Property Management

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Nowadays the hospitality industry is much more different than it was a few decades ago. Customers` expectations towards level of comfort and convenience are increasing every day. These expectations often present challenges to organisations make them look for new pathways of reaching the customers` satisfaction. This essay discusses the role of property management in satisfying customers and controlling operational costs in hotels. Provided examples will justify that properly maintained and well-designed facilities are the core element in guests` satisfaction and, also, will show how facilities maintenance affects the profitability of the organisation. Facilities play varied and imperative roles in the hospitality industry. Stipanuk (2006, p. 3) claims that “…the hospitality industry of today relies on well-designed and well-maintained facilities as a key element of its business”. He also says that “Hospitality facilities … can provide an appealing visual environment that contributes to the overall ambiance, experience, and comfort of the guest”. That makes facilities management one of the most important parts of the business. So what is facilities management and how big is scope of its activities? Facilities management is “an integrated approach to operating, maintaining, improving and adapting the buildings and infrastructure of an organisation, in order to create an environment that strongly supports the primary objectives of that organisation.” (FEFC 2000) Basically, facilities management brings together different activities to keep things working. Scope of operations is sufficiently wide, it includes planning and designing new facilities and refurbishments, complying with health & safety laws, maintaining the building, its systems, rooms and equipment, controlling maintenance costs and utility consumption, etc. Maintenance is “a combination of any actions carried out to retain an item in, or restore it to, an acceptable condition” (Hughes, Ferrett, 2005, p. 151). How important is to maintain facilities and equipment adequately? The answer is – very important. Impermissible consequences can be a result. For example, in case of Health & Safety issues, in October 2006 two children died after a gas leak in the apartment they stayed during holidays with their parents on Corfu (BBC News, 2006). The problem was caused by faulty gas boiler, an inexcusable mistake of maintenance manager and an air conditioning technician resulted in two fatalities. The key factor in the hospitality industry is guests` satisfaction; situations like this affect their satisfaction in many ways – decrease in advertised facilities, reduced comfort, delays, smells, poor facility presentation, unreliable quality of service and facilities provided will just turn the customers away from this place. It can also lead to loss of income and higher costs – as customers will not return or book out or demand discounts; paying off the compensations, refunds or money for court procedure will cost an organisation a lot; and, also, emergency repairs, paying off a insurance, paying extra manual staff to cover for broken machine – all this costs a lot of money. And it can be so dangerous – faulty equipment, slippery surfaces, trips and falls – it can harm both customers and members of staff as well. So, what can a company do to avoid losing money, to prevent customers` dissatisfaction and to run its business successfully? First of all, initial use of superior quality equipment and materials is essential. It may cost a company more money, but during the process it is going to save money on renovating and repairing it. It will stay longer in appropriate condition and work without any major breakdowns during a longer period of time. Secondly, effective inspection and reporting is another important thing. Reporting can be done both by staff and customers. Customers can fill in the “guests` satisfaction cards” or just tell about any problems they had....
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