In most of the country, the winter months mean a slew of hassles related to cold weather. This extends to the hospitality industry as well, of course. As a result, you need to prepare your facility to handle the problems winter can bring while keeping your guests and daily operations in mind. Keep the following article handy as a checklist for the adjustments and alterations you may need to make to your hotel during winter. Some of these pointers are also relevant all year. Here’s how to prepare your hotel for cold weather.
Perform a Risk Assessment
Long before the snow falls, the ice forms, and the temperatures drop below zero, you should assess your hotel’s winter preparedness. Do a general inspection of the premises, looking for safety issues for winter and the rest of the year. Decide which areas the weather changes might affect the most and how you can prevent accidents that might jeopardize your staff’s and clientele’s well-being. See if any hotel room equipment needs replacements or repairs. Additionally, ask employees for their input on problems with infrastructure and parts of the hotel you might not see every day.
Do Regular HVAC Inspections and Upgrades
Guests won’t stay if there’s no heat or the heating system fails to provide a decent level of comfort. Have the hotel HVAC system or boiler periodically inspected, as well as PTAC or other units in individual rooms. And do it in the warmer months. Unless you have staff that can repair your system, you don’t want to call in a contractor to repair your heating system during the height of the holiday system. It’ll cost you an arm and a leg, if they can come at all.
Improve Your Rooms’ Cozy Factor
While some guests are fine with rooms offering the basics, all guests appreciate it when you go above and beyond in making their rooms warmer and more pleasant. As mentioned, make sure the individual heating units are up to snuff. Provide extra blankets and warmer sheets if you can. If you offer in-room coffee makers, ensure they have plenty of extra coffee and tea for those frigid mornings.
Check Your Energy
Keeping guests warm is very important, but you must also watch your budget. The cold will force you to spend more on gas and electricity. Ensure your hotel is using as much energy as it needs and no more. Buy energy-efficient appliances for common areas and individual rooms. Turn off lights in little-used rooms and add timers and automatic shut-off features to lamps and overhead lighting. Also, smart thermostats can keep things at a comfortable temperature without wasting energy. Ensure you seal drafts, weatherstrip all doors and windows, and keep cold air out and warm air inside. Finally, educate staff about watching their own energy use.
Prep Your Fleet Vehicles
If you offer shuttle service to guests or simply maintain a garage of company vehicles for various uses, prep them for winter. Equip cars and trucks with all-weather tires or fit them with snow tires in places with pronounced snowfall. Ensure the various fluids—oil, transmission, coolant, and so on—are clean and topped off. Lower-weight oil is a better choice for frigid temps! Instruct staff members about winter safety when driving and how to handle any emergencies that might pop up as well.
Protect Your Plumbing
There are few things more heartbreaking or expensive than a burst pipe in winter. You must properly drain and shut off plumbing for external sprinkling systems or outdoor pools, for example. Any pipes you use during the winter months, however, must have insulation and protection from the cold and the possibility of freezing and bursting. Also, you should repair leaks and broken seals to prevent water from accumulating and freezing anywhere. This leads us to the next point.
Prevent and Eliminate Ice
Water in all its forms can hurt you, your building, and your customers and staff. Watch out for it, and be ready to battle it at every turn. When it snows, arrange for the immediate removal of snow from the parking lot, walkways, and other areas where people are moving about. Removing snow also prevents the later accumulation of ice during periods of thawing and freezing. Ice, especially black ice, can be a deadly menace. Be ready to spread salt or other deicing substances to keep it from forming. Watch for snow, ice, and water damage in the roof, ceilings, walls, and floors. Water finds numerous ways to sneak in during winter, creating the potential for damage in spring.
One of the biggest problems with winter is how much easier it is to transmit sickness. With more people huddled under a single roof, the likelihood that colds, the flu, and other diseases will spread from person to person skyrockets. Keep things clean and disinfected. Ensure staff members are changing sheets and wiping down surfaces in individual rooms and common areas. Provide antibacterial and antiviral wipes and solutions at the door, near the front desk, and in the rooms. During periods of high transmission, consider shutting down the pool room, breakfast area, and other places where people might congregate. Provide masks and other preventative measures to staff and guests as well.
Lean Into the Season
If you’re still wondering how to prepare your hotel for cold weather, don’t forget to lean into the more positive aspects of winter weather. Host a happy hour or provide coffee, hot cocoa, and similar treats in the lobby or another area for guests. If you have a restaurant, be sure to offer hot meals and tasty treats like soups, stews, chili, and other offerings that’ll make guests feel warm inside and out. Keep the decorations seasonally appropriate, and if you have a fireplace, keep it roaring and warm with plenty of seating nearby.
Looking for more ideas on improving your guests’ comfort? Contact us today for a consultation. We offer multiple appliances and amenities that guests will love in winter and the rest of year!