Forward March

Forward March is a common method used in hotel and restaurant operating sectors. Hygiene, food safety… controlling it, especially in these times of health crisis, is essential for managers in the sector.

• • • • • • • • •

This article was written with three hands: I was helped by two head housekeepers of profession, one from Martinique, the other from Paris.

Nadine DINTIMILLE, Head Housekeeper SQUASH HOTEL, Martinique

Victoria CHEVAILLIER, Floor Manager & Service Provider for Parisian Hotels

In a proposal for a post-Covid-19 health charter in the tourism sector, the Alliance Française Tourisme issued a 28-page Memorandum at the end of the containment.

The detailed Health Charter proposes transverse solutions to the different tourism sectors, converging towards a « common core », dense and abstract, applicable to all the actors.

The Charter’s driving force is to provide concrete responses to health issues for the various stakeholders:

– The clients.

– The employees.

– Suppliers, service providers and subcontractors.

Concerning employees in the tourism sector, the Charter distinguishes between :

– Employees in regular contact with customers (or « front office »).

– Employees without contact with customers (or « back-of-house »).

The Charter sets out specific proposals for certain sectors of activity, particularly in the hotel industry.

« These measures, which are specific exclusively to the commercial professional accommodation sector, are in addition to the measures applicable to the entire tourism industry.

Each group or establishment invents its own operational processes in its Anti-Covid approach, each one has its own personal vision of the March Forward revisited.

Most hotel groups and some independents are accompanied by an audit firm.

Labels have been created, Accor has developed a domestic and international label with Bureau Veritas, B & B Hotels and the independent hotels Paris Inn have formed a partnership with Socotec.

Nevertheless, the implementation of the Post-Covid Forward Walk, particularly among independent hotels, is adapted in a very empirical way from one establishment to another.

What are the concrete implementations and impacts on the Forward Walk in the Independent Hotel Industry?

The Forward Principle

The famous « Marche en Avant » is a principle of hygiene, deployed in a quality approach.

It applies to the hotel, restaurant and hospital sectors.

The rule: healthy products must not cross the path of soiled products.

In the catering sector, the premises are compartmentalized with method, ideally :

– Goods receiving and unpacking area.

– Washing area for vegetables.

– Hot and cold preparation area and according to specialities.

– Storage area for finished products.

– Alternative path for waste and insulated waste area.

– Alternative path for products to be stored and storage area for basic products.

Eliminating crossovers in the chain of soiled or unsuitable products is the objective of the Forward Walk.

Throughout the production process and at each operational stage, the product remains healthy.

In the hotel industry, the reasoning and procedures are the same for bedroom, bathroom or table linen.

Transporting dirty linen in a basket or bag identical to clean linen means re-contaminating the clean one with the deposits generated by the dirty one.

The Post-Covid Forward March

Before Covid, the Floor Staff had to wear a pair of gloves when cleaning the Bathrooms.

Wearing gloves made the staff safer by protecting them from the use of chemicals and toxic products.

In the Pre-Covid era, only bathroom safety gloves were mandatory.

Now, three pairs of gloves are mandatory:

– One pair of gloves to take the waste and dirty laundry out of the room.

– One pair of gloves to bring back clean linen and hospitality products.

– One pair of gloves to clean the bathroom and protect yourself from chemical agents (originally only safety gloves were mandatory).

As part of staff training, several pairs of gloves are required for maids.

Step 1

The Staff enters the room, masked, adorned with a charlotte.

Depending on the category of the hotel, generally from 3*, they can wear an additional protective gown.

The Staff opens the window(s) of the room, those of the bathroom or activates the ventilation system (vmc).

They collect the used bed linen and towels and stores them in an airtight bag.

The reception products are systematically thrown away, hence the need to put less than before Covid.

They throw the first pair of gloves in the trash can outside the room.

Step 2

The Staff takes a second pair of gloves.

They first run hot water over all the sanitary facilities and then apply the virucidal products in the bathroom.

They rub everywhere with a clean sponge (new each time for the high-end sector).

Sensitive corners in the bathrooms are to be cleaned carefully before and after Covid :

The shower trap, the top and bottom of the soap holder, the ventilation grid, in France: dust on bathroom radiators.

Vinegar is preferred on taps when there is too much limescale in the bathroom (also in the kettle to remove limescale).

Although much appreciated for its natural and effective character, vinegar is not virucidal, therefore not anti-Covid.

The classic codes of microfibers and sponges are of different colors:

– Microfibers and sponges in red color are intended for WC toilets 🟥

– Microfiber sponge set in green color are for sink and tub/shower 🟩

– Blue microfibers reserved for cleaning the room 🟦

The color system is a widespread and mnemonic means for Floor Staff.

The codes are reflected in the colors of the packaged cleaning products:

the red products are for the sanitary, the green products for the washbasins, the blue ones for the room … is for the sanitary, for the green washbasins.

