) 893-6010; Fax: (850)893-8345
email: exanders@interimhospitality.com
Also See: 
What is Your Hotelís Market Share and Market Penetration? 
A Word About Breakfast 

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