Management

Be proactive with your property’s external maintenance

When a guest catches the first glimpse of your establishment, what impression do you think it makes?

Does your exterior ‘wow’ them? If not, what does this say about you, your staff, your accommodation and ultimately the quality of your business?

It is true that the way your property is presented; its appearance dictates its reputation and this can be a good or a bad thing, depending on whether you take adequate advantage. First impressions count; if the externals of your building are at all tired-looking, your guests will perceive it as neglected and will struggle to have confidence in you, the accommodation provider.

The good news, however, is that you are more than able to rectify this. If your property’s appearance is giving off negative vibes, change it.

Even if your internal environment is incredibly presentable and your staff are incredibly talented customer service providers, you are not guaranteed business success or positive online reviews.

Does the somewhat tatty external condition of your accommodation really matter that much? The answer, according to environmental psychology, is yes!

Environmental psychology focuses on the interplay between humans and their environment; study after study has highlighted links between human behaviours and human environments. Simply put, humans respond better, learn more, work harder, are happier and generally better behaved when they are in comfortable, clean, well-maintained environments.

Take graffiti, for example, even innocuous or minor graffiti has a negative impact on a person’s feeling of safety and well-being. It is not just unsightly; it creates a perception (whether justified or not) that crime is on the rise and that gangs are possibly in the area. When graffiti appears and is not removed immediately, it sends the signal that people just don’t care, which in turn attracts more graffiti. This human behaviour is very telling; that a badly maintained environment will make people more care less about how they behave towards that environment. An environment perceived as unloved, creates a “couldn’t care less” attitude in your guests that may increase damage and hasten the decay of your property.

Human behaviour is not the only thing that destroys an environment; years of exposure to our harsh Australian climate not only ages our skin but will age buildings as well. In this challenging environment, paintwork fades and peels quickly, roof tiles come loose, concrete pavements and driveways crack, and more. Coastal buildings suffer greatly from salt damage, with rust commonly causing problems, and city dwellings suffer from environmental pollution and acid rain. In addition to the sun damage, Australia’s harsh and sometimes freakish weather events greatly punish the externals of our buildings. In short, just like your body, buildings will degrade over time and when neglected will lose admirers, business and eventually require costly repairs.

Implementing a regular schedule of planned maintenance undertaken by experts who can assess, clean, paint and repair is the answer to your potentially inevitable maintenance nightmare. These maintenance experts have all the proper equipment, know what products to use on what areas and when. Consider your external paintwork: it is a well-known fact that if your building is washed externally every year, the life of your paintwork will be extended by three to four years.

The need to maintain your building’s paint work can therefore not be stressed enough. Everyone knows they should clean their car regularly to protect its paintwork so why wouldn’t clean your painted building regularly as well? A typical painting maintenance program would usually be planned to take place for the next six to seven years depending on the location and size of the building, and would consist of a full repaint in the first year, with an annual paint cleaning and maintenance service thereafter.

Paintwork is not the only priority though; windows and gutters must also be regularly cleaned. Sparkling clean windows are a joy; they let in light and give clarity to beautiful views. Cluttered gutters are not only a bush fire risk but can cause leaks and create filthy walls and windows. A good maintenance program will regularly clean windows and gutters; depending on the type of location and amount of trees nearby, this should be done at least twice yearly.

It is vital to ensure that your pavements, paths and driveways are in great shape. Not just because they are the very first impressions your property emanates, but for health and safety reasons. Your guests should not be faced with trip or slip hazards from dirty or uneven paths and potholes. The surface of these areas should be regularly cleaned and always well maintained.

A team of maintenance staff who regularly check and improve your environment will also prevent and repair any damage caused by inimitable Australian pests and animals who may sneak in. Being proactive with your building’s maintenance will prevent damage so that you and your guests can enjoy peace of mind.

Apart from increasing the aesthetic value of your building, proper building maintenance also ensures the safety your building’s inhabitants. Just like a healthy diet and exercise program that has been proven to extend your life cycle, a good schedule of preventive maintenance from a recommended property maintenance company will preserve and enhance the life cycle of your property. So before the passage of time and weather elements wear your property out, be proactive and make some enquiries to recommended maintenance providers. And remember that beautifully maintained externals will help give you a stellar reputation.

You want to be the accommodation provider that takes great care of its environment as well as its guests.

Rosie Clarke

Rosie Clarke is managing editor at Multimedia Publishing.

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