Why Hotels Should Consider Outsourcing

By Derek Olsen Senior Vice President, CHMWarnick | October 22, 2017

Co-authored by Sean Kreiman, Manager, CHMWarnick

As the industry sits at the top of the hotel cycle, one of increasing supply, rising labor costs, peak occupancy, marginal rate growth, and growing customer acquisition costs, hoteliers and asset managers need to evaluate all cost containment opportunities to improve profits and enhance asset values. As is evident when reviewing the large amount of expense attributable to the Contract Services lines in most hotel P&Ls, many hotels are already outsourcing various components of their operations, including public area cleaning, maintenance, pest control, and landscaping, to name a few. While these functions may be considered routine, there are more profitable (yet riskier) areas of the operation that can be outsourced, particularly those related to labor, which currently accounts for more than 50% of a hotel's total operating expenses.

Outsourcing by Department

Rooms

The most profitable department in most hotels (typically between 70-80% of Revenue), has additional opportunity to enhance margins through the outsourcing of key functions including housekeeping, laundry, and reservations. However, this department also comes with the most challenge given the high-levels of guest interaction. A lack of control in this area of the operation can most adversely impact the entire operation. It is important to consider a hotel's market and positioning when considering making changes to any of these Rooms Department functions.

Food and Beverage

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.