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Housekeeping and servicing rooms

The role that housekeeping plays is to keep the public spaces clean and to also make sure that the rooms are clean and ready for the guest that is either already booked into the room or the new guest that is set to appear.

There are certain regulations in place for housekeeping, but they may differ slightly between hotels. However, basic standards and expectations will be pretty similar no matter where you are working.

Housekeeping covers a range of services from cleaning the rooms, to laundry, to making sure that the bed linen is up to the hotel's standards and that everything that is offered by the hotel in the rooms is actually there and present for the guests.

It is the job of housekeeping to make sure that the hotel comes across looking respectable. That is not to say that your job as the general manager of the hotel means that you are unable to get involved in this part of the service.

Instead, even though there is a head of housekeeping that is in charge, it is still your job to make sure that the standards that are expected by the hotel are kept to at all times. Failure to do so will only lead to the hotel developing a poor name, which is something that you certainly do not want to happen.

It is also a good idea if you, the manager, can tour the hotel with the head of housekeeping with a check list that determines if each part has been dealt with to those standards. This provides the head of housekeeping with the opportunity to tell you if there are any causes for complaints or things that need to be improved to help them to do their job correctly. This working together will certainly make your job easier, as well as that of the housekeeping staff, and the hotel will also run more smoothly as a direct result.
Providing your guests with an adequate room worthy of what is being charged is something that every guest is right to expect and it is up to the housekeeping staff, and yourself, to make sure that this is what they are given.

However, to actually service the room, there are several important things that must happen.

First, it should never be the case that the housekeeping staff arrive at a room too early where they could inconvenience a guest. Ideally, they will begin by checking and cleaning those rooms that are already empty and prepare them for guests that are arriving before moving onto those rooms that contain guests.

It can also be ascertained which rooms will be vacated that day, so that they can then be left until the checking out has taken place, but this is where clear communication between reception and housekeeping is essential.
As soon as a guest from a particular room has checked out, this information should be relayed to the housekeeping staff to inform them that a certain room is now empty and they can begin to clean it.
However, if they are dealing with a room where guests are staying, then it is important that the housekeeping staff do not just knock the door and then enter the room. Instead, they are required to stand there after knocking and wait to see if there is any reply from the guest. If not, then they should enter the room, but still announce their arrival just in case the guest is in the bathroom and did not hear the member of staff. You certainly do not want to give them a shock.
If the guest is not in the room, then great care must be taken with their belongings as the member of staff looks to clean the room.

Linen must be changed, floors cleaned, and all surfaces are attended to in order to make sure that everything is sparkling. It is advised that if an item that belongs to the guest looks either fragile or expensive, then the member of housekeeping that is dealing with that room should try to not touch it if that it at all possible. This shows a great deal of respect for their belongings and limits the possibility of something going wrong.

Great care must also be taken with the bathroom as that is one area where guests expect everything to be spotless all of the time, so fresh towels, checking that the soap is adequate, toilet paper, and that everything is shining by the time they leave is an absolute necessity. One extra tip employed by most hotels is that the antiseptics and cleaning liquids that are used should be completely safe and unable to cause allergies in people, as a hotel never knows if an individual is going to have a reaction to some chemicals that are used in these products. The last thing you want is for them to react badly and cause the guest distress, as it hardly adds to their experience in the hotel.

Finally, each room should be examined by a supervisor to see if it comes up to the standards that are expected by the hotel and this is especially true if the room is going to be occupied by a guest later that day.
The head of housekeeping should have a checklist of what is to be expected in the room, and this is applied to every single part of the hotel to make sure that it all comes up to the hotel's standard.
Cleaning main public areas
When it comes to cleaning the main public areas of the hotel, then this is still part of the duties of the housekeeping team, but this is also an area where you as the general manager will have to take a greater interest.

After all, you want to make sure that the guests get the correct image as soon as they enter the main foyer and that every part of the hotel is absolutely spotless on a daily basis.

