Twenty feet of snow, 120-degree temperatures, and a pandemic: Xanterra’s maintenance challenges

truck removing snow

August 25, 2020

If you’ve ever had to schedule repairs or upkeep hours away from your maintenance facility, you know the importance of visibility into your team, their locations, their certifications and experience, available tools and spare parts, external conditions, and equipment history. Now add in a pandemic, and the need to be ready for anything becomes urgent.

Xanterra has become expert at assessing maintenance needs ahead of time in order to most efficiently schedule service. The Xanterra Travel Collection is a group of global hospitality and travel companies, offering upscale biking, walking, railway, cruising, sailing, touring, and hotel itineraries and lodging on six continents. One of its companies traces its history back over 100 years.

The company’s properties pose unique challenges, in some cases requiring special expertise for historic assets like mule liveries and boiler rooms. Many buildings are more than 100 years old. At Glacier National Park Lodges, the guest rooms are three hours away from the maintenance facility. In some cases, the hospitality season is very short; a property digs out from 12 to 20 feet of snowpack, turns on the cash registers, and then has to close again quickly when the snow returns.

All of these special requirements present challenges even under the most normal of circumstances. Now, like other companies, Xanterra has had to adjust to handling their maintenance requirements while adopting new ways of working in a world changed by the pandemic.

Some routine questions in this new world may include:

  • Who in our organization needs personal protective gear and are they using it properly?
  • How should we restructure breakrooms and schedules?
  • What are the right frequency and documentation methods for restroom cleaning?
  • Can we make condition assessments mobile and capture the information electronically?
  • Do we have visibility into who’s been trained and certified in certain procedures?
  • Can we get people up to speed quickly on new and ever-changing requirements?

Running their enterprise asset management solution, Infor EAM, in the cloud has allowed Xanterra to improve maintenance efficiency, and to rebuild safe and compliant workspaces.

“We’re more connected now,” says Bill Sherwood, director of project management at Xanterra. “Our IT department used to put a ton of time into updates and patches. Now, if it’s broken, we open a support ticket instead of trying to fix it ourselves. And our processes are more streamlined, with fewer clicks, fewer steps, and fewer redundant processes. We can spend their time on more valuable things.”

Each of Xanterra’s properties individually manages its EAM use due to unique conditions. In Death Valley, for instance, the temperature routinely reaches 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and power outages and windstorms aren’t uncommon.

“The way we use EAM is constantly evolving as our needs change,” says Sherwood. “We are using it to identify gaps in our maintenance programs. Right now, with the pandemic causing restrictions on vendors being onsite, we have been examining how solid our checklists are so we can do the work ourselves if necessary.”

Adds Kevin Price, technical product evangelist and strategist at Infor: “The key to survival in today’s maintenance operations environment is to optimize how assets and technology interact.”

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