AN ESSSAY ON THE 5 TRENDS IN THE HOUSEKEEPING DEPARTMENT OF THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
- THE HOUSEKEEPING DEPARTMENT
1.1 ABOUT HOUSEKEEPING
The first thing that comes to our mind when we talk about the word housekeeping is cleanliness. Every time we enter a five star hotel, the reason why it still looks new and the same every time is because of the Housekeeping department. These Housekeepers work day in and day out in shifts to maintain the standards of the hotel. The aesthetic appeal helps the guest to form a first impression about the hotel.
To run a successful hotel, the Housekeeping department plays a crucial role. Even when the hotel’s service is not up to the standards a clean environment or more specifically a clean room could bring back guests again.
Even though the Housekeeping is not a revenue generating department, the executive housekeepers need to carefully plan the budget, so that the housekeeping department does not swallow huge funds that could be a potential harm for the hotels future. The complementary kept in each room needs to be carefully monitored always.
- TRENDS IN THE HOUSEKEEPING DEPARTMENT
2.1 KEEPING UP WITH THE CHANGES
Running a successful Housekeeping department is not an easy task. The Executive Housekeeper needs to be very flexible and spontaneous in dealing with guests. With so many websites coming up, which has eased the process of making reservations. The user is given the chance to compare the tariffs and then choose what suits him the best.
However, the user also has the opportunity to read reviews of guests who have already experienced the hospitality. The hotel needs to maintain their standards always. With increased market competition even small mistakes could lose guests. Since the appearance and cleanliness is the first thing guest’s talk about, the Housekeeping department need to be on their toes.
3. NEW TECHNIQUES FOR STAFF MANAGEMENT
3.1 EFFECTIVE STAFF MANAGEMENT
In any hotel, managing staff is the biggest task faced by the employer. When it comes to the Housekeeping department it involves hard labor with long working hours. It is not easy to motivate the employees as it is monotonous and tiring. The management should always take the necessary steps to reduce the high employee turnover.
Since the Housekeeping department is in charge of the hotel regarding the rooms and the public areas, there has to be complete co-ordination with the other departments so that the work flow is smooth and fast.
3.2 OVERCOMING THE LANGUAGE BARRIER
Most hotels employ staff who cannot speak English. It is a common phenomenon in most hotels around the world. The staff would be professionals at their work but when it comes to communication, their skill would be lacking because of the lack of education. The staff would be very experienced and very skillful though.
Since the Housekeepers are in direct contact with the hotel guests, communication is a key aspect. When the guest and a hotel staff find it tough to communicate, it slows things. Communication is also required to co-ordinate with the other departments so that work flow is smooth. At the end of the day, effective communication is the key to success.
3.3 NEW COMMUNICATIVE TECHNIQUES FOLLOWED
Many hotels have come up with interesting techniques of communication. This helps the staff to learn quickly and also grasp things easily. Since the staff are trained in these terms, they start relating to it and slowly learn.
a. COLOUR CODING
Hotels nowadays, are using colour coding’s to differentiate between the various chemicals and wiping products used to clean different areas. The staff can co-relate the colour to the specific wiping product.
The other option used by hotels is where certain common problems are pre-numbered. This way the staff just need to see which problem comes under what number and they could work with ease. Other training facilities are also available.
3.4 THE BENEFITS
– The work flow in the hotel becomes easier.
– Leads to effective Housekeeping planning.
– The staff get to learn things fast.
4. LIGHTING IN HOTELS
Lighting plays a very crucial role in any hotel. It actually has the power to make a place look beautiful if it is done to perfection. Hotel’s need to be lit up always whether guests are coming or not as long as they are open. The lighting companies have come a long way, from the time of halogen bulbs to today’s LED strips.
When we talk about lighting, they consider it as an investment for the hotel. The lighting can sometimes even hide the mistakes done by the Housekeeping department or vice versa. Hotel’s concentrate a lot on the lighting.
