So many licenses, so many ways to fall behind
It’s easy for hotels in Chicago to fall out of compliance, as they must maintain a multitude of permits and licenses. When this happens, it can cause a ripple effect of problems that can feel like there is no end in sight. Beyond the expenses of addressing licensing or building code violations, bigger costs can come when hotels aren’t able to operate certain services, cutting down on revenue until the compliance issues are resolved. Moreover, there are negative effects on staff when the “blame game” happens because a manager, often in the dark, forgets to renew a license.
A hotel is a complex business in so many ways with employees responsible for so many different functions to keep the property running, profitable, and providing great guest experiences. Managing compliance may not be a general manager’s core responsibility and thus it often slips through the cracks to the point that can cause real damage to the business.
How hotels can fall out of compliance resulting in building code violations
Upwards of one hundred licenses and permits are required in hotels, many of which need to renewed as frequently as each year. When you add up all the licenses and their different renewal dates, it’s a lot to keep track of even for the smallest hotels. Additional issues happen when building code violations occur that go unnoticed. This happens when inspectors show up at a property and don’t tell anyone that they are coming or that they had been there. Unannounced inspections can cause real problems for hotels, especially when the violations are not addressed in a timely manner. When time lapses on these building code violations, penalties can mount, causing what can be substantial resources required to finally resolve them.
How MAPS Tracker works
Imagine you're the general manager of a hotel with hundreds of guest rooms. Like many hotels, you have mini-bars, multiple restaurants, catering services, and other amenities that require licenses. There are a lot of aspects to running a hotel, so it’s easy for a general manager to miss a letter calling for the renewal of a liquor license, and when this happens, alcoholic beverage services must be shut down. City staff don't work on weekends, but your hotel does. If the restaurants can't sell beer, the hotel can't make money.
A client came to us to help them prevent this kind of situation. They were familiar with our technological capabilities and knew we had a deep understanding of the licensing and permitting process. We built a program around a database of the client’s licenses, embedded the expiration dates of each one, and set up automated email notifications to be sent to responsible contacts prior to expiration. The email notifications are continually sent at 90, 60, and 30 days out, and additional ones within the 30 days until the license has been renewed. We update the database as changes are made by the city, setting in motion the renewals for the following year, as well as answer questions as they come during the process.
When required, we use FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) to find out if any building code violations exist that aren’t in the city’s database or have an outdated status. As part of this product, we scan the full set of the client’s licenses and potential violations, and provide additional permit expediting services, business code consulting, or negotiate at city hall, if required, as to what the violation is and how to resolve it.
What you don’t know can hurt you
There are so many things to keep track of when staying complaint at a hotel. It’s difficult for any business to stay on top of this stuff, know who to talk to, what the process is, which forms are required, etc. This kind of thing is our day job – we live and breathe it to ensure your healthy business stays that way. Through MAPS Tracker, we have automated much of permit and license renewal process to give you confidence that there aren’t any building code violations or expirations lurking out there that can cause serious issues for your business.
A superior solution with a real track record of keeping ahead of compliance issues
Since developing this systematic tracking system over three years ago and helping our client realize measurable results we have expanded its utility to allow any business to use it. While we have shown here the positive impact in the hospitality industry, it is particularly applicable to other businesses that must maintain several permits and licenses to operate. The monthly subscription is an easy-to-use and a low-cost solution that keeps companies ahead of the game. For more information and to contact us, please see MAPS Tracker at https://www.map-strategies.com/maps-technology/