Operating a luxury resort is never easy. Providing demanding guests a joyful and memorable experience requires an army of well-trained and dedicated staff. The technical facilities of the hotel must be in perfect order. Customers demand a hot bath in a cool room, they hate getting stuck in the elevator, and they expect the lights to be on at night. And not to mention the Internet access. It is clear that a five-star hotel cannot do without reliable electrical power, but guests are often oblivious to the task of keeping it on. The only time the guests take notice is when the power fails and the lights go out; a chief engineer’s nightmare! Power is the number one priority of a hotel’s chief engineer.
We are proud to have several high-profile luxury hotels among our customers in Africa. These hotels are in countries where the power supply is unreliable, and outages are common. For example, one of these clients operates a hotel in Chad and asked us to come over to service their diesel generators. Not only are the generators essential for the hotel’s electricity supply, but the engines also provide the heat for the hot water supply. As expected, the diesel engines had worked hard over time, and the heat and dust had taken their toll on the equipment.
Good preparation is essential for this type of a maintenance job. In close cooperation with the hotel’s chief engineer, our back office determined what work was required, and then we ordered all parts and materials for the job and shipped them to the site. Don’t underestimate this part of the job. Getting parts on site in many African countries is not an easy task, and Chad is no exception. Shipping from our warehouse is easy, but getting it through customs and then on site in one piece is another story. If you find that parts are broken or missing once you start the job, you can expect long delays. Selecting parts, packing properly, and preparing the correct shipping documents are all essential to ensure the job is done right and on schedule.
Once all the parts arrived, we started with the on-site service work. After giving the equipment a good rinse, we inspected it. One by one we dismantled the diesel engines. We replaced worn-out components, checked all the settings, and re-built the engine. Then, we tested the installation to make sure everything was working well. As the finishing touch, we provided a fresh coat of paint. This made the installation look neat and tidy, which was perk, but it also made it easier to see if a seal was leaking so we could fix it before it got worse. But the main advantage of a fresh coat of paint? The operators would take better care of it; when it is crisp and clean it is an installation that makes them (and us) proud.
This is a trick we learned from a chief engineer who was a former navy officer. He treated his hotel like a vessel and operated his crew like an army. If you are out on the ocean you are on your own. The equipment must be in good working condition all the time because help is far away. This mentality worked like clockwork, and it is the exact mentality you need to run a luxury resort in an environment short of anything but dust and heat.
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