1.1 Background of the study

With globalization in full speed and people continually traveling abroad to and from different countries, the hotel industry faces many challenges in accommodating these different cultural influences (Seo, 2007). The hotel industry is a very competitive business in which customers place great emphasis on reliability and timely service delivery. The vision of all such businesses is to provide quality high class to customers in order to successfully thrive and achieve their mission. Top management can build high-performance cultures by their efforts to create organizational climate devoted to quality and their active involvement in promoting quality by engaging the workforce and establishing lasting relationships with customers (James, 2011).

Maintenance is the effort in connection with different technical and administrative action to keep a physical asset, or restore it to a condition where it can perform a required function. Maintenance is also seen as restoring to or retain to a state in which an item can perform an initially specified function and all actions aimed towards this are maintenance activities Maintenance is an investment because resources are spent today to do maintenance in order to reduce cost or get higher benefits in the future as compared to if the resources are not spent. However despite this opinion maintenance is generally separated from true investment because it is a matter of restoring an old function or keeping up an old function. A decision maker for maintenance should think in terms of how to keep informed, how to take decision, and consideration of the fact that the future is uncertain, therefore there is need for future planning.

The concept of maintenance favours minor changes and where it is possible to know in advance the rationale to do. It is also suitable for an industry characterized with more rapid changes on its specific building structure. Hotels need minor renovations because this industry is influenced by technological and societal changes. Generally, hotels are complex and costly when it comes to maintenance with various uses of spaces that have different schedules and uses for guest rooms, restaurants, health club, swimming pool, retail store and each has a functional engineering system required for its maintenance. Maintenance therefore has to be done throughout the year, requiring competent staff to undertake building services, operation and maintenance, supplemented by outsourced contractors. In the hospitality industry the maintenance of the engineering systems is important despite its complex processes as its effectiveness will directly affect the quality of hotel services, which have direct and significant effect on guests’ impression of the hotel. As such, the development of a suitable maintenance strategy is gaining publicity, greater reliance is placed on it to keep high system availability and achieve acceptable environmental conditions for the occupants.

Of the three core consumer products in the hotel: accommodation and food and beverage, accommodation standard significantly affect the customer satisfaction and inclination to return. Maintenance management also plays a main role in improving energy efficiency and keeping the total costs optimal. The costs of operating and maintaining the engineering systems, in particular the in-house manpower, out-source contractors, energy consumption and equipment deterioration, must be properly monitored and controlled. Among the commonly adopted strategy in the hotel industry is outsourcing, which managers use to squeeze operating costs in a tough business environment. The purpose of such a strategy is to improve productivity, increase revenues; lower operating costs, and reduces risk. It allows hotel to focus efforts on its core competency and strengthen its ability to adapt in the ever-changing business environment.

The trend in Nigeria today is that facilities maintenance and sustenance must be geared up in all the sectors of the economy, hotels inclusive Thus, in order for business to be conducted in any hotel, it is essential for constructed assets to be appropriately managed if the business is to maintain the capital invested, enhance its value and sustain reasonable return (NOUN, 2014). Facilities management (FM) has become a focus of attention for academics and practitioners. The former view it as a rapidly developing field that offers, amongst other things, rich sources of data that can be used to explain or develop new theories about how we manage buildings and other constructed facilities. The latter regard it as an opportunity for business or a means for controlling operational costs, depending on whether there is a primary interest in providing FM services or in procuring them. Common to both is the application of information technology (IT) as a means for obtaining, managing and exploiting data. Since FM is concerned with long term operations, as opposed to the medium term activities associated with the design and construction of the asset, there is both scope and motivation for improvement. Indeed, the concept of continual improvement can be more easily applied to long term, continuous processes than projects (Atkin and Leiringer, 2006).

Technology for office automation and the arrival of the Internet has fundamentally altered the facility planning process (Roper and Beard, 2005). Nowadays the development of wireless devices is among the most dynamically improving areas of the Information Technology. With the new wireless IT solutions remote communication can be supported more efficiently and flexibly than earlier with only wired networks. It is clear that the IT hardware development has affected the Facility Management significantly from the first analog devices that were used for simple FM purposes. Digital wired devices and systems represent the next two milestones of the improvement. Later the wired remote sensing/controlling devices and their systems have become the most significant facility-related hardware improvement areas, but in the previous two decades the wireless system improvement has been in the middle of focus. Meanwhile the more available devices have been invented that could be used in Facility Information Systems (Boz´any, 2006).

Facility Management is a special application area for these equipments where the demand for remote communication devices is extremely high because there might be long distances among together working people and devices. Facility Management and Automation Systems are mainly used to manage only buildings but in some cases the supported FM activity has been extended even for the not built, outer areas of the property. The application of wireless elements could be much more comfortable and cost-efficient than any wired solution for managing large facilities, but the FM service quality also can be increased extremely. The IT hardware development has affected the processes remarkably that belong either to the Facility or Building Automation Systems (Boz´any, 2006). Some specialists think that Facility- or Building Automation Systems (FAS, BAS) are parts of the Computer-Integrated Facility Management System (CIFM), while others are talking about two individual, independent systems, but in those networks these parts are usually integrated in the same information system, mostly via a shared database.

