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StEp-by-step:
Easing A Lodging Transition
A collection of hotel transition checklists gathered by the HFTP Research Institute

By Tanya Venegas

L
odging properties are constantly
changing hands whether it is a
change in management company,
change in ownership, or change in
brand. As of the third quarter 2013,
Lodging Econometrics indicated that
859 properties in the United States had
changed hands via individual transac-
tions, portfolio transactions or M&A
property transfers (Lodging Economet-
rics, 2013). With all of these proper-
ties changing hands and brands, hotel
executives need to know the best way
to navigate the transitions.
In 2013, the HFTP Research In-
stitute set out to collect sample hotel
transition checklists from various hotel
companies. These checklists come by
many different names: hotel takeover,
hotel transition, due diligence check-
lists and various other names. The
name “hotel takeover” seems a little accounting; administrative; banquets; catering; contracts and leases; engineering
too harsh and does not exactly project and maintenance; food and beverage; front office; garage; health, spa and pool;
a positive working environment, so hotel asset information; hotel and operations issues; hotel sales, marketing and
for the purposes of this project the reservations; housekeeping; human resources; information technology; intellec-
checklist will be referred to as a Hotel tual property; real property; security; and zoning and permits. The information
Transition Checklist. was simply combined into like categories and reported as submitted.
This article will give a brief look at At this point, four major companies have provided examples and the Research
the information available. The check- Institute welcomes additional examples. If your company has a checklist on file,
lists provided to the HFTP Research please send it to HFTP@hrm.uh.edu. It will be examined and added to the existing
Institute have been analyzed and working document. The complete checklist will be posted on the HFTP web site as
combined into a master checklist with a PDF and Excel file, and updates will be made as needed. You can simply down-
over 20 different categories. These load the document and adjust it to your needs. We also welcome any feedback you
categories include: all departments; may have pertaining to this document or any future research suggestions.

Tanya Venegas is the director of the HFTP Research Institute, a frequent contributor to The Bottomline and speaker at HFTP educational conferences.
She can be reached at tanya.vengas@hftp.org.

Source
• Lodging Econometrics. (2013). Transaction Trend Charts: LE’s Total Transactions and Property Transfers.
Retrieved January 8, 2014, from www.lodgingeconometrics.com.
❘❙ Industry Resource ❙❚

Sample Hotel Transition checklists


The following is a sample of the checklist collection the HFTP Research Institute has gathered.
If you use a transition checklist at your company, please consider sharing it with the HFTP Research Institute.
Send your checklists via e-mail to: HFTP@hrm.uh.edu.

All Departments Catering



❚ Personnel ❚ Attend BEO meeting
Summarize the key details pertaining to the key
❚ Conduct a competitive survey
executives and department heads:
❑ Outline positions held ❚ Conduct banquet meeting
❑ Length of service ❑ Introduce new operations guidelines
❑ Experience ❑ Surface any concerns
❑ General initial observations/impressions
❚ Review
Review staffing guidelines and labor productivity ❑ Major functions for the upcoming month
standards: ❑ Catering system
❑ Compare to industry benchmarks ❑ Catering/banquet gratuity split
❑ Compare to company benchmarks
❑ Staffing levels for compliance with
❑ Determine if staffing levels are excessive or
company standards
inadequate for business volume
❑ Banquet equipment and make

recommendations
❚ Property Details
❑ Audio/visual contract equipment and
Identify property details: confirm with A/V vendor
❑ Location
❑ Inspect banquet storerooms
❑ Address
❑ Contact Number
❑ Current Ownership/Management

Outline: Contracts & Leases


❑ Key historical events ❑ Renovations
❑ Awards ❑ Ratings
❚ Locate
❑ Equipment warranties
❑ Maintenance and service contracts and leases

Banquets ❚ Note any contracts or leases that are about to


expire within the next 120 days
❚ Conduct a physical walkthrough of the
❚ Prepare notification letter introducing
banquet areas
Company
Identify:
❑ Depending on terms of contract, define
❑ Key features ❑ Space company position with a cancellation, re-bid
❑ Capacity ❑ General condition or continuance letter
❚ Outline areas that will require capital ❚ Review
improvements
❑ All contracts and leases
❚ Review ❑ Operating leases
❑ Key banqueting and catering financial ❑ Maintenance contracts
performance and pace reports
❑ Identify key weaknesses versus budget and ❚ Summarize contracts and leases
prior year performance
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❚ ❚Engineering & Maintenance

❚ Building systems inspection and maintenance ❚ Review


records ❑ All systems
❚ Check inventory on all R&M supplies for the hotel ❑ Service contracts
❑ Emergency procedures
❚ Compile deferred maintenance list and compare to  Modify to ensure compliance with
engineering report Company Operations Guidelines
❚ Conduct key control analysis ❑ Preventative maintenance programs
❑ Masters and other metal keys  Rooms
❚ Conduct survey of:  Major equipment including kitchen(s)
❑ Exterior signage and quality of sign maintenance ❑ Any franchisor and/or company maintenance
vendor requirements
❑ Off-site storage facilities and determine their ❑ Work order program
necessity
❑ Staffing levels for compliance with
❑ All hotel vehicles and determine their condition company standards
❚ Conduct uniform inventory for quantity and ❑ Staffing assignments and expertise by employee
condition ❑ Condition of engineering shop and
related storerooms
❚ Determine need for maintenance POA ❑ Interior and exterior landscaping
❚ Engineering Report (example: foundation of ❑ Major maintenance issues
main building) ❑ Status of existing capital projects

