Outsourcing for Hotels 101

By Michael Doyle Managing Director and Executive VP, CHMWarnick | May 14, 2017

Hotels have historically outsource services to restaurant operators, parking and audio visual professionals, with resorts often outsourcing recreational services and landscaping as well. Today's options for outsourcing are much broader, as new firms have developed business models to provide expertise with greater efficiency at lower costs. Have you considered outsourcing your entire housekeeping operation? How about stewarding, overnight cleaning, or laundry operations? Other options could be banquet services, night cleaning, HVAC Services or Accounting Services.

As we develop this series of articles and focus on the evolving outsourcing opportunities, it is important to ask the question -- Why do Hotels outsource? Or, stated a little differently, Why should I challenge the traditional operations model and introduce uncertainties into my operation? Hotels outsource to meet the changing demands of the labor market, cope with high and increasing costs of benefits, better meet the needs of their guests, bring added expertise to the team and accomplish this at low cost with high margin benefits. In short, we outsource to maximize profitability.

Outsourcing does not necessarily mean a loss of quality or of control. The best firms bring expertise and talent to your team. Success is achieved when these third parties are fully integrated into the operation and not treated as outsiders. The successful operations have their third party partners participating in meetings both internal and external (yes – with clients), providing cost and revenue enhancement opportunities and being held accountable to the service delivery standards set by the Hotel Manager or Brand. Managers will also benefit from the additional resources from off-property leadership of these firms to fully leverage their expertise to drive performance.

Established third party firms have developed over the last several years and are dedicated in their area of expertise. They bring knowledge, experience and resources to meet the changes in demand posed by Hotel operations. These firms are the subject matter experts in their disciplines, often bringing capital resources in equipment and can be an excellent resource to Hotel managers in meeting changing needs, including the ability to flex with the business demands of the operation. Hotels have adapted and crafted over the years processes and practices to integrate these third parties into the operation and service culture. The benefit of this focus should result in a seamless experience for the client, complementing the efforts of the Hotel.

Integrating a third party into your operation takes careful planning and commitment. No matter the scale of initiative, it is critical to think through and identify the scope of their responsibilities.
Doing the homework up front will avoid unnecessary issues in not only the execution of the contract but more importantly the service to your guests – even if the outsourced service is not forward facing to your guests. Here are some steps to consider taking in the development of the scope of work:

  • Development of a detailed responsibility task list for each of the positions
    that will be outsourced

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.