The color code allows to avoid cleaning with the same supports the WC and the washbasin, for example.

One of the roles of the housekeeper is to enforce these codes.

While the product is acting in the bathroom, the Floor Staff take off their gloves and make the bed.

To do so, they change the protective pads on the mattress and cushions.

High-end post-Covid revolution: no longer at each Departure, i.e. redoing a White Room, but now at each Recouche.

The Palaces bring out the heavy artillery, such as the Hôtel de Crillon and its anti-Covid guns,

also provided with a 60-page Health Charter co-authored with the Apave audit firm.

 Au Crillon, les gouvernantes, femmes de chambres et responsables de la propreté, utilisent désormais un pistolet à UV et à spray désinfectant.

Sheets are changed systematically even when a room is made.

Same for the bathroom linen (bath and bath towels, floor mats, terry cloth squares) in 4* and 5*.

In 3* and below, the Customer has the choice of an « à la carte » cleaning to reduce maintenance costs.

In this case, two pairs of gloves are used to manage the overlay.

Finally, the Staff proceeds with the dusting of the room: headboard, bedside tables, interior and exterior lamps, baseboards, cupboards, doors…

clockwise so as not to omit anything, such as the underside of the bed.

Step 3

The Person throws the second pair of gloves into the outside garbage can and then uses the third pair.

They clean the bathroom to avoid damaging his/her hands and rinses everything with hot water.

They go on with the wiping of each bathroom, with the different supports.

The staff installs the towels and places the bathroom amenities in the position desired by the hotel.

They use their mop with a broom impregnated with the product and clean their bathroom floor.

The Upstairs service classically alternates two sweeping brushes.

While he uses a shaving broom on one room, they let the other broom soak and disinfect in the Office.

On their way out, they vacuum the room and leaves after checking his self-checking card.

They regularly (every 4 hours maximum) throw their masks into the dedicated garbage cans.

Depending on the category and positioning of the establishment, the room will be controlled by a housekeeper who is now masked and gloved.

She will be able to embellish it with a note from the management, additional welcome gifts and special attentions, as well as impeccable hygiene.

Where do we go from here?

In 4*, the average cleaning was 12 rooms before Covid, after Covid it will be reduced.

The cleaning time has increased: each room has to be redone automatically or on demand.

Processes have multiplied, especially with the use of triple gloves.

The total cleaning of the bathroom linen and sheets involves an additional cost.

What about the impact on Average Prices?

The Must’s

– The Essential Gestures for the Staff :

To make the bed, position of the knight serving for your Staff. One knee on the ground and one knee to raise so as to have a straight back.

When the Staff bends in all cases, he lowers both knees and keeps his back straight (i.e. training Gestures & Postures UMIH Martinique).

– Chemical Contamination :

In addition to the principle of forward motion that banishes the mixing of dirty and clean, avoid mixing clean and chemical by arranging the products together.

If the floor is carpeted, remember to place a towel underneath the bunk to prevent the toxic products from spilling onto the floor.

Also in the Staff bunks, do not mix the host products with the cleaning products.

Succeed in Ranking Furnished accommodation

You propose a seasonal rental (villa, apartment or furnished studio). Convinced by the tax benefits, you wish to be classified as « Furnished Touristic Accommodation » as soon as possible. Good news, the Furnished Accommodation Classification is even simpler than the Hotel Classification.

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Since June 1, 2012, the prefectoral classification has been replaced by the classification of furnished tourist accommodation.

For those who would not be convinced by the only argument of the advantageous taxation (tax abatement of 71% instead of 50%, fixed and reduced tourist tax …), the classification opens to other benefits :

– The possibility of being paid by Chèques Vacances ANCV.

– The commercial promotion, by your care, of your standardized establishment.

– The realistic feeling of structuring your destination by participating in the transparency of its offer, according to the surface areas, equipment and services.

It returns it to you well by a commercial promotion on its window.

Here the inventory of the furnished apartments of the destination Martinique.

It is the Code of Tourism, article L324-1 which regulates the Furnished Accommodation: « Furnished tourism accommodation is furnished villas, apartments, or studios, for the exclusive use of the tenant, offered for rent to a clientele passing through who make a stay characterized by a daily, weekly or monthly rental, and who do not elect domicile there. »

The rental does not exceed 90 consecutive days of rental to the same person.

Individuals as well as professionals can obtain the official name of Meublé.

The procedure is not compulsory, it is voluntary.

It is valid for 5 years.

On the other hand, once your classification has been validated, you must display the classification sign generated by the procedure.

Your request for classification will be declined:

 – If the surface area of your Furniture, including kitchenette, is less than 12m2 or 9 m2 if the kitchen is separate.

– If the shower room and/or WC are not located inside the dwelling.

Steps

The Furnished of tourism is obligatorily the object of a declaration in town hall.

This number must be systematically affixed on your photos and advertisements.

