Tracking Property Assets the Efficient Way

B.F. Saul hotels use a web-based system to track property assets and to fulfill guest requests and maintenance work orders.

All hotels, even small ones, have scores, hundreds or even thousands of pieces of equipment that owners and operators need to track efficiently and accurately. At most properties, it’s a task done by hand (when it’s done), involving lots of paper and lots of room for error.

The hotel division of B.F. Saul Co. thinks it has solved this logistical problem with a new software package that will not only track equipment but also drive productivity and guest service at its 18 properties. Hotel ServicePro is a web-based mobile asset management and guest service technology the firm acquired last fall and has been integrating its functions into the daily routine of the properties.

“The system allows the hotels to manage every asset in the building as well as track guest complaints and maintenance issues via mobile devices,” says Chris Lohmeier, capital asset manager for B.F. Saul’s hotel division. “When there is a problem with a piece of equipment, the first questions are how old is it and is it under warranty. Using a paper system is time-consuming and not always accurate. Now we can go online and the data is at our fingertips.”

Chief engineers, general managers and even front desk agents can access the system to facilitate guest requests or highlight maintenance issues. While the system has standard features, the vendor customized some of the reporting functions to meet the company’s needs.

“If a guest calls the front desk with a request, like additional pillows, the agents can send a text message immediately to the person responsible for fulfilling the request, such as a housekeeper,” says Lohmeier. “It’s fast and silent, so it eliminates the radio chatter you hear when you’re walking around the halls of many hotels.”

Hotel personnel have been training on the system since its implementation. According to Lohmeier, the initial training covered the entering of guest requests and maintenance work orders. “We started the second phase in March and it goes into further detail on guestroom inspections and the scheduling of monthly and quarterly maintenance jobs,” he says. In the final phase, which Lohmeier will launch soon, each piece of equipment in the hotels will be cataloged with manufactuer information, serial and model numbers, warranty information and date of installation.

“We saved this for last because it will be most time-consuming,” he says. “We wanted everybody to grasp the basics of the system before we got into the specifics of asset tracking.”

Representatives from the vendor, hotel SystemsPro, traveled to the properties for the initial onsite indoctrination. They met with each property’s management team to outline the training regimen and introduced a certification program all users and managers must complete. Additional subsequent training will be done through webinars, says Lohmeier.

As the company gets more comfortable with the technology, Lohmeier plans to use it to track capital dollars spent on major repair and replacement of assets and to track overall guest satisfaction scores to determine the efficiency of the system.

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