❚ Enforcement actions ❑ Fire/life safety

❚ Hotel ADA review/survey (physical and operations) ❚ Secure all documentation


❑ Drawings
❚ Identify employees that are trained to maintain the
❑ Specifications from most recent renovation
in-house TV system
projects
❚ Introduce ❑ Most recent set of all architectural and systems
❑ Company purchasing procedure drawings for the building (as built drawings are
preferred)
❑ Company Operations Guideline Manual
❑ Copies of construction warranties
❑ OSHA compliance reports
❑ Maintenance reports
❚ Tour property
❚❚
Food & Beverage

❚ Conduct area market and pricing survey ❚ Review
❚ Conduct departmental meeting to introduce company ❑ All menus for content and pricing
operations and guidelines (i.e. kitchen, restaurant, etc.)
❑ Review all kitchen equipment
❚ Coordinate review of food service operations
❑ Review F&B maintenance contracts
❚ Develop a plan of action
❑ Review restaurant equipment for condition,
❑ Food and beverage and finalize transition days
appearance and adherence to company standards
❑ Visit property on three occasions to review
breakfast, lunch and dinner meal periods, and ❑ Review staffing levels for compliance with company
complete evaluation standards
❑ Review banquet operation while on-site ❑ Review supply checklist
❑ Review uniform policy and conduct inventory
❚ Guest Loyalty Program
❑ Review vendors and SKUs
❑ Evaluate complimentary guest programs
❑ Verify that guest loyalty members are receiving all ❚ Review entertainment contracts and costs.
benefits in accordance with brand standards ❑ Identify successful programs, strengths and
❚ Interview F&B manager regarding current weaknesses.
F&B programs, advertising and marketing plans
❚ Review food and beverage outlets
❚ Inventory
❑ Financial performance
❑ Conduct china/flatware inventory
❑ Configuration
❑ Conduct useable inventory
 Food ❑ Capacity
 Liquor ❑ Condition/cleanliness
 Beer ❑ Identify key weaknesses and areas that require
 Wine attention
❑ Determine out of service items/dead stock
❑ Review inventories of key operating equipment and ❚ Room Service
banquet furnishings to ensure supply and condition ❑ Room service equipment for appearance and
are in line with business needs adherence to full service standards
❑ Verify beverage dead stock ❑ Room service tray pick-up procedure and insure
❑ Verify food dead stock compliance
❚ Mini-bar ❚ Storeroom
❑ Conduct inventory of mini-bar supplies
❑ Review storeroom security and requisition
❑ Review mini-bar security
procedures
❚ Observe banquet, restaurant, bar and room service
❑ Review list of personnel with keys and access
operations
❑ Storeroom requisition and withdrawal procedure
❚ Physical Inspection
❑ Conduct a physical inspection of all back of house ❚ Technology
areas ❑ Review point of sale system for equipment and
 Cafeteria functionality and version of software
 Corridors
❑ Assess information technology systems; POS
 Kitchens
 Refrigerators ❑ Verify PCI compliance of POS
 Stewarding storerooms
❑ Identify logistical challenges and cleanliness issues ❚ Verify all beverage employees have completed
that will need to be addressed alcohol awareness training
❚❚❑
Front Office Garage

❚ Conduct Front Office and Reservations meeting in ❚ Confirm pricing for garage
conjunction with the sales task force ❚ Is the garage operated by the hotel or leased
❑ Introduce company policies
❚ Review garage
❑ Surface any concerns
❑ Determine adequate parking availability
❚ Evaluate  Based on number of guestrooms
❑ Pet policies  Based on square feet of banquet space
❑ Reservation fact screen including web site, GDS,
etc., to insure accuracy of information ❑ Determine if space is yielding best revenues
❑ Shift checklists if available based on business volumes.
❚ Procedures
❑ Are guest room allowances and rebates approved
by front office manager Leisure Facilities
❑ Check safety deposit box procedures
❑ Evaluate departmental concerns
❚ Inspect existing leisure facilities
❑ Order signature guarantee materials, plaque,
cards and response cards ❑ Determine adequacy, quality of facilities and
equipment. Identify any areas that may need
❑ Provide inventory and room-type plans for
capital to meet company standards.
front office systems
❑ Quality of facilities and equipment
❚ Review
❑ Check in and check out procedures in accordance ❑ Quality of equipment
with company standards ❚ Identify any areas that may need capital to
❑ Emergency procedures meet company standards
❑ Guest services log and second effort (CRM or
equivalent)
❑ Out of order rooms
❑ Reservation call procedure to insure proper Hotel Specific and Operations Issues
handling during and after normal business hours
❑ Reservations procedures in conjunction with the ❚ Capital Expenses
sales task force ❑ Outline capital requirements based on physical
❑ Security procedures to deter theft and robbery walk through and or interviews with managers.
❑ Staging strategies and cut-over responsibilities Include items identified in the MOD logbook
for conversion re: occupancy, logo and program review, guest satisfaction ratings, department
supplies reviews, etc.
❑ Supply checklist  Based on physical walk through
❚ Staffing  Based on interviews with managers
 Based on Company/brand compliance
❑ Review staffing levels for compliance with
company standards ❑ Include items identified in the:
❑ Finalize management, supervisory and hourly  Manager-on-duty logbook review
staffing plan  Guest satisfaction ratings
❑ Check the scheduling for the next four week  Department reviews, etc.
period ❚ House Funds
❚ Technology ❚ Tax
❑ Assess information technology systems, POS, ❑ List of Tax Returns
credit card and phone system ❑ Sales/Use Tax Bills
❚ Verify rooms inventory ❑ Transient Accommodations Tax Bills
❚ Tray Ledger