The request for classification is made to organizations that have received accreditation from COFRAC (Comité Français d’Accréditation).

The organization validates your request and sends you a preliminary documentation.

The required elements :

– The declaration to the town hall and its Cerfa 14004-02 form.

– A note of commitment of confidentiality on the part of the inspection service provider.

– Form Cerfa 11819-03 of Furnished Tourism Classification.

– The Referentiel de_Classification.

1. Will allow you to position yourself realistically on your star category.

2. It will serve as a guide throughout the classification procedure.

– The Order Form of the Private Organization (on average 150 € to 200 € the visit), to be returned signed.

The investment is largely amortized over 5 years both in tourist taxes and tax relief, not to mention your guarantee of quality with prospective tourists.

Visit

You arrive prepared, after reading your Classification Reference (all categories).

The Reference System is explained in your Furniture Inspection Guide.

You agree on a date with the Inspector.

You prefer the dates when your occupancy rate is the lowest.

The visit lasts an average of 2 hours and is carried out in all the units.

Inform your clients beforehand to validate their authorization to visit your furnished property.

The inspection is based on 112 control criteria divided into 3 categories:

– Equipment and fittings.

– Services for holiday makers.

– Accessibility and sustainable development.

As with the hotel classification, the system is based on points, some « mandatory », others « à la carte » or « optional ».

To qualify for the 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 star category, the furnished accommodation must obtain a number of « mandatory » points and a number of « à la carte » points.

Unlike the hotel industry, you do not prepare a pre-diagnosis and do not determine the category of stars you claim.

It is at the end of his visit that the Inspector will share with you the criteria validated or not, as well as the category of stars you can claim.

If the Inspector believes that you are close to a 4* rating, for example, he will be able to advise you on what additional equipment you need to provide within a given time frame.

Case Study

This is from experience

During my visit by the accredited organization in Martinique (in this case, Gîtes de France), I had to review my copy to reach the desired 3* classification.

In equipment

I was missing toasters, toasters or steamers, bread knives, wine glasses, champagne glasses, aperitif glasses (2 glasses per person), adapters, lids, dishes, bowls, baby chair.

In service to holidaymakers

I was missing up-to-date English and French tourist brochures.

In accessibility and sustainable development

I lacked visibility on my sustainable actions brought to the attention of customers.

In the words of the Inspector:

However, it would be good if you could make an annex document with the gestures to be made in general during the holidaymakers’ stay: for example: Do not leave your waste on the beach, during walks avoid cutting species (flowers, plants) and respect the marked paths, do not leave plastic cups on the banks of rivers, avoid making fires on the beaches and forests etc. ». »

Within a legal period of 10 days, I :

– Purchased the above-mentioned equipment and returned to the Inspector the invoices relating to each purchase.

A slightly salty invoice (more than 500 €, especially due to toasters…), but an investment once and for all.

– Sent by e-mail a photo of the brochures in French and English recovered at the Tourist Office.

– Sent by e-mail a sustainable development guide inserted in my internal rules.

To date, I have dematerialized this information on a tablet that I make available to customers upon their arrival.

In the absence of these elements that arrived on time, I would have been classified Furnished 2*.

After Classification

Within 30 days, you will receive the official classification decision together with the inspection certificate (consisting of the inspection report for inspection firms and the grid for inspection firms).

Once the classification has been officialized, you order your official plaque to be affixed at the entrance of the accommodation.

You start the promotion of your tourist accommodation with the number of stars validated on all the desired supports.

You inform the representative tourist organization (Tourist Office) of your town or city.

Personal flat: to date and despite numerous reminders (8 months), the PATIO GALLIENI has not been updated as a classified furnished apartment on the Official Website of the Martinique Tourism Committee.

You inform your town hall of your classification for the impact on your tourist tax.

Control organisms :

Gîtes de France

https://www.gitesdefrance-martinique.com

05 96 73 74 74

Martinique Tourism Committee

5 avenue Loulou Boislaville

Lumina Tower – BP 7124

97276 FORT-DE-FRANCE CEDEX

05 96 61 61 77

Capitalize on Breakfast as a Furnished Rentals

Welcome à la Maison

As part of the WELCOME A LA MAISON Show, I was able to speak on the theme « Capitalizing on Breakfast » as a furnished tourist accommodation. I edited three articles on breakfast in the hotel sector.

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At first, I thought of duplicating the themes of the articles « Content », « Quality » and « Pricing » specific to the hotel breakfast. By digging its operational application to my own Furnished Tourism accommodation, the Patio Gallieni, I became aware of the off-topic.

Furnished tourist accommodation differs from other types of accommodation, especially hotels and tourist residences, because they are reserved for the exclusive use of the tenant, and do not include a reception desk or lobby or common services and facilities.

Breakfast can be mandatory in hotels

From 1 to 3 stars, Breakfast is optional. From 4 stars upwards, it becomes mandatory.  It is an expected prerequisite in the hotel sector.

