The Rise Of Hospitality Resource Solutions
John Sartain, the Managing Director of Hospitality Resource Solutions, had a successful career in hotel management in the UK and arrived in Singapore as the General Manager of the Grand Copthorne Waterfront in September 2007. He then later became the General Manager of the famous Mandarin Orchard Singapore.
The inspiration for his business came while working at Mandarin Orchard, he encountered difficulty in hiring enough staff to clean the hotel’s 1100 guest rooms. To address this challenge, he sought to transform the fixed housekeeping cost into a variable cost by finding staff only when needed. Although outsourcing was a prevalent solution globally, it was not widely used in Singapore at the time.
In 2013, John resigned from his position as General Manager and started Hospitality Resource Solutions Pte Ltd (HRS Pte Ltd). Their objective was to find a hotel that could trust them and work with their Process Compression system, which could potentially help him build a serious business. Their first customer was the world-famous Fullerton Singapore. Despite facing difficulties, they slowly managed to convince other hotels to work with them, providing them with a cost-effective service, and gained recognition as a market leader.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it caused the majority of their hotel clients to cancel their contracts. With prudent cost management and diversification, they managed to weather the storm and eventually rebounded in 2021, resulting in a record year in 2022 with 30 clients and around 100 cleaning staff. The business continues to grow and improve in 2023, solidifying its position as one of Singapore’s market leaders.
From the beginning of HRS, they have faced numerous challenges, and according to John, he prefers to focus on the future rather than dwell on hardships. Nevertheless, recruiting enough experienced and suitable workforce has been one of their major challenges. Despite that, they now have employed more than 30 local individuals, but cleaning jobs are generally unpopular among locals which is why they are ensuring to have enough foreign workers to fulfill their requirements.
The Impact Of The COVID-19 Pandemic
HRS was thriving in January 2020, but within a month, most of their hotel clients experienced a significant decline in occupancy rates, resulting in reduced demand for their services. Their revenue fell by 90%, but they were aware that maintaining their business relationships was crucial during this challenging time, and they were confident that the situation would eventually improve. To stay afloat, they made a decision to expand their services into HSS (Homecare cleaning) and other areas of cleaning services. Thanks to the support of the government, particularly JSS, they were able to remain in operation.
As soon as the COVID-19 situation eased, their clients quickly returned to them for assistance. Now, in 2023, they are continuing to make strides and grow their business at full speed ahead. HRS remains committed to running a dedicated and enthusiastic team of skilled hotel cleaners, constantly exploring new ideas that will enable their hotel clients to convert their fixed housekeeping costs into variable ones.
John As A Leader
With over 25 years of experience in the hotel and hospitality industry, John has come to realize that being a leader is different from being a manager. He makes sure he’s treating his colleagues and customers with respect and openness at all times and expects the same in return.
Like most entrepreneurs, John has a journey to share and there were tough times, especially in the early years. Despite the obstacles, his motivation has always been threefold: personal satisfaction of achievement, family financial security, and providing quality job opportunities to people.
Measuring The Success Of The Business
The method of measurement of HRS is simple; they base it on the number of clients and staff they have. Currently, they have over 25 hotel and serviced residence clients and over 100 staff members, including both local and foreign workers.
Building For The Future And Targeting The Top
Their goal is to achieve a twofold increase in their annual revenue, become the top service provider, and eventually plan an exit strategy by 2025. The areas that need improvement are securing long-term contracts with their hotel clients and enhancing the benefits and terms for their workforce.
Advice From John Sartain For Aspiring Entrepreneurs
“One has to be crazy to embark on such a project! My advice would be: However many years you think you will take to be successful, double it! Whatever your capital sum invested is planned to be, double it! But, if you think you will feel great once you have made it, double that feeling!”
Visit Hospitality Resource Solutions’ website here.