Hampton Inns Operator Reveals the Secret behind its Cost-Cutting, Efficiency Building Strategy

First Bristol Corporation, operator of many Hampton Inns & Suites, bases its business on established brand standards. Guests trust the company to deliver a consistent experience, even in a challenging economy, so now, and in the upcoming year, Hampton Inn & Suites Newport/ Middletown, Hampton Inn Raynham, and Hampton Inn & Suites Providence are focused on maintaining standards while adopting new technology to operate more cost-efficiently. Through the use of automated processes and green technology, the staff is more productive and these First Bristol Hampton properties are more efficient and cost-effective.

Automating brand standard verification
'Maintenance Muscle' and 'Housekeeping Hustle' are two standards programs that govern what the properties offer and how they operate. In prior years when Hampton Inns could support a larger staff, the brand monitored its standards compliance manually. This year they trimmed maintenance and other staffs to operate more efficiently and automated their standards verification process with a handheld service tracking tool called hotel ServicePro. This is a Web-based asset management system that lets the properties monitor and schedule maintenance services, oversee housekeeping activities, and track many operational processes, such as safety inspections and service contracts, which is the foundation of the standards program.
To monitor the maintenance and housekeeping standards in real-time for these three properties, the operator built service checklists in the hotel ServicePro system for each process that lets management always know what tasks are required. These checklists for brand service benchmarks and other deadlines are easily accessed by the company's Hampton Inns maintenance teams or by management from handheld units. To ensure the properties maintain their housekeeping standards, all guestroom issues are recorded in the same system and accessed by property managers. Each general manager carries a PDA to monitor housekeeping and maintenance activities; this lets staff respond instantly if there is ever a question or a problem with a guestroom.
The standards that these Hampton Inns encompass in their housekeeping checklist schedule include: cleaning smoke detectors, rotating mattresses, and deep cleaning carpets and drapes. These are activities that can be easily overlooked if not automatically scheduled. Now that the properties' checklist is automated, these processes are never forgotten. The executive housekeepers carry texting phones that enable them to monitor the checklists and pick up other maintenance issues. Housekeepers report any problems with guestrooms to the front desk and they put it on the hotel ServicePro system, which broadcasts it to each property's general manager and engineers. When they had a larger staff, the hotels used a paper-based system, but the handheld technology available now enables them to do more with fewer people. The net result is that staff members are all more productive.
The system is also used to track guest comments for the Hampton properties to look for positive comments on specific rooms. When management sees that certain rooms are complemented repeatedly, the housekeeper is then rewarded for consistently doing great work. This technology simplifies the process of monitoring staff, and it shows property teams their work is valued and that good service will be rewarded.

Tapping green technology

First Bristol Corporation is also committed to being an environmentally responsible operation, and being 'green' is valuable both in energy conservation and in how the company appears to guests. First Bristol's newest property is a 1920s bank building that was converted to a new Hampton Inn & Suites. The VP of construction took the building to its bare walls and added a new thermal infrastructure system that captures the sun's heat striking the south side of the building, and then channels it to the rooms on the cooler north side. This of course saves money in energy bills and guests are unaware of the innovation from the outside.
Smart thermostats were installed in the new property's guest rooms that also utilize motion sensors to detect if a guest is present. When the room is unoccupied for a specific period of time, the thermostat adjusts to a setback temperature to conserve energy. The room's environmental system also communicates with the door. If a guest uses their key, the thermostat returns to the temperature that they set prior to leaving. If a staff member opens the door, the temperature is not affected. The hotel uses the same motion sensor lighting technology for its common areas, like the fitness center, longue, and business center so lights are turned off when the room is empty.
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