As explained in the article « Content », it is the State that defines the number of ranges, and grants optional points in some cases.

Breakfast is a prerequisite for hotel classification. The classification is not compulsory.

However, to obtain it, breakfast is a condition of the Guide de Contrôle Hôtellerie Atout France.

Article 203. Breakfast in buffet or à la carte exceeding the threshold of the product range :

Minimum number of product ranges 1* = 6 ranges.

Minimum number of product ranges 2* = 8 ranges.

Minimum number of product lines 3* = 10 lines.

Minimum number of product lines 4* = 12 lines.

Minimum number of product lines 5* = 14 product lines.

Minimum presence of two products per range in 1*, 2*, 3*, 4*.

Minimum presence of three products per range in category 5*.

Among the « ranges » are the obligatory hot drinks (coffee, chocolate, tea, etc.), fruit juices, fresh fruit, cold meats, hot dishes, dairy products, cereals, cheese, jam and butter, pastries, bread, dried fruit or compotes, low-fat products, organic products.

Doubling the products in a single range is necessary, from 1* to 4*.

For example, if you offer charcuterie in 3*, you offer white ham and Bayonne ham.

In 5*, 3 ranges are required: you offer white ham, Bayonne ham and bacon.

Welcome a la Maison

Count as extra points: at least two products from regional production or fair trade or organic farming, a breakfast service on the terrace, a breakfast service in your room.

Breakfast is optional in Furnished Tourist Accommodation.

Contrary to the hotel business, breakfast is not a prerequisite for the classification

The Referentiel_de_classement_des Meublés does not even mention it!

Only the cooking equipment (microwave, toaster…) is mandatory and not necessarily related to the sole preparation of breakfast.

The Meublé can get rid of it, which it does very often, but wouldn’t the most appropriate thing be to revisit and capitalize on it?

To arbitrate between the pros and cons of Breakfast in Furnished Tourist Accommodation, what are the constraints of a classic Hotel Breakfast? Can the avoided constraint become an added value?

Capitalize on the experience of the Breakfast Hotel

In the hotel sector, the shortcomings of Breakfast are as follows:

In all cases :

Breakfast is time-consuming (personal time spent during the day for service and at night for training, supplier logistics, accounting).

Breakfast is expensive (staff salaries, perishable orders, storage space, no billing at check out).

If it is disappointing, breakfast reduces satisfaction and degrades e-reputation.

If it is qualitative, breakfast meets satisfaction and enhances the e-reputation.

The service of breakfast can be transformed by the Furnished, providing directly in the accommodation the food useful for consumption.

The concept of Le Meublé is comfort as at home. Breakfast is a friendly morning moment, easy to get out of bed. All that is left to do is to dig into the cupboard or refrigerator and use the items provided.

In the context of my breakfast, what equipment is mandatory in my furnished apartment?

CLASSIFICATION

ATOUT FRANCE

1 *

2 *

3 *

4 *

5 *

COFFEE MACHINE

X

X

X

X

X

BOUILLOIRE

X

X

X

X

TOASTER

X

X

X

MICROWAVE

X

X

X

BURNER

X

X

X

X

X

REFRIGERATOR

X

X

X

X

X

What breakfast product(s) do you recommend in bed and breakfast?

BREAKFAST

1*

2*

3*

4*

5*

BASE

Tea, Coffee, Chocolate, Milk powder

X

X

X

X

X

DRY

Crackers, Dried Fruits, Cereals

X

X

X

X

FRESH

Jams, Compotes, Butter, Fresh Fruits, Dairy Products, Fruit Juice

X

X

X

PREMIUM

Delicatessen, Light products, Organic products, Viennese pastries, Cheeses

X

X

Should breakfast be included in the initial rate or as an additional chargeable option?

If you are capitalizing on a Basic or Dry Breakfast, my recommendation is to include it in the rate.

The perceived added value is relatively low.

In the budget or budget hotel industry, many hotels have already taken the step and offer them « free ».

Although your type of accommodation differs from the hotel industry, not all customers perceive the difference.

The purchase costs are to be included in your pricing, which you raise slightly to break it down.

If you capitalize on a « Fresh » or « Premium » breakfast, my recommendation is to exclude it from the rate.

In this way you enhance its image and its exception since the added value is clearly perceived.

The other virtue is to allow you to forecast perishable foods and avoid food waste.

In case your customers don’t select it, you nevertheless offer the basic and dry levels in any case.

In any case, I invite you to regularly check your Breakfast Matter Ratio :

Breakfast consumables pucharchases (INITIAL STOCK – FINAL STOCK + DELIVERIES) /ACCOMMODATION Turnover

In 1* to 3*: Must not exceed 5% of the Hosting Sales.

In 4* to 5* : Must not exceed 10% of the Hosting turnover.

Is it necessary to propose a classic breakfast or rather one that reflects the Martinique culture?

