The Ritz-Carlton - Ritz Club (6)
The Ritz-Carlton Club, the fractional residence division of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, requested Carpedia to review its Housekeeping and Concierge functions across its brand. The clubs are located in mostly remote locations serving an affluent clientele who have purchased ownership in this exclusive member only vacation club. The properties in the brand are located in JupiterFlorida, St. Thomas Virgin Islands, Abaco Bahamas, Bachelor Gulch Colorado, Aspen Highlands Colorado & San Francisco California.
The project was designed to improve service and productivity for all positions in both the housekeeping and concierge departments. The objective was to generate $818,000 per annum in savings with only a positive impact on member satisfaction levels. The methodology learned through this project is to be replicated, with the intention to roll it out to other RC clubs as they come on line over the next few years.
The project is on pace to generate the required savings providing a 3:1 return on the project investment.
Some of the method changes put in place to achieve the results included:
- Modified method and responsibilities for stocking carts
- Reduction of multiple trips into the homes by utilizing caddies for linens and cleaning materials
- The staggering of shift start times to avoid morning idle time due to member privacy signs
- Scheduling based on room occupancy in the home versus home occupancy alone
- Schedules based on member’s preferred time of service
- Combining roles and responsibilities of the front desk agent and the concierge to reduce idle time
- Utilization of a concierge floater position to increase service levels and reduce idle time
- Implementation of a problem resolution process to increase member satisfaction
- Elimination of the night auditor position by shifting auditing functions to the evening shift
In addition, the Club leaders have been trained on the Carpedia methodology and are playing an increasingly significant role in the sustainability of the changes.
Mandarin Oriental - New York (3)
Since opening in December 2003, Mandarin Oriental, New York (MONYC) has experienced great levels of success boasting the highest room rates in all of New York City and countless awards from Forbes, AAA, Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast and Zagat.
Despite their high levels of overall performance, the unionized nature of their workforce (like most hotels in Manhattan) had always presented challenges in the forms of severe scheduling restrictions, rigid overtime penalties and limitations of hotel leadership's decision-making abilities.
Although MONYC was still at the top of the curve compared to its competitors, at the onset of the economic recession room rates and average checks had dropped. Over the period of 2008 to 2010, Food & Beverage profitability began to dwindle significantly. In the winter of 2010, MONYC invited Carpedia to conduct an analysis of their F&B operations including Banquets. The challenge included working within the union limitations as well as maintaining the unprecedented guest experience levels that were vital to their revenue stream.
At the conclusion of the project, savings tracked precisely in line with the original objective. Renegotiations of the collective bargaining agreement did not occur during the life of this project and all improvements were realized within the confines of the existing contract. Service levels for each F&B area also remained fully intact, with the improvements and all elements of the luxury experience included in the development of the new working standards.
Key changes included:
- Various process improvements installed to minimize lost time in each area.
- Development of a budgeting tool that allows hotel executives to account for collective bargaining agreement restrictions and more accurately plan regular and overtime hours at the beginning of each year.
- Design and installation of departmental scheduling tools including Asiate, In-Room Dining, Banquet Set-Up and all Kitchens. This allows area leaders to properly plan their bi-weekly labor hours based on activity workload and service levels, as well as additional hours required based on the collective bargaining agreement. With these new tools, leaders have the ability to minimize unnecessary hours without impacting the guest experience or violating union agreements.
- Application of the collective bargaining agreement in its negotiated state including additional scheduling flexibility that had not been previously utilized by Food & Beverage leadership.
Case Study: Mandarin Oriental Washington
Since opening in 2004, Mandarin Oriental Washington D.C. (MOWAS) has provided outstanding products and services to their guests, earning them accolades and recognition within the city and the industry. After investing significant time and focus on their guest experiences, the hotel became increasingly interested in improving its profit margins without diminishing their service levels and reputation.
MOWAS invited Carpedia to complete an analysis of their operations. The operational departments that were reviewed included Housekeeping, Laundry, Spa, Culinary, In-Room Dining, Banquet Set-up, and Stewarding. Although opportunity existed in each area, the complexity of the union environment had to be factored in to the projected levels of improvement.
A project was designed ensuring that required levels of improvement could be achieved within the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Longer term recommendations were also being sought to assist with pending union negotiations.
At the conclusion of the project, savings tracked 20% above the original objective.
Key changes in Rooms Division included:
- Improved planning for Room Attendants to maximize credits cleaned through the anticipation of 'do not disturb' and 'refused service' rooms
- Reduced lost time in Laundry production by improving pre-sort and area layout
- Reduced travel time for all roles through the development of a floor optimization system to minimize the number of floors in use during low volume periods
Key changes in The Spa included:
- Reduced administrative time through automating daily reports
- Reduced rework in facility maintenance by pre-assigning roles between colleagues and aligning maintenance frequencies with treatment schedules
- Improved treatment confirmation process by changing time of calls (also allowing colleagues to direct more of their attention on in-house guests)
Key changes in Food & Beverage included:
- Reduced lost time between activities by pre-assigning individual tasks to colleagues
- Reduced travel time through the installation of carts to transport materials
- Reduced Stewarding downtime by pro-actively moving resources between areas
- Improved overall planning through the development of a more accurate forecast based on historical outlet trends
Improvements in Housekeeping and In Room Dining that required changes to the CBA were developed, valued and successfully negotiated by the labor attorneys.
Case Study: Mandarin Oriental Miami
Mandarin Oriental Miami (MOMIA), along with the rest of the tourism industry, was facing challenges sustaining their guest volumes and revenues.
In addition to the changing markets, seasonality in Miami has always existed with significant dips in volume during the summer months. MOMIA invited Carpedia to conduct an analysis of their Rooms (including Housekeeping and Laundry) and Food & Beverage operations (including Banquets, Cafe Sambal - their 3-meal restaurant, In-Room Dining and Culinary) to determine if there would be more effective ways to execute their services and plan to achieve enhanced financial performance given their immediate and chronic volume fluctuations.
A critical component of the project design was to not only improve operating margins, but to ensure that there was no negative impact on the guest experience. Based on the opportunities identified during the analysis, a project was launched to tackle these obstacles.
At the conclusion of the project, savings between the areas annualized to 60% above the original objective. Key changes in the Rooms Division included:
- Reduced start up time by batched pre-stocking of Housekeeping carts
- Reduced cycle time for guest request deliveries through the pre-staging of supplies
- Improved assignment of rooms based on both room type and status
- Decreased rework in servicing rooms by designing a standard cleaning sequence
- Limited travel time through the development of a floor optimization system to minimize the number of floors in use by the hotel during low volume periods
Key changes in the Food & Beverage Division included:
- Reducing rework by minimizing stewarding touch points
- Decreased event set up time by pre-staging carts with required materials
- Improved order preparation and percentage of on-time deliveries through the development of an expediter process in In-Room Dining
- Limited administrative time through the creation of automated Private Bar assignments
- Improved outlet forecasting methodology to more accurately predict Culinary production needs and staffing requirements across all areas
“The changes that I have seen in our leaderships’ understanding of their departmental performance have been invaluable. The improvements associated with the new planning tools, their ability to show managers that each day is different and consequently requires different resources, have provided my leaders with a methodology to ensure that high levels of service are provided without the excess cost.”
Executive Vice President
Mandarin Oriental - Miami