Hotel Commissioning Article

Protecting Your Brand: How Robust Commissioning Can Help Hotels

A hotel stay should be memorable for all the right reasons — a unique guest experience with outstanding service. The hotel industry relies on delivering this to achieve repeat custom and brand loyalty, which ultimately translates into a positive bottom line. Problems arising from the hotel building services can create issues for guests, whether there is not enough hot water, the guest room not achieving guests’ environmental requirements or nuisance fire alarms — there are many systems within a hotel that could go wrong. Despite this, however, many building issues can be mitigated through a robust commissioning process.

Protecting Your Brand and Bottom Line

For many commercial industries, when something goes wrong with a building, or parts of a building, while it is far from ideal, access can be gained overnight to carry out essential maintenance. When it comes to hotels, however, it is not quite as straightforward. There is no ‘out-of-hours’ as in commercial industries and therefore there are many more considerations to take into account when parts of the hotel require attention. Even having one hotel room out of service can have an immediate impact on revenue.

In addition, if something goes wrong with the building services during a guest’s stay, there is the added issue of customer complaints, refunds, and poor post-stay reviews, plus the likelihood of the guest returning or recommending the hotel to other potential guests reduces and can have longer term impacts on the hotel brand.

Does Your Hotel Work as it Should?

Reducing the risk of issues with your hotel building and services is possible through robust quality control and commissioning to ensure everything works as it should.

There is the basic mechanical/electrical/public health to consider, but increasingly there are many more integrated and reliant systems that are interconnected as hotels become Smarter, such as integration between booking systems and room services, and these need to be thoroughly tested to ensure they are working as intended before being handed over.

Proving of the services during both commissioning and dynamic commission phases of construction validates the design intent, providing confidence that the building meets the needs that come with multiple occupancy and peak demand on services such as hot water capacities.

Ensuring Reliability and Resiliency

So much of a hotel’s service offering relies on the building itself, including ensuring that lifts work as they should, that the ventilation and air conditioning, lighting and hot water is regulated in rooms and communal areas, that Smart technology is integrated, connected and functioning as designed. There should be a seamless transition from the room being booked to room readiness, and systems and technology should operate effectively behind-the-scenes to enhance the guest’s initial room experience.

The need for the following applies regardless of the stage of the project, from design and construction/refurbishment of your hotel, through to warranty and continued operations.

  • Robust quality assurance procedures - Having robust quality assurance procedures in place, from quality assurance/quality control and commissioning through to soft opening leading to operation, is an important part of testing and verifying that the hotel systems have been installed correctly and function as specified. This allows for any issues to be resolved and acts as confirmation that, at a particular point in time, everything worked as expected which is supported by a comprehensive planned preventative maintenance strategy. You can rest assured that your hotel will perform as it should, not only on a day-to-day basis, but also in emergency scenarios where life-safety systems perform as planned and that the relevant risk mitigation actions come into play.
  • Optimizing hotel building performance - A hotel may have been designed with outstanding sustainability and energy efficiency features, however, seasonal commissioning is one way of knowing if the building is performing in real life as it was designed to. Many systems such as heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and water systems can be designed to be incredibly efficient, but if they are not commissioned correctly, may be running sub-optimally resulting in increased running costs and failure to meet energy efficiency targets. Building sustainable, innovative hotels requires a combination of design expertise and commissioning engineering to optimize the performance of building engineering services to meet environmental and governance goals.
  • Streamlining system interfaces - Hotel room booking systems can be complex, but they are becoming increasingly intelligent in terms of interfacing with the systems that are to be controlled in the room. The rooms, whilst occupied, have local control for the guest to manage their own environment, with the overall building management system taking control when not occupied. It is important to establish a crystal-clear definition of the expectations of how the hotel systems will function whilst occupied and unoccupied during the design stage, which can be done through reviews and workshops. Additionally, a detailed commissioning plan ensures the functionality of all third-party interfaces is established, with the roles and responsibilities of third party contractors clarified.
  • Transparent processes and digital paperwork to back up the work - While it is all very well to have it validated that your hotel works as it should, having clear, transparent, and auditable documentation to prove it and ensure legislative compliance is just as important. Without the evidence to support the commissioning work that has been carried out, there is no way of knowing in future if the building worked as expected at a given point in time, making it much more difficult to troubleshoot any issues that may arise further down the line. Using a commissioning management software can facilitate a high degree of control and transparency.

Confidence Through Commissioning

Unlike some other industries, when it comes to the hotel sector the hotel building itself is fundamental to the service offering, and so having the confidence in your operational systems and knowing that everything is working as it should means less things going wrong, a safer environment, fewer guest complaints, and ultimately a positive impact on the bottom line.

The benefits of a diligently managed commissioning process include: improved guest and staff experience, reduction of future operational risk, overall maintenance and utility costs, improved sustainable design, operation and energy efficiency, life-cycle cost effectiveness and efficient use of investments.

Guest experiences are fundamental to repeat business, from room services with guests having the ability to control the room environment to their own specification, to life safety systems working seamlessly in the background.

Effective commissioning is key to providing you with the confidence that everything is working as it should be in your hotel and to minimize disruption to the running of your building, ultimately ensuring you can focus on providing your guests with an unforgettable experience for all the right reasons.

Joe Pitt Photo
Commissioning Director