The Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley is a luxury resort located in the heart of Australia’s oldest wine-growing region. With lush vineyards and scenic golf course greens at the doorstep, the 318-room resort features a mix of hotel rooms and two- to three bedroom apartment villas spread out over 40 acres, nestled amongst the groomed greens of a championship golf course.
Effectively managing room attendants, who work behind closed doors and are spread out across multiple floors, is a challenge in any hotel. In a resort where housekeeping staff are traveling across vast differences in golf buggies, this challenge is amplified.
“Communicating with room attendants and supervisors is challenging to say the least because one is unaware of the staff’s whereabouts, and it is difficult to coordinate their movements. We know this results in a considerable amount of lost time every day. Not only is our ability to turn-around clean rooms compromised, but our productivity, a key aspect in a high-wage country like Australia, is not at a level where it could be”, says Ben Nesbitt, Rooms Division Manager of the resort. “We cannot change the distances our staff have to travel from room to room, but we can help them minimize the travel - we know that technology can help to deliver efficient processes that will have a direct impact on our ability to service our guests and raise our productivity at the same time.”
Optii's housekeeping optimization solution was selected for the results already achieved in other IHG hotels in Australia. “Features such as Optii housekeeping managed cleaning schedule have delivered impressive operational results in our sister hotels and it has been no secret in the group that these would be amplified in a resort situation”, says Mr Nesbitt. Another key reason the hotel selected Optii is due to the cloud-based technology platform. “A hotel is not an ideal environment to run a complicated system and we are focused on minimizing the technology footprint on property,” says Greg Dicks, Director for Finance and Business Support. “We not only save money on hardware and maintenance, but achieve a higher overall quality of service to our hotel- based users.”
“Our return on investment is measured by the positive benefits we have reaped from Optii,” says Mr Dicks. “Having the ability to supervise room attendants from a central location and essentially ‘remote control’ their movements in real time, had a considerable impact on our department’s productivity which already more than paid for the solution itself.”
Another contributing factor to productivity management is communication: “Overall, Optii Housekeeping eliminates about 95% of cases where staff have to pick up a phone or supervisors need to travel across floors and sections to find a room attendant, resulting in considerable productivity improvements in itself,” says Dianne Vidler, Executive Housekeeper. “Optii’s Client Service Managers have been in regular contact with us since the installation, which has greatly helped in maximizing the use of the system. Working directly with a person that has a housekeeping background has been of immense help.”
By using Optii Housekeeping, the hotel has been able to streamline a number of processes based on a new set of metrics that were not previously available. “We can now measure net cleaning times, time spent outside rooms and turnaround times of rooms - Optii helps us identify bottlenecks and provides a detailed foundation for the training and performance management of staff,” adds Ben Nesbitt. “We are now also able to recognize our staff by a monthly incentive that is based on the quality of cleaning, as well as the speed at which they clean - further contributing to our productivity results. Overall, we can now manage housekeeping towards clearly defined goals, which was not previously possible.”
Mr Dicks summarizes: “All inclusive, we recorded a 21% productivity improvement against last year’s productivity results in the first three months.”
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