The breakfast is in accordance with your identity and your welcome.

You have the choice not to make any, to propose the minimum, to propose the maximum.

It is certain that the more you give to live a local and authentic experience, the better you will value your clients who come to discover it.

However, this experience must be constant, regular and lasting, and if necessary, beware of the e-reputation. It is commendable to serve a bread with butter / local chocolate, fresh corossol juice, guava yoghurt.

But like Tatie Maryse, you have to be able to do it every morning! The Domaine des Bulles told us during the conference to devote one hour each morning to its remarkable « Premium » breakfast.

The difficulty of breakfast is not only to make quality, but to support it throughout the year, 365 days.

When it comes to « easy » products, such as lemongrass or cinnamon tea from your garden, beware of food responsibility.

What is worth feeding the family is not worth feeding the customers, in the context of consumer protection.

French regulations are strict. If you produce, transform, distribute food, your responsibility is directly engaged.

Yes to the local, purchased from a third party producer in compliance with food standards. It is your responsibility to make sure.

Finally, keep in mind that while some tourists are burning with curiosity to discover local specialties, others are totally indifferent to it, others are looking for a mix of two.

Culinary curiosity exists as much as resistance to change.

Be careful with the alternatives by proposing certainly cyther plum juice but also orange juice, certainly bread with local butter but also baguette.

Are there any particular standards to be respected (e.g. hygiene) for breakfast in a furnished apartment? Can my responsibility be engaged?

European and national regulations (DGCCRF) impose obligations on operators in the food sector.

They ensure the safety and wholesomeness of foodstuffs at all stages of their production, processing and distribution.  In Martinique, the prerogative is transferred to the DIECCTE.

What the law says: The restaurateur is bound by a safety obligation (art. L. 221-1 of the Consumer Code) and is civilly responsible for the products he supplies to the customer (art. 1245 and following of the new Civil Code).

The time limit for taking action is 5 years.

Liability for catering activities may be engaged at any time by the regulatory hygiene services.

Roadside markets are to be avoided: you are unlikely to be able to turn against your supplier.

HACCP is an acronym which means Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point.

In French, the acronym translates into Analyse des dangers – points critiques pour leur maîtrise.

HACCP is above all a method, a work tool, but is not a standard.

It makes it possible to control risks and to prove the restaurant owner’s good faith in the event of a food dispute.

  • Principle 1: Analyze the hazards.
  • Principle 2: Determine the critical points.
  • Principle 3: Set critical limits.
  • Principle 4: Establish monitoring actions.
  • Principle 5: Establish corrective actions.
  • Principle 6: Verification.
  • Principle 7: Recording.

3 concrete examples that I used in the hotel industry: HACCP CONTROL OF GOODS. HACCP CLEANING. HACCP TEMPERATURE RAISING.

Essential HACCP training courses exist in the area and last 2 days.

Why do you say that breakfast can have consequences on the e-reputation of my furnished apartment?

Villa Apolline has an exemplary local, international and varied breakfast.

The « Les délices d’Apolline » breakfast (it even has a first name!) offers a tasty mix of Creole cuisine and international products, spicy hot chocolate, freshly cut coconut water, seasonal tropical fruits, homemade jam, local and fair trade products. »

Villa Apolline

Out of 173 comments on Booking, 41 comments or 23% are devoted to breakfast.

Out of 37 Trip Advisor reviews, 4 comments or 11% are devoted to breakfast.

Critical volume of comments, enough to tip an e-reputation.

This will necessarily be influenced positively or negatively by breakfast.

It remains an expected standard of hospitality, an emotional human moment and its perception is never neutral.

The Unavoidable

Give preference in the offer to the products that are the most easily preserved.

The Charcuterie Range is not recommended : Limit Conservation : < 30 days, to be consumed 3 to 5 days after opening.

The Hot dish Range (omelette, fried eggs, scrambled eggs with bacon…) is to be left to the customer’s initiative who will cook it according to his taste and will take responsibility for its production.

Check your CSDs regularly, especially in the case of Fresh or Premium Breakfast (every day).

The next article will be about the Classification of Furnished Tourist Accommodation.

Choosing the Right Suppliers

In the context of a cruising speed operation or a hotel opening, the selection of suppliers may vary between routine necessity and the act of survival. Why neglect it? Perhaps perceived as random, time-consuming, or even subsidiary, the comparative study of suppliers is going to be one of the best moments of our day, thanks to three simple approaches.

• • • • • • • • •

A few quick techniques to compare and contrast your providers will seem as fun as sipping a coffee. A few months before a hotel opening, a pile of suppliers to benchmark is waiting on the desk.

Mattresses, sheets, sponges, hospitality products, coffee machines, washing machines, dryers, breakfast, wine list, dishes, PMS, Channel manager, Webmaster, Laundry…The list is not exhaustive, is it ever to make the most of an establishment?

In this article, I share with you the three most amusing examples of benchmarks, with three different and complementary approaches.

