Infraspeak and Facilities Management Online Q&A with Felipe Ávila da Costa, CEO of Infraspeak

How would you would sum up Infraspeak in one sentence?

I would say that Infraspeak is an innovative facilities management platform for the hospitality industry that is transforming operations, making them more efficient, sustainable and cost effective, using customisable technology for both desktop and mobile interfaces alongside technologies such as NFC, APIs, apps and sensors.

You’ve just launched Infraspeak in the UK, congratulations! Which other brands have you worked with prior to this launch?

Thank you! We’re very excited to be launching in the UK and we already work with some world-renowned hotel brands.

These include Six Senses, InterContinental and Sheraton Hotels, and we manage over 18,000 buildings. Prior to launching in the UK this year, we supported 180 customers in seven countries, and we’re really excited to see this number grow!

What’s the main goal for Infraspeak in the UK? Our brand’s primary goal is to streamline facilities management for the UK hospitality industry through dedicated customer service and easy to use desktop and mobile interfaces.

What are the unique selling points of Infraspeak? I would say the primary USP is that Infraspeak is easy to use and the software can be as ‘simple’ or ‘advanced’ as the hoteliers need it to be.

We have a modular approach, so each business can pick and choose the modules that work for them - switching them on and off as they see fit. This flexibility means that the technology for facilities management doesn’t need to be a hassle for the staff, but is simply a way to assist and make things easier for facilities managers and their teams.

In fact, I would say that this makes us stand out from our competitors in the market who are all-to-often difficult to use. The second USP is that Infraspeak boots sustainability, as it cuts out the use of all paper in facilities management.

Infraspeak’s aim is to modernise a predominantly paper-based industry, as 80% of hotel administration is largely paper-based.

We also found that Excel is most commonly used to run all hospitality maintenance, but Infraspeak allows facilities managers and maintenance staff to log and trace faults through to their completion, assisting with the whole logging process.

The final USP for us is that Infraspeak is extremely easy to set up and install. No matter what your site or equipment, team size or structure, Infraspeak can quickly adapt. We take each customer through our Academy process, which both educates the teams and tailors the software to fit their needs.

You mentioned that your main goal is to streamline facilities management and help improve the jobs of maintenance staff. What are some of the biggest challenges for facilities management teams face today?

Due to the technicality of facilities management, there are always new and surprising challenges and limitations in facilities management for the hospitality industry.

Because of this, managers have to constantly update themselves so they can deal with the new issues that arise through the constant introduction of new technologies and paradigms.

I would say there are five main challenges faced by facilities management teams. The first big challenge is radically increasing consumer expectations - technological advances mean that consumers demand instant results, without margin for delay or error, and can complain very publicly should their expectations not be met. The second challenge is managing failures efficiently, as broken equipment increases pressure on managers.

I would say another big challenge is controlling costs, as it’s very common for facilities managers to be pressured into doing more with less, in order to cut and control costs.

Managing time and implementing the right technology are also major challenges for facilities management teams today, as technology is constantly evolving.

How would you recommend overcoming these challenges?

The first challenge of high expectations can be overcome by placing communication at the heart of the operations of the business - when everyone knows instantly what is happening, and what is required of them, it puts the team in a position to respond quickly, and to effectively manage their time.

Furthermore, when other teams can get an overview of operations, it permits easier expectation setting. I believe communication is key to managing any building, or network of buildings, no matter how big or small.

In order to overcome the challenge of managing failures efficiently, I recommend investing in a maintenance management system that centralises information, monitors daily work, makes communication faster and helps you keep track of repair times with SLAs, for instance.

As I mentioned, controlling costs is a major challenge for facilities management, but there are many ways costs can be reduced without reducing efficiency, including performing energy audits to identify possible energy wastes, which helps to reduce money in the long run.

Managing time is a huge challenge for facilities management, which is made harder when failures aren’t managed efficiently. Facilities managers have to balance writing emails, attending meetings, answering calls, budgeting, performing audits, coordinating one or multiple teams, negotiating with suppliers, attending conferences and fairs, and the list goes on! However, a CMMS can be extremely helpful with managing time and prioritising tasks.

It can also help with managing multiple buildings, clients and locations easily.

Finally, by implementing the right technology, such as those I’ve mentioned, these challenges can be significantly reduced and the lives and work of facilities managers and their teams can be made much easier.

Can you give us an example of how Infraspeak has helped to transform a building’s efficiency? Of course. We’ve been working with InterContinental Palacio das Cardosas in Porto, Portugal, since 2016. Filipe Soares, InterContinental’s maintenance manager, was looking for a management tool to help to improve the hotel’s management and Infraspeak seemed the appropriate solution.

In fact, since working with the hotel, the number of maintenance calls made in the hotel has reduced from 40 a day to only 10 per day.

A challenge at InterContinental Palacio das Cardosas was that they required a balance between service quality and required workload. A hotel like InterContinental requires a lot of maintenance work and needs tools that provide quality and agility. However, Infraspeak has eliminated all paper from the maintenance side of the hotel and helps information to be easily accessed. Everything Soares and his team need can be found on the online platform.

Infraspeak has also transformed work planning at InterContinental. Previously, Soares had to create a file listing every planned maintenance intervention, but now he simply needs to open Infraspeak and create an annual work plan. Technicians can use their login tags to check their agenda and task labels on their computer, and even on their phones. Soares also told us that he has been able to gain control over time and costs.

Maintenance costs are some of the most important indicators in InterContinental’s routines, but they can now compare what they’re spending in preventative and corrective interventions, as well as the time taken by technicians to improve tasks.

Find out more about Infraspeak by viewing their company profile, here.

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