Engineering - Industry Perspective from a Director of Engineering

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Beginning with the realization that the hotel is our guests’ “home
away from home” quickly focuses the engineering department.
Start with the physical structure—its beauty—you can stand in front
of her and feel an overwhelming sense of pride to know that you are
responsible for her and that you will do whatever it takes to keep
her beautiful.
Maintaining a hotel has several elements crucial to a smooth
operation. Communication with other departments is number one.
The front desk is the direct link between engineering and the guest.
Constant communication is key in ensuring that all rooms are ready
and in working order. The goal is to have a guest check in, enjoy the
stay, and check out with no problems. However, if a guest does
experience a problem, he or she usually notifies the front desk staff,
who in turn sends an engineer to correct the problem. After the
problem is corrected, the engineer follows up with the desk staff to
relay that the problem is fixed. It does not end there. The information
is then put into the guest history so that when the guest
returns, the desk gives engineering a report of guest history problems
so that we (Engineering) can take proactive measures to
ensure that the room is 100 percent in working order prior to the
guest’s arrival. This helps to ensure that the guest will not have a
repeat experience. Engineering may involve the front desk in a
“second effort” program as well. Second effort simply means that
follow-up communication is made with the guest who reported the
initial program. The front desk should contact the guest and make
sure that the situation was satisfactorily resolved. That goes a long
way to ensuring guest loyalty!
Housekeeping is the backbone to the support system for Engineering.
Housekeepers are in every room almost every day. They see
the things that are wrong in the room and report to a supervisor,
who immediately notifies engineering. This process helps ensure
that everything is in working order for the guests—100 percent.
The next and a most important element is preventive maintenance.
The Director of Engineering needs to establish a base—a core
level of importance of every piece of equipment in the hotel. An
inventory of mechanical equipment is compiled and then scheduled
for maintenance accordingly. For example, on a washing machine,
the motor is oiled once a month, the belts are checked every week,
and the machine is cleaned daily. For the rooms, a continual process
is necessary to keep them functional—a general rule is four times
per year for every room.
Ownership is our pride, the building and everything in it is
our work of art. We protect it, and much like an artist, when we
complete something, we are proud to put our signature on it!

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