A benchmark has a simple objective: in a specific context, to help you make the best decision.

1. Laundry, Cost Approach

When an item has a strong impact on the operating account (>10% of variable or fixed costs), it is preferable to give priority to the cost criterion.

Laundry (cleaning of sheets and sponges) is one of these very greedy budget lines.

For linen (sheets, mattresses, pillowcases), put external cleaning and linen rental in competition with each other.

Use the in-house cleaning method if you do not have a dedicated laundry area (this budget is often to be excluded in hotels where every square meter counts).

From the outset, narrow your selection down among the referenced launderers, such as the Cercle du Propre, a network of external cleaning professionals.

You can be assured of continuous, high-quality service from a trusted service provider.

Laundry is too vital in a hotel establishment to avoid a pre-selection, already carried out by the professionals who make up the network.

Case study

For laundry, the cost criteria is the most important.

Linen cleaning (flat sheets, fitted sheets, pillowcases, comforters, bolsters)

At the QOC, I excluded the method of internalization of cleaning because there is no space available for it.

It is calculated that :

  • the external cleaning of the linen would amount to 127 000 €.
  • instead of 210 000 € for the linen rental.
  • for the first two years of operation.

You can find and use the Comparative Linen Methodology.

I reinforced this economic choice by the presence of a full-time housekeeper, who constantly checked the shipments and returns of linen.

Without a prior and a posteriori control, external cleaning can drastically reduce your original stocks.

Some unavoidable losses are to be considered in the context of careful control. They are, however, minor compared to the economic delta of the operating account.

To make it easier to locate and identify our linen, we have customized it by the linen supplier, in accordance with our COQ image, Made in France.

We certainly reinforced the axis of our communication, first of all, for concerns of good economic management.

Cleaning of Sponges (face towels, bath towels, bath mats)

I made a similar comparison between internal cleaning (we had a smaller space dedicated to this possibility, with washing and drying machines), external cleaning and rental.

It is arbitrated that internal cleaning is the most economically advantageous:

  • 24,000 € for the first two years.
  • instead of 56 000 € for external cleaning of sponges.
  • instead of 80 000 € for the rental of sponges.
  • for the first two years of operation.

You can find and use the Comparative Sponges Methodology.

Acquiring a washing machine and a dryer seemed to me the most profitable solution over the next two years.

The equipment allowed a reactive and autonomous washing and drying from the suppliers.

Six months later, I realized my wrong selection.

I hadn’t measured the overall cost impact: the redundant use of the washing machine without a limescale filter in Paris was gradually greying the sponges.

This waste of hard water meant that we had to buy back the entire stock. The installation of the filter on the washing machine had not been costed and it was consequent a posteriori.

On the other hand, I hadn’t calculated the work imposed by the counting and folding of the towels either. The time of the breakfast lady was dedicated to this activity, instead of contributing to the cleaning of the rooms.

Thanks to the Sponges Methodology spreadsheet, I was able to revise my copy and re-arbitrate between internal and external cleaning on the basis of hotel occupancy.

A benchmark does not exclude casting errors, it allows you to review your choices quickly and methodically.

For heavy operating lines, the cost criterion is decisive.

2. Bedding, Quality Approach

There are budget lines that represent so much of the quality of an institution that it doesn’t matter how expensive or cheaper it is.

The most important thing is to maximize customer satisfaction.

The Quality criteria is intended to carry the most weight in the choice of these suppliers and products.

Bedding is, in my opinion, the most iconic example of Quality in an establishment.

The hotelier sells above all an ultra-serene, ultra-comfortable sleep. The Quality of the mattresses is to be assured at all costs.

Case Study

On the first spreadsheet, Comparative Methodology Mattresses, I have assembled the functions that seemed to me determining in terms of Quality,

by comparing the three selected competitors.

By selecting three discriminating quality criteria highlighted in yellow in the Method :

– the after-sales service, in this case the most important in case of deterioration of the mattresses, which would handicap the sale of the room.

– The carcass synonymous with the quality and durability of the product.

– The « Icon » function, which is the story we would tell our customers after their night’s sleep about their mattress.

A flagship product of the room is to be selected according to its tangible quality and to the dream function inherent to a night in a hotel.

50 professional mattresses and box springs do not have a neutral impact on cash flow and depreciation.

To be completed by a Comparative Bedding Rate where the rates before and after two negotiations are summarized.

The heaviest criterion was indeed the quality, but the cost, although secondary, could not be excluded for a global photograph.

In this case, I arbitrated in favor of the provider Nid d’Or for its quality:

– Product: Its functions were the most advanced.

– After-sales service: The sales representative was constantly moving from one hotel to another when necessary.

Fortunately, its rates were the most attractive: icing on the cake.

On strategic products, prices are always negotiable but it is the quality criterion that prevails.

3. The Amenities, Brand Image Approach

At the COQ, my selection turned towards the value of “Home sweet home ».

