What do pilots, hoteliers, and surgeons have in common? Yup, you guessed it, they all use checklists to tackle both big and small tasks.
Checklists not only provide reminders and accountability, but they help users prevent mistakes. In surgery or on a flight, a mistake stemming from a missed checklist item can prove fatal.
While hoteliers aren’t facing the same high-risk consequences in their daily schedules, using checklists can help hoteliers keep guests safe and healthy while they provide the highest levels of hospitality.
Why Hotel Checklists?
Checklists free up brain space by giving someone reminders for the small, basic - but sometimes overlooked - tasks. With a written reminder to do the little things, you can focus your attention (and brain power) on important tasks, which as a hotelier means keeping guests safe and providing an exceptional guest experience. Checklists also provide opportunities for savings.
Hotel Maintenance teams benefit greatly from using checklists. From daily walk-throughs, to preventive maintenance, this department can utilize hotel checklists in many different ways. For a daily property walk-through, engineers and maintenance team members can have up to hundreds of items on their lists. Interior and exterior areas of a hotel need to be maintained and the fine details matter, which is why checklist items can serve as a reminder to check everything from outdoor path lights to handrails in every stairwell.
Hotel Maintenance teams also play a large role in preventive maintenance. Any business can save between 12-18% by investing in preventative, instead of reactive, maintenance. With hotel maintenance checklists, maintenance teams have instructions on how and when to check large pieces of equipment.
Money saved is extremely valuable during periods of low occupancy. The cost of replacing pricey equipment (HVAC systems, industrial laundry machines, etc.) can also have a large impact on a hotel’s operating budget.
Hotel Housekeeping departments also benefit greatly from checklists. With the need for enhanced disinfection, a housekeeping checklist now includes tasks for cleaning as well as tasks for disinfecting.
Lean Teams Need Checklists
From lean teams to deep cleanings and property-wide disinfection, hotel operations have changed drastically in light of COVID-19. For many hotels, it's an all hands on-deck situation which requires detailed checklists for reminders, accountability, and a way to track progress.
For hotel staff who are wearing many hats, they may be doing tasks that they’ve never done before. Hotel managers may find themselves using an inspection checklist to help the hotel housekeeping department. It’s hard to do an inspection if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Checklists can help employees who need guidance in new tasks.
Another department that may benefit greatly from checklists is the front desk. With its proximity to so many guest areas, the front desk may need cleaning checklists if they are asked to supplement housekeeping disinfection and cleanings in the lobby and other public areas.
What Makes a Good Checklist?
Checklists are helpful if they’re clear, designed properly, and most importantly used consistently.
Have you ever read a checklist task that doesn’t make sense so you arbitrarily check the box? Or, alternatively, skip over it without making notes?
It’s not helpful to the checklist user, or someone who is inspecting work, to be unclear about what is being asked. Make checklist tasks clear, concise, and include only one task per line.
When designing checklists, it’s helpful to group similar tasks together. These similar tasks can be grouped by location (areas of a hotel, or subareas of hotels), or by type of task (cleaning lists should be separated from disinfecting lists).
For a guest room disinfection checklist, it’s helpful to break the room up into sections; entryway, main room, bathroom, outdoor area. Ordering the items in this way prevents a hotel room attendant from disinfecting the front door lock, and then making their way to the bathroom, and then back into the entryway.
Tips for making a strong checklist:
- Create clear tasks
- Include only one tasks for each checkbox
- Group “like” tasks together
- Group tasks in the same area together
- Include space for users to include notes
A Case for Hotel Checklists
Checklists are used across many industries and the hospitality industry should be no exception. In The Checklist Manifesto, a book by surgeon and public health expert Atul Gawande, he argues that checklists prevent failure of ineptitude (when a mistake is made because someone doesn’t properly utilize the information they know).
This concept is entirely relevant for hoteliers. Hoteliers know that every day is full of surprises. Checklists help hoteliers track details and act as reminders to minimize failure. Checklists are easy to implement, encourage success, and are readily available for hoteliers.
In response to COVID-19, ALICE has created hundreds of checklists with thousands of tasks for the hospitality industry to utilize.
Ready to start using ALICE’s Digital Hotel Checklists? Access the checklists now and start using them today!