In some parts of North America, winter weather has already arrived so the unpredictable conditions that cause delays and make travel challenging will soon follow. But regardless of the rain, snow and biting cold, winter is a prime travel season for many consumers. Business people have year-round responsibilities and weekends are great for enjoying fun winter activities, so many independent hotels experience healthy occupancy and strong revenue during the cold weather season.
One of the hardest winter responsibilities for independent hoteliers is maintaining the physical condition of their property. Failure of critical systems can result in serious life safety issues for guests and team members, so operators must prepare their hotels to withstand harsh winter weather. Here are a few essential tips for protecting hotels and ensuring guests receive a great wintertime experience:
HVAC Check-Up and Planning: If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to schedule your winter HVAC systems check-up. Independent hotels should invest in a full-service professional inspection, including calibrating thermostats, changing air filters, heating systems maintenance and taking cooling systems offline. Secondly, hoteliers should work with their HVAC service provider to develop an ongoing maintenance program that will help prevent problems from occurring later in the winter.
Plumbing Maintenance: Just as important as HVAC check-ups is plumbing maintenance. Frozen or bursting pipes can cause independent hoteliers very expensive headaches. At a minimum, operators should make sure pipes are insulated, lines are drained and that heat is able to circulate around pipes and spigots so freezing and further damage can be avoided. Additionally, lawn irrigation systems should be drained and turned off for the winter.
Window and Door Inspection: Drafty windows and doors not only negatively impact the guest experience, they drain profits from independent hotels due to heat escaping into the cold air. Hoteliers can solve many of these issues on their own with weather stripping, caulk, door sweeps and floor mats. However, a local contractor can help resolve larger issues that will help keep heating costs low and guests happy.
Snow, Rain and Ice Management: If not properly managed, winter precipitation can cause serious damage to a hotel building and surrounding property. Hoteliers should inspect roofs and building exteriors for existing damage that can be worsened by pooling water or expanding ice. Drains should be cleared of leaves and debris so water can easily flow away from buildings. Cracks and potholes in sidewalks and parking lots should be repaired to avoid creating unsafe pathways. Additionally, operators should have a snow and ice removal plan in place so their hotel can remain fully operational throughout the entire winter.