While Amenities (Hospitality Products) are particularly appealing to the customer, they don’t have the availability or the reflex to learn about the brand and buy it.

In the spirit of the Hotel as at Home, the Host will inform you about the products they use and is always open to share their tips.

We have developed with the signature Rituals in Holland and the local Parisian supplier One Touch their very first Hotel partnership.

The COQ guest always has in his room a coupon for a 20% discount on all Rituals products in the Boutique,

5 minutes from the Hotel, at Printemps Place d’Italie.

At Patio Gallieni, I wanted to develop strong partnerships with local providers.

The building is in the heart of Fort-de-France. Our moto is the easy and true discovery of Martinique in the North and South, without omitting the heart of the city.

I sourced the welcome products from a local supplier, the Savonnerie Antillaise, which exclusively promotes local production.

Made in Martinique, they are scented with local lime, aloe, pineapple, guava, coconut.

The plastic packaging and unit packaging is nevertheless regrettable.

The offer of a Dispenser and liquid soap in bulk is indispensable in the inevitable sustainable tourism.

Your suppliers or service providers are above all in your image on the products that your customers use.

Amenities (hospitality products) give a deep meaning to the Brand Image.

On the products that are directly subject to customer perception, priority is given to the Brand Image of your hotel.

The Essentials

Justify your choice with the rejected suppliers in your benchmark: it’s a second chance for them … and for you.

A supplier rejected one day can become your best future supplier: don’t hesitate to renew your benchmarks every year.

Share your benchmarks with your hotel competitors: a grouped negotiation is worth hundreds.

Invite your suppliers to share moments in your hotel: they will often give it back to you with equivalent gestures.

In a future article, we will consider the methods of Prospecting Company Clients, essential to the mattress of your occupancy rate.

Breakfast An Important Event # 1 – Content

Breakfast is an important event. We know this moment is crucial for guests. We notice its positive or negative impact, rarely neutral, on our e-reputation. Its content, its quality, its identity doesn’t flow naturally. We often think about how it evolves and how to diversify it. When opening a business, it is sometimes a blank slate. Rest assured : this is completely normal. We are hotelkeepers and not restaurateurs.

• • • • • • • • 

This article and the two forthcoming answer the topics:

– What content for my breakfast? (# 1).

– What level of quality to commit to? (# 2).

– What rate to apply? (# 3).

At the end of this article regarding the content of a breakfast, you will be able to easily identify the favorable foods. The suggested method is based on:

  • Your guests (nationalities and leisure-business segmentation).
  • Your hotel classification.
  • Your ability to make your client travel…to your local setting.

1. Your guests

Top Nationalities

Breakfast is, above all, a matter of taste. Remember trips outside sweet France. What are your breakfast experiences? Good surprises, of course, discoveries, astonishment to tell and share. You might also remember breakfasts that were less to your taste, such as sock water coffee in the US, very sweet pastries in Portugal, raw fish in Japan.

The breakfast of a traveler is a delicate balance between their daily routine and their curiosity about the destination. Our guests are delighted to taste our croissants, that they dreamed about. They still have eating habits and an attachment to their homemade breakfast. Taking this factors into consideration allows them to feel at home. They cherish our baguette and they have their experience.

Let’s start by building our content. Starting from our database -> Guests -> « Nationalities ». I suggest a PMS extraction on an annual basis and over the last three years. You get the list and top nationalities. Some hotels will clearly see one nationality stand out, others will note two. When two clienteles prevail, we can combine them in our mix according to their proportion. If a clientele clearly stands out, I suggest you favor it.

Tastes are changing, and establishing a food listing by nationality is utopian. There are many informative blogs and websites (thought the methodology is questionable) on the likes and dislikes of Europeans, Chinese and Americans when it comes to breakfast. They are inspiring if we refer to the idea rather than following them by the book. Overall, there is a clear trend among the Chinese, the Danes, the English for savory breakfasts; among the French, the Italians who have a preference for sweet; and the Americans, the Spanish, the English combine salty and sweet flavors.

Case Study

I am a Parisian hotelkeeper, my clientele is predominantly Chinese. I have seen it in my operations, and my PMS confirms. I research the likes and dislikes of my top nationality on the internet. I don’t hesitate to interview my open-minded clients to corroborate. I take note of their tastes first: Chinese people drink a lot of green tea and soy milk in the morning. In China, they eat primarily salty flavors (noodles, tofu, egg pancakes, stuffed breads, etc.). I also note their dislikes: the Chinese are put off by strong cheese. They have a clear preference for processed cheese like  gouda and mozzarella. Finally, I take note of the evolution of their tastes: the Chinese seem to appreciate more and more dairy products, thus sweetening their usual breakfast.