In Nigeria, a good number of facts and incidents aid and abet the development of hotels. First is the public sector involvement, which had been predominant at least up to the late nineties. Hotels were established for providing accommodation for government visitors and patrons. In some cases, hotels were established for prestige and business reasons. Second, international occasions and requirements may warrant the establishment of the hotel. Examples are the defunct Durbar Hotels in Lagos and Kaduna, which came into existence as a result of Festac 77. There is also Nicon Noga Hilton Hotel at Abuja (now Transcorp Hilton). This came into being as a result of the establishment of Abuja as the capital city of Nigeria. Such hotels are owned and managed by the government appointed representatives on behalf of the public. However, many of these hotels are bedeviled by mis-management leading to facilities decay, which caused their gradual collapse Bode-Thomas (2003). Third, there are privately owned hotels but usually at a lower scale compared to government owned hotels. Even though they might have declined one way or the other due to age, level of use or effusion of time yet they are still thriving. The most interesting aspect of hotel development is the continued interest, which the private sector is showing in its development.

Hotel from the Federal Government and the hotel is presently being renovated so as to revive its degenerated facilities. Despite the non-proactive nature of facilities maintenance in some of these hotels, other hotels in Nigeria are not left behind in the adoption of facilities management as strategic management principle to get hold of the market going by what are being published in the daily newspapers; for instance Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Ikeja Lagos, Le Meridien Hotel, Victoria Island Lagos and Nicon Hilton Hotel, Abuja (Bode-Thomas, 2003). If these colossal investments are to be retained, sustained and accelerated, there is the need to investigate what the thriving hotels are doing to sustain themselves in business with particular regards to the management of their facilities and property assets. 

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The tools of strategic management are used in many successful businesses while other businesses rarely attempt to use them even though they succeed for a while. Large organizations with many departments cannot succeed without long-range planning in a volatile environment (Arthur and Gamble, 2004). The gradual decline of many former large and successful hotels and restaurants in Lagos in the last decades points to a lack of knowledge on the impact of strategic management on sustainable high-performance of hotels and restaurants in the region. Would the declining sales and profits be a failure by senior management to manage the hotels strategically in a changing environment? An area that has a great potential yet to be exploited is the area of tourist hotel development.

In a construction project, there are communication gaps between the various project participants such as the designer, builder, and owner. The gap is much more evident in the operation and maintenance of a facility. When a building is completed, the owner does not just obtain a new building, but also a plethora of project information in paper and electronic form. It is then up to the owner to make sense of it all at their own expense of time and money. Technology has the potential to fill in the communication gaps that exist, but it has been prevented by the industry’s resistance to incorporate technological innovations. Cellular phones and electronic mail have influenced business, education, and practically everything else in life, as well as the construction industry. Documents and drawings can be sent to someone in an instant, and people can talk to each other halfway around the world with wireless phones. Yet, the construction industry still has not fully benefited from the potential that technology has and lags behind other industries. This study therefore concerns the effect of information technology on facilities management practices in some selected hotels in Lagos.

1.3 Objective of the Study

The general objective of the study was to assess effect of information technology on facilities management practices in some selected hotels in Lagos.

Specific objectives are to

1. Explore the level of facility management practices carried out in hotels and restaurants and influence on hotel performance in Lagos.

2. Elucidate the key role modern information technology play in facility management in Lagos state

3. Examine the impact of facility management practices in service delivery in the hotel in Lagos

4. Highlight the major factors that facilitate or inhibit technology adoption and implementation in hotel industry

1.4   Research questions

1. To what extent are facility management practices carried out in hotels and restaurants in Lagos?

2. Will information technology improve the facility management and maintenance practices of hotels?

3. What is the impact of facility management practices in service delivery in the hotel in Lagos?

4. What are the major factors that inhibit technology adoption and implementation in hotel industry

1.5  Research Hypotheses

1. Information technology will not improve the facility management and maintenance practices of hotels.

2. Facility management practices will not have any significant impact on service delivery in the hotels in Lagos.

1.6   Significance of the Study

The tourist industry in Lagos state will through the findings of the study have a turn around since the facilities in the hotels will greatly be improved; more attractive and safer for visitors. The information from this study will acquaint the management of hotels in the state with the need for the adoption of information technology so as to compete favourably and meet up with the international standard as well. The customers of the hotels will benefit hence their satisfaction will be very much assured.   

1.7 Area of the Study

This study was conducted in some Hotels in Lagos state, Nigeria.

1.8 Limitations of the Study

Lack of accurate date on the number of registered hotels in Lagos and unwillingness of the managements of the hotels to provide informations on the nature of facility operations in the hotels were the major constraints to the study.

1.9 Operational Definition of Terms

Maintenance: activities carried out to ensure that facilities in the hotels are in good working condition.

Facilities: equipment and structures that aid service delivery in the hotel industry.