EYE ON THE BALL
Hotelier India|December 2021
Given the significant impact their department has on a hotel’s financial goals, here’s how some engineers helped their team to effectively manage controllable expenses
PRANITA BHOSALE
Traditionally, engineers are expected to focus on a hotel’s upkeep, project completion, service maintenance, and controlling cost. Not anymore. These days, they are also expected to keep their team morale high, in light of labor challenges.

Hotel engineers today have to go the extra mile to develop and implement strategies that will deliver products and services that meet, and often exceed guest expectations. All this, while keeping an eye on maximizing their property’s financial performance.

Hotelier India speaks to engineers to understand how their role has evolved over the years, especially in the past 18 months. And how they are navigating changed expectations from internal and external customers.

Since the pandemic struck, what key areas of concern arose in your department?

Arogyaiah Udagandla, Chief Engineer, Hyatt Centric Candoli, Goa (AU): The rising cost of diesel and erratic supply is a huge hiccup for our hotel, triggering power failures. Hence, we are undergoing an R&D programme to sort this interim challenge, while we shift to renewable green power.

Kedar Komarpant, Chief Engineer, DoubleTree by Hilton Goa-Panaji (KK): As the market was witnessing restricted occupancy levels during the pandemic, we found it challenging to controlling HLP cost due to occupancy level without compromising on guest experience. We considered the pandemic’s impact and quickly devised an energy-saving plan, which was implemented in a properly phased wise manner.

With budgets coming under significant strain, how have you managed to continue on-ground operations without impact guest or employee experience?

Chander Sharma, Chief Engineer, Crowne Plaza New Delhi Okhla (CS): Guest safety and employee security is our prime focus, hence we did not cut down on our expenses as far as maintenance and operations are concerned. Instead, we focused on setting our priorities, maximising cost-effective measures and made plans of action accordingly.

AU: This is an omnipresent challenge – as engineers, we continuously think about identifying the loopholes and emphasise on ways and means to control it without compromising on customer services. Situations like COVID-19 taught us to stick to the fundamentals. Our vision is to avoid overheads and protect the property, guests and staff and enable our team to produce revenues by avoiding expenses.

We eventually identified significant areas where we faced huge losses and then found ways to plug these. For instance, we measured the actual occupancy percentage and divided the property into two sections – utilizing and non-utilized areas. In the first, we did not concede maintenance procedures and facilities, while there is none, or controlled utilization, at the second area in terms of HVAC, water supplies, and lighting.

We also established limited operations, which helped us reserve our manpower. Hence, our demand was significantly condensed, and this helped us to control HLP budgets, in terms of electricity units, diesel, and manpower costs.

How did you develop an engineering budget and operating strategy that is aligned with your property’s business strategy?

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