Mining for Gold: Capital Asset Planning

A beautiful fall day in Lancaster County, Pa.—the perfect spot for an unexpected mini vacation.

I’ve just come off one of the best weeks in a long time.

My first stop was Lancaster, Pa., for the annual conference of High Hotels’ chief engineers and executive housekeepers. Our meeting was held downtown at the Hamilton Club, Lancaster’s oldest private club. The property is very well maintained and full of history.

On my way to the meeting I got lost when my GPS would not work, and ended up in the middle of Amish country.  At first, I was frustrated, but it turned out to be a great experience. It was like a mini vacation. I decided to just slow down and look around. The leaves were changing and I spotted an Amish horse and buggy. As I passed by farms and little towns, it seemed like everyone was along the side of the road selling everything they had grown—apples and pumpkins along with pies and cakes. I stopped for directions in Quarryville. It was such a small community, with antique stores and old houses.

A $20 million renovation in 2001 carefully preserved much of The Hay-Adams’ historical details, including Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian orders and Elizabethan and Tudor ceiling motifs.

The next day I traveled from the quiet country to the bustle of the Capitol Beltway and Washington, D.C. for a meeting at the Hay-Adams Hotel.   Did you know you can stand in your room and look out on the White House across the street and the Washington Monument? I took a tour of the property—it is absolutely beautiful. The Hay and the Hamilton reminded me that well-maintained, older properties are as elegant as a brand new luxury high rise. Day three of my trip was a short jump around the Beltway to a training class for the B.F. Saul team in Germantown, MD.

The buzz both inside and outside the Beltway was all about budget season. I talked with over 40 executive housekeepers and chief engineers that week. Properties have delayed maintenance for the last three years. Did you know owners and regional managers are being asked to approve a lot of expenses?

Chief engineers brainstorm pool maintenance solutions at the historic Hamilton Club.

Did you know that there is hidden treasure in your budget numbers? Hopefully you have been using the capital asset tracking feature on hotel ServicePro’s hotel maintenance software to capture preventive maintenance expenses.  If so, an engineer can pull these reports and make a case to the owner based on the 50% rule: “I have spent more than 50% of what it would cost to replace this asset.  It is smarter to buy a new unit.” Here’s the bonus: when owners replace worn out assets, the new models are more efficient.

Who knew?  Set indoor pool air handler 2 degrees higher than water temperature.
Did you know an indoor pool air handler, must be set 2 degrees higher than the water temperature in the pool? If it is not, then you are going to waste thousands of dollars worth of electricity evaporating pool water. hotel ServicePro maintenance software can track the temperature reading. If it falls outside the acceptable range, the system alerts the general manager or chief engineer that there is a major mechanical failure. Talk about cost savings.

People are starting to catch up with their capital asset purchases. Do you have the backup data for your 2013 capital asset requests? If not, now’s the time to start on 2014. Feel free to leave a comment and let me know how I can help.

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