Armed with this intel, I put together a realistic breakfast content. I offer a variety of hot drinks (including green tea for the Chinese without excluding black tea), I add soy milk, which my other customers will also appreciate. For side dishes, I don’t know how to make tofu pudding or dim sum, let alone stir-fried noodles. On the other hand, my omelet (which I can garnish with mushrooms, tomatoes) is quite similar to the traditional egg pancake. I offer additional savory dishes: potato salad, tomato-mozzarella salad. I noticed that a majority of customers are starting to appreciate yogurt. I favor cow milk rather than goat milk that has a strong smell. Finally, here in Paris, my strengths are my fresh bread and my pastries. I add them to my buffet to satisfy all of my customers.

Case study

This is a personal experience.

When I was manager at COQ Hôtel, most of the clientele was domestic. When I opened, I didn’t have a database to identify my nationalities, so I surveyed the establishments in my neighborhood. (#vide statistics). I put my focus on typical French taste products. (remember: the sweet). There were three large jars of jams, cottage cheese, muesli, dried fruit, pastries and fruit at the buffet. The cheese and ham platters satisfied our other customers, especially Americans. The coffee, specially dosed for the COQ, was a 100% Arabica blend to our taste for strong coffees, without necessarily being too strong.

Business / Leisure segmentation

I will not dwell on this paragraph, because this subject is mastered by hotelkeepers.

A few notes:

If you have a predominantly leisure clientele, I recommend room service. Breakfast time is too mush of a hassle to getting ready and be presentable when we are on vacation. We have plenty of time to go about our business and we are taking it.

If Corporates dominate your segmentation, I recommend adding an « express » breakfast. When we travel for business, priority is the timing of our meetings. The express breakfast (hot drink, pastries, fresh juice), more and more widespread, is an excellent adjustment to the constraints of customers in a hurry. This formula, which defies setup time, has the advantage of starting earlier for morning departures.

Either way, breakfast for kids is a must, as parents (your guests) are affected. In addition, you free them from the worry of paying a full priced breakfast and allow them to enjoy it. (compote, fruit juice, yogurt, cereals for example, all organic).

I copied in italic the Atout France Control Guide that refer to these points.

Article 203. Buffet or à la carte breakfast exceeding the threshold of the range of products

Minimum number of product ranges 1 * = 6 ranges

Minimum number of product ranges 2 * = 8 ranges

Minimum number of product ranges 3 * = 10 ranges

Minimum number of product ranges 4 * = 12 ranges

Minimum number of product ranges 5 * = 14 ranges

Minimum presence of two products per range in 1 *, 2 *, 3 *, 4 *.

Minimum presence of three products per range in category 5 *.

Are you a 4 * establishment? A minimum of 12 ranges are to be expected. You can add one line, or even two, but you cannot offer less. Doubling the products in a single range is necessary, from 1 * to 4 *. For example, if you offer charcuterie (delicatessen) in 3 *, you offer ham and Bayonne ham. In 5 *, 3 ranges are required: you present ham, Bayonne ham and bacon.

Additional points count: at least two products regionally produced or from fair trade or organic farming, breakfast service on the terrace, breakfast room service.

3. Your Identity

With a realistic observation of your nationalities, you positioned the basic ingredients for your breakfast. You have listed the content in range to comply with your classification.

Once the basics of guest expectations and classification have been mastered, draw your identity around this moment. Improvise and positively surprise your guests. Spread the DNA of your establishment on this sweet meal!

Case study

This is a personal experience. The COQ’s philosophy was to offer guests a « just like home” experience. The presentation of the buffet was based on the generosity of a friendly and family breakfast, the products were presented quite elegantly but in bulk, the jars and the dishes recalled home. Except for the butter (I should have gone for the big clod at the time ..), nothing was packaged nor echoed « hotel breakfast ». It was a “breakfast at home”set up.

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If your hotel theme is Paris, opt for macaroons. If your hotel is arty, opt for explosive muffins! Each hotel is unique and it’s your touch that your guest expects at their first meal of the day.

Must Do’s

The Database: The Cardex’s are regularly updated in terms of nationalities and customer segmentation. I suggest you assign to the staff a predefined segmentation in the PMS: during the check in, a display parameterized by default of the Corporate segments, to change if necessary in Leisure, and beyond our subject: Individual to change if necessary in Groups, Indirect to change if necessary to Direct.

Generate interest

Have a conversation with your staff about breakfasts around the world, especially those that marked you the most. By researching or traveling, the staff will make the link to understanding the concern for satisfaction.

Feed of feedback

In our post-stay surveys, replace the question « Were you satisfied with the breakfast » with two questions: « What components of the breakfast appealed to you the most? « , » What would you like to have for breakfast? (Indirectly asking what did you miss). Offer a free text response to then flag by product range: fresh fruit, pastries .., then by type: hot dish, cold dish, by flavor: sweet, salty …

We can now offer a tailored breakfast to our customers, in accordance with our identity and the category of the establishment.

Article # 2 will be dedicated to the “quality” of breakfast.

See you next week.