The decision to outsource is one that has become ever more popular in recent years, largely due to its convenience, flexibility and quality control.
Empire Hospitality Australia and AHS Hospitality are two companies that offer outsourcing to hotels and various accommodation properties across the country. A look at each of these sheds some light on the whole process and highlights outsourcing hospitality as an option for those properties currently unaware of the benefits.
Empire Hospitality was established in 2001 to fill the strong demand for highly trained professional housekeeping staff within the industry. The foundation of the company is its passion for excellence in training, service and delivery. “We ensure that we always strive to exceed our client’s expectations. We have built an enviable reputation as a market leader in hospitality cleaning services by providing site-specific delivery to each of our individual clients as we understand their varying needs and expectations.”
Empire insists that its focus on delivering cost-effective housekeeping services and continuous pursuit of service excellence has established its success. “Our success is drawn from our pro-active attitude and partnership approach with our clients to ensure the highest standard of delivery is maintained.”
AHS Hospitality on the other hand is the largest provider of outsourcing labour services to the industry in Australia. “We have been operating for 20 years, we service approximately 170 hotels in every state and territory and are responsible for servicing more than eigh million hotel rooms every year.”
Its clients include nearly all-large, international and domestic hotel chains that operate within Australia. “We can provide hotels labour for housekeeping, laundries, porters, kitchens and almost anything else they need.”
Empire also currently has a team of trained housekeeping staff made up of professional room attendants, house-persons, public area cleaners, turn down attendants, uniform and linen room attendants, supervisors, assistant executive housekeepers and executive housekeepers. “We have the infrastructure to ensure the smooth and efficient running of any hotel,” the company states.
In terms of staffing levels, “Outsourcing is without comparison the most flexible and reliable staffing model that an accommodation provider can utilise,” according to AHS.
In this way, accommodation providers pay AHS a price per room so that if only one room is sold, it only provides the labour to clean that one room. In turn, if 1000 rooms are sold, it provides the labour to clean 1000 rooms. In addition, as AHS is one of the largest hospitality employers in Australia with over 5000 trained hospitality staff currently working in its client properties, they have the critical mass and staffing capabilities to cover any contingency, any occupancy, 24 hours a day. “All of our staff are managed by our operations team who are solely dedicated to managing housekeeping departments for the hospitality industry and meet with our hotel managers regularly to respond to any requests or initiatives immediately.”
Similarly Empire specialises in providing all levels of highly trained housekeeping staff to hotels, resorts and serviced apartments. “We have the infrastructure to ensure the smooth and efficient running of your hotel. We have effective retention programs in place to ensure consistency in our delivery of service.”
Julben Serrano, business development manager at Empire Hospitality offers several reasons as to why accommodation providers should invest in outsourcing. The first of these is that outsourcing will improved the quality of your service, as he states, “Achieve a step change in quality through contracting out the service with a new service level agreement”.
Knowledge is another terrific reason, as outsourcing would provide the property with “access to intellectual property and wider experience and knowledge”. Operational expertise would also develop according to Mr Serrano, “Access to operational best practice that would be too difficult or time consuming to develop in-house as we have access to talent, access to a larger talent pool and a sustainable source of skills”.
One crucial benefit to accommodation providers would be cost savings. “The lowering of the overall cost of the service to the business would occur because even though experts or specialists might not come cheap to hire directly, by outsourcing you basically share the overhead cost.”
More explicitly according to Mr Serrano, “The client is able to save on their housekeeping costs by eliminating all of their fixed costs attributable to housekeeping, as well as additional costs that are associated with running the housekeeping department. They are also able to eliminate all costs associated with payroll – wages, leave entitlements, superannuation, worker’s compensation, payroll tax, sick leave, award conditions, annual leave, administration costs and public liability. Costs associated with recruitment and training is also eliminated. All staff members are thoroughly trained and experienced in the hospitality industry. Plus the fact that indirect costs that are difficult to quantify, such as staff maintenance and wellbeing are no longer a problem for the accommodation provider.
Steven Tochner, the executive director of AHS Hospitality further elaborated on some of the benefits of outsourcing. “In Australia, outsourcing is the perfect model for reducing risk, managing a large labour force, producing consistent quality, saving money and gaining more control over an accommodation provider’s labour operations.”
From a risk point of view, he claims that accommodation providers have never been in a more precarious position when it comes to industrial relations, human resources, workplace health and safety, and all of the legislation and costs surrounding those key areas. “By having the staff employed by another provider, these risks are substantially reduced. Likewise, the restrictions and challenges around managing a large workforce from recruitment, training, induction, payroll, etc are all eliminated when the staff are outsourced.”
AHS is a vastly sized company that, according to Mr Tochner, has “developed procedures and processes that produce consistent quality from region to region and hotel to hotel”. Financially speaking, the accommodation providers “all save money through outsourcing as these savings continue throughout the life of the relationship; savings can vary from 5% to 10% or more of in-house labour costs”.
Finally, yet another reason for hotels to outsource, Mr Tochner claims, is that “flexibility in rosters and staffing levels is only possible through an outsourcing arrangement, allowing hotels to fluctuate their labour in line with occupancy, demand, high and low seasons or simply by day of the week”.
As far as quality levels go, outsourcing is better able to raise and keep to standards. AHS build their operating models individually for each client based on particular needs, benchmarks and required standards. “The quality results are jointly monitored by both the accommodation provider and AHS and reviewed weekly. Any required adjustments are then implemented by AHS and reviewed jointly.”
AHS has developed a comprehensive quality assurance program to cover everything from induction and training to cleaning procedures and operating policies to ensure that all staff are well equipped to succeed in their positions.
In the same way, Empire guarantees the quality of their housekeeping. “We provide a housekeeping service that is of a five star standard and we pride ourselves on the quality we deliver to the hotel and their guests.” Their management team is all hospitality trained and widely experienced in providing the best quality of service required only in the hospitality industry. “Our passion for the industry is evident through our success in having the largest and finest accommodation provider groups in Australia as our clients.”
Empire’s success is drawn from it pro-active attitude and partnership approach; its management is onsite daily to ensure the smooth running of all housekeeping operations. “This daily interaction between Empire Hospitality and our clients ensures that the client’s objectives are always exceeded.”
Almost all of AHS’s partnerships are also long term and very successful. “We have been working with most of our hotel partners for more than ten years, many almost 20 years.”
Its management teams are mostly made up of accommodation managers that understand the hospitality industry and can therefore manage an outsourced hospitality department effectively”.
Taking into account the notions of quality assurance, flexibility in staff, time and cost effectiveness, and the ease in working partnerships, outsourcing hospitality could certainly be a positive change for many accommodation providers.