Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Housekeeping: Unsung Heroes of Customer Satisfaction

Has it ever happened to you that you arrive at a hotel all excited looking forward to an amazing stay, but are a little too early and were requested to wait as the room wasn’t ready?

Well, the reason for this wait is that it takes the housekeeping team twice as much as time to clean a departure room than for a guest who is staying over. A room attendant may have over hundred check points for a new arrival including wrinkle free bed linen, stationery, stain free amenity cards, spotlessly clean rooms and many more. Guest satisfaction and cleanliness in rooms during guest stay is a critical factor in ensuring repeat business.

Housekeeping department of a hotel probably employs the largest number of manpower. The number of staff hours depends on the hotel and the guest type it deals with. Staffs therefore are scheduled according to the number of guest staying. Since most of the guest nowadays book in advance especially during peak period, the work load is known well in advance. Although said simply, it can be very daunting for housekeepers as they deal with high variability of task like occupied and departure rooms, evening service, special request, staff absenteeism and host of other things which can push any housekeeper over the edge. Good housekeepers’ find ways of effectively/sharing the workload on a day to day basis.

Housekeeping is a physically demanding job. It also gives you an eye for detail and makes you a perfectionist. At an average, housekeeping staff services anywhere between 10-14 rooms a day in a 9 hour shift yet, they are often invisible to the typical guest. It is a profession that is prone to injuries therefore hoteliers must cultivate work practices that prevent them. Proper training ensures a key role in accident prevention. Following guidelines along with other safe practices ensures that the staffs are safe whilst avoiding injuries to employees that can affect their performance, productivity and morale.

To overlook the importance of housekeeping is a huge mistake since the rooms division generates the most profit for a hotel and the cleanliness and condition of the rooms are most important factors in customer satisfaction ratings. 

Hence, the next time you visit a five star hotel and are welcomed by a spick and span room, don’t forget to say a warm thank you to the housekeeping staff for their efforts. 

-Ms. Bindu Menon
 Senior Faculty, INLEAD 

Images Courtesy- Google Images 

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