The Best Western of Alvin, Texas houses mostly seasonal workers from nearby commercial oil fields in its 40 rooms. General Manager and Owner Bharat Bhakta has operated the hotel since its opening in 1993 with a prior career in hospitality since 1975. He is also part owner of five independent hotels in the Houston area.
For his hotel’s first ten years in business, Mr. Bhakta bought a popular model of entry-level upright vacuum for his housekeeping staff. He immediately dealt with repeat problems with the vacuum belts. He would stock 20 to 30 extra belts, then run through that stock within a month as the vacuums broke down. Due to down time for repairs, Mr. Bhakta had to keep two spare vacuums on hand for coverage, and he was buying replacement vacuums every six months.
These disposable uprights could clean a 12 by 28 square foot room in four to five minutes, but they were poorly equipped for detail cleaning. When Mr. Bhakta would step in to cover for absent staff members, he realized another drawback.
“I’m very allergic to the dust. When I was cleaning the rooms myself, I would start sneezing,” said Mr. Bhakta. “You could see the dust leaking from the vacuum bag.”
After many years of these frustrations, Mr. Bhakta attended a hotel convention in 2005 and discovered ProTeam vacuums. He switched to the company’s high-performance dual-motor upright, the ProForce 1500XP with onboard tools. Although the vacuums were about twice the cost of his previous uprights, he hoped that they would lower maintenance and repair costs and reduce dust and allergens in the hotel.
Within the first few years, the ROI of Mr. Bhakta’s vacuum purchases significantly improved. He discovered that the ProTeam uprights had a minimum lifespan of four times longer than his previous uprights at two years. Some even lasted three to four years in spite of heavy usage. The ProForce 1500XP also cut the time to vacuum hotel rooms down to three minutes each, reducing the total vacuuming time for all rooms from three hours to two hours or less.
“It has been 11 years that we’ve used the ProTeam uprights, and we don’t have issues with them. I have taken a vacuum in for repairs twice in ten years,” said Mr. Bhakta. “Once in a while I have to replace a power cord, but overall they are very low maintenance.”
The housekeeping staff uses the upright’s stretch hose with 7 feet of above-the-ground reach to do periodic detail cleaning, using attachments to clean windowsills, carpet edging, etc. If a piece of debris gets stuck in the vacuum, it immediately shuts down before damage is done. According to Mr. Bhakta, this feature is a key reason that his ProTeam vacuums are so low maintenance.
The ProForce 1500XP is still Mr. Bhakta’s vacuum of choice for not only the Best Western but also the five independent hotels of which he is part owner. (His good results influenced them to try ProTeam.) He also liked the dust capture enough to purchase two more ProForce uprights to clean his home, protecting him from dust that might trigger his allergies.
“With the ProTeam vacuums, I hardly feel any dust while I vacuum. They are much more comfortable to use,” said Mr. Bhakta. “Since I switched, I haven’t tried anything else besides ProTeam, and I don’t intend to. Once we are happy with one product, there is no use changing.”