4.1 DIFFERENT KINDS OF LIGHTING
The lighting in hotels has seen a lot of changes in the past few years. The LED strips have taken the lime light of lighting. Even though they are expensive, hotels have understood that their benefits far outweigh the costs. However, with further improvisation hotels have come up with this new idea of using ‘ceiling motion sensor lighting’. They in turn help in reducing the costs of the hotel even more.
a. PIE DIAGRAM SHOWING THE ELECTRICITY CONSUMPTION BY HOTELS
4.2 CEILING MOTION SENSOR LIGHTING
a) About ceiling sensor motion lighting
Various statistics have proven that lighting takes up 30 percent of the energy in hotels. However LED lighting have helped in reducing the energy consumption in a large level, ceiling motion sensor lighting have helped hotels to save energy even further. However these sensors reduce the life of the lights marginally but significantly increase the longevity of the lamps.
These motion sensors work either through infrared signals or ultrasonic waves. They work according to motion or difference in the body temperature.
4.3 THE ADVANTAGES
– These sensors help in reducing the energy consumed in less used areas.
– The Housekeeping staff need not switch off the lights when they are done as they automatically work.
– The light would appropriately fall only on the areas where the guest needs.
– It has proven been that the life of the bulb increases.
– Reduces the operational cost of the hotel.
– The life of the bulb is reduced marginally because they turn on and off regularly.
Many hotels feel that this motion sensor has helped them in a huge way because it helps in saving energy in areas which aren’t in use that often. Especially in very large hotels where the public areas are not used. The savings in light energy help hotels to increase their earnings in net income by 2 percent. And in a country like the United States, where hotels is the third largest industry these trends help the hotels in a huge way.
5. THE CHANGES IN MINIBAR
Tiny fridges found in hotel rooms stocked up with alcoholic beverages, canned juices and aerated drinks are called as minibars. They can be found in almost every hotel. It used to be a luxury but as time went by almost all hotels started having minibars in their rooms. No one knows why the products found in the room are very expensive. However most of the time they are outdated or spoilt.
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In almost every property the minibars are managed by the Housekeepers because they go to the room on a daily basis and also avoids fights between the F&B and Housekeeping department. There would be a lot of theft by staff and they would blame each other. In order to avoid this many hotels have come up with new ideas to overcome this problem.
5.1 MINIBARS GOING EXTINCT
Lately, many hotels all over the world have slowly stopped providing guests with minibars in the room. These minibars proved to be costly and managing them was very exhaustive. Many guests do not use the minibar facilities as they are priced very high.
5.2 NEW TRENDS IN MINIBAR
Many hotels nowadays have come up with new ideas that reduce the cost of maintaining the minibars. These new trends proved to be useful as they also increased the revenue of the hotel.
5.3 THE CONCEPT OF FEED THE FRIDGE
A famous five star hotel chain in Orlando has come up with this unique concept called “FEED THE FRIDGE”. In this program the hotel has completely stopped filling up the minibars with goodies and beverages. Instead the hotel asks the guests what he/she would prefer before their arrival. This new initiative by the hotel was very different compared to other hotels as it also reduced the burden on the Housekeeping department.
The hotel also offers the guest with various packages, where the guests can pre order during reservation. This way the guest can choose what they want and use.
– “A Sparkling wine package”, which would include champagne with a choice of cheese and crackers.
– “Night at the movies”, this includes beer, water or wine with popcorn and a chocolate bar.
– “Energizer”, this package come with three energy drinks for the guest and costs $15.
– “Card shark”, comes with a pack of cards and a six pack beer. This costs the guest $18.
5.4 USER’S VIEW
According to the hotel’s executive Mr. Menelik Tefera, this program proved to be very useful. It cut down the hotel’s cost by $500.00 on a monthly basis. This also helped the hotel in avoiding fights between different departments. He feels this initiative by the hotel has also improved the revenue of in room dining.
6. ROOM CLEANING EQUIPMENTS
6.1 THE IMPORTANCE OF CLEAN ROOMS
Rooms are a major source of revenue for hotels. They in fact are the hotel’s majority source of income. Even if a hotel has clean rooms it can attract a lot of guests and repeat guest. It need not be part of a very big chain of hotels too. People travelling all over the world are looking for rooms at standard prices and hygienic rooms.
Clean and hygienic rooms play a crucial role in the guest’s experience at a hotel. It is important that the hotel takes utmost importance for this aspect. Negative remarks through word of mouth can bring down a hotel.
6.2 CLEANING EQUIPMENTS
Over the years there have been improvements for the housekeeping department that made cleaning of rooms faster and easier. With the increase in demand for rooms, the need to clean the room quickly and sell is very crucial. Since there are many hotels, the need to maintain good guest relations is very important.