It is up to the housekeeping staff to make sure that all waiting areas and corridors are clean as well as the restaurant and any other sections of the hotel that allow guests. Floors have to be cleaned, surfaces cleaned, items polished and even jobs such as making sure that flowers are fresh or plants are watered and looking healthy falls under the job description for this area.

The reason for this is easy to understand. A hotel that is sparkling and clean will always make the guest feel that they have made the correct decision in booking a room and it will certainly add to their overall positive feeling associated with the hotel.
Never accept gifts
There are some guests that greatly appreciate the work that the housekeeping staff do in looking after their room and they may want to provide them with some kind of gift for their hard work.

Whilst most hotels do not ban giving gifts, it is common practice for the member of staff to ask the guest to write a note and sign it, stating that they are providing them with a gift. The reason for this is to make sure that people are aware that this is what it was and to prevent stealing from guests.
However, it is not good practice for housekeeping staff to really deal with tips, although some hotels may allow it if the guest then writes a note stating that this is the case.

Tipping is harder to prove, and it is easier for a member of staff to just take the money, which is why it is generally frowned upon by most hotels. This should be carefully explained to all members of staff.
The importance of housekeeping cannot be overlooked, as it is up to this department to make sure that the hotel is both clean and hygienic for guests at all times. A failure to achieve this will only lead to guests being put off the hotel with it reflecting badly on the company as a whole along with you as the general manager.

It is understood that a guest will only feel able to relax and be comfortable in a space that is both clean and hygienic, so it is imperative that this is what happens on every single occasion. The last thing you want is for guests to be surrounded by clutter and mess, as it then reflects badly on the hotel in general since people will begin to associate it with a place that does not care about cleanliness and that can only ever be a bad thing.

However, we have to stress that as a general manager of a hotel it is not your direct responsibility to deal with the rooms in this way as there will also be a head of housekeeping. It is their job to direct the housekeeping staff although you do reserve the right to check the rooms to see if they are up to the hotel's standards and if not it is advised to take it up with the head of housekeeping and allow them to deal with the staff rather than you.

By doing this, you are showing due respect to the head of another department, and it helps to create a better working environment throughout the hotel rather than there being a feeling that you are going to step on toes whenever you feel like it.

It is important that each department can work in harmony with one another, and you should not really use any additional power unless it is absolutely called for although this would be on very rare occasions. After all, that is why various heads of departments are put in place to allow you to deal with less people and make sure that the hotel itself is running smoothly and that is why you should always refer back to these heads rather than trying to deal with individual members of staff.
Without these members of staff, the rooms would be filthy, as would the rest of the hotel and that would be extremely bad for business. The standard of the rooms and how clean they are will determine how people feel about the hotel in general, and it is up to the management, which means you as well as the head of housekeeping, to make sure that everything does come up to the hotel's standard.

A failure to do this will often lead to guests being more likely to complain and even post negative reviews that will be damaging for the business. When this is something that is so easily avoided due to just being careful with the general cleaning, then it is crazy for you as the general manager to not make sure that everything is being done to the standards that you expect. It is always good for business for a hotel to have a good name for being clean and hygienic as we have already mentioned how those are two things that guests rightfully expect at all times.

These roles are essential for the future of the hotel and it is your responsibility to make sure that everybody is pulling in the correct direction in order to provide guests with the best possible experience.

The general cleaning of your hotel.

It is important that you put yourself in the position of a guest and what you would expect when you walk into the hotel. You would expect even the entrance to be spotless, so even the smallest of touches such as the door handles for the main door to be polished and shining and if there is glass in the door, then this should also be cleaned.

The reception area should smell clean, the carpets should be spotless, anything that can possibly shine should actually shine and everything should be in place ready for guests as they come and go.

The housekeeping staff should also make sure that everything is in place and they should also understand the health and safety aspect for when they are working on an area where guests are able to move around.

90% of travelers avoid booking hotels labeled as “dirty” in online reviews.

Christos Pashiardis – Managing Partner – Consultant
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