Many companies have come out with equipment’s that has made maintenance and cleaning easy for the housekeepers. One such company called DUPLEX SOLUTIONS.
6.3 DUPLEX SOLUTIONS
This company came up with a unique technology that cleans rooms quickly using dry steam at very high temperatures. These equipment’s are specialized to clean specific areas. Even though cleaning is a very time consuming job, this equipment reduces the time to clean a room.
a. KEY FEATURES
– It is very fast and efficient. Cleans the surface at very high temperatures using microfiber technology. It also dries the floor very quickly and does not involve any chemicals.
– Room cleaning is done at 155 degree Celsius and 94 percent dry steam and deodorizing.
– This helps the hotel to equip itself for any huge outbreaks. These equipment’s are used for outdoor cleaning as well.
b. AREA OF USE
– Upholstery of chairs and sofas.
– Mattresses and beds.
– Curtains and drapes.
– Spills and bed bugs on carpets.
– Hard floors.
– Bathroom can be cleaned in 4 minutes.
7. LAUNDRY DEPARTMENT
7.1 ABOUT LAUNDRY
One of the major divisions under the Housekeeping department is the laundry service. Different hotels follow various methods of processing their laundry. Laundry includes both the guest’s clothes and the hotel’s linen. The maintenance of laundry is very crucial for hotels. It involves huge costs and hotels need to make sure that these costs don’t exceed the hotels budget.
7.2 TRENDS IN LAUNDRY
The laundry department has been seeing various changes over the years. Most hotels either choose in house laundry or it is outsourced to other cleaners. According to the hotel’s budget whichever method is adopted. Other than this, big hotels need to have a proper count of their linen. They need to make sure that loss or theft is minimized. Other problems in hotels is maintaining these linen sheets. Due to the use of chemicals and detergents, the linen lose their look and texture. This would in turn cause huge operational costs for the hotel.
A few trends adopted in hotels are:
1. Advanced washing techniques (Green Practices).
2. Hotel linen tracking system.
7.3 ADVANCED WASHING TECHNIQUES
a. XEROS BEAD CLEANING (ENVIRONMENT FRIENDLY PRACTICE)
This company specializes in making washing machines which help hotels to clean linen in a very eco-friendly manner. They have come up with a unique technology through which the linen are washed through polymer technology. Even though water is the primary resource used for cleaning, this technology enhances the water used and helps in reducing the amount of water used compared to the regular washing machines.
b. THE BENEFITS
– It helps in reducing the costs for hotels.
– The amount of water used is very less compared to regular machines.
– Increases the life of linens which is the primary problems faced by hotels.
– A very new and innovative technique for washing the linen.
– The hotels needs to have an in house washing facility. Hence this facility can be used in huge hotels who have the money to invest.
d. COMPARISON BETWEEN CONVENTIONAL AND XEROS CLEANING
7.4 HOTEL LINEN TRACKING SYSTEM
Hotels need to make sure that the linen are properly managed. If not the hotel would incur high operational costs which would pull down the net profit. Many large scale hotels need to keep a proper tracking management system. This would help them in the long run.
a. KEY TONE’S USE of RFID
Among the various companies, key tone came up with the unique use of RFID. This technology helps the hotel to track down the linen. It shows a detailed description of where the linen is being dispatched. This way the Housekeeper can keep track of his linen. Bad linen management is the major problem is small scale hotels. This technology helps the hotel to come out of this problem.
b. THE BENEFITS
– The hotel can keep track of their stock of linen.
– Reducing the cost of laundry because they know exactly the number of clean linen available.
– It leads to successful Housekeeping planning and puts less pressure on the Housekeepers.
– This technology generates various reports like ‘linen inventory report’, ‘linen discard report’, ‘shrinkage report’ and many more.
– The use of this technology would be high for hotels because individual sheets needs to be marked.
In this essay I have tried covering the various aspects of the Housekeeping department namely, overcoming the language barrier, innovative machines for cleaning rooms and maintaining the linen, the transition of lighting and new approaches adopted by hotels.
All the topics I have chosen are encompassing around better planning for Housekeeping operations for example, innovative equipment’s available for cleaning rooms and maintaining linens, improving guest amenities supplies by starting innovative programs and finally improving guest expectation by employing and training staff in an innovative way and providing the guests with the best lighting.
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