When it comes to hotel operations, one of the least glamorous topics of discussion is housekeeping. It’s usually not a crowd-pleaser, but it’s imperative to a hotel’s success and bottom line.
It’s easy for efficiency to be lost, resulting in a loss of revenue. A huge challenge in this department is figuring out how to reduce the overhead, without compromising output quality. Any loss in quality will consistently result in negative reviews and a loss in revenue.
With the proper guidance and determination for success, there’s always a way to achieve excellent quality, while maintaining reasonable costs. In order for housekeeping to run like a well-oiled machine, take a look at the following three areas, and determine what your current tactics are, and notice if there are improvements needed.
Cost and Budget Consideration
Labor cost consists of the highest percentage of housekeeping expenses. Obviously, this is a necessary expense. Immaculately clean rooms please the guests, result in positive reviews and return stays. The cost is necessary, but the inefficiencies that occur are not. Does your hotel have a well-rounded and accurate housekeeping budget? How recently have you calculated the average time it should take for housekeeping to clean the rooms, versus how long it is actually taking? Are inventories being taken monthly at least? Who is reviewing the inventory and determining if there are any variances? Create an action plan to minimize variances through operations. Regularly compare proposed budget, with the results from the accurate budget, and make any necessary adjustments.
Workflow and Training Efficiencies
Attendants clean the rooms every day, yet how often are the rooms inspected after being cleaned? It’s crucial that your housekeeping department has a standard operating procedure (SOP), that accounts for room cleaning schedule and checklists. Additionally, a room attendant room inspection schedule and procedure should exist, and compliment the room cleaning schedule. That way, you can consistently ensure that the rooms are being attended to in the manner designated by the SOP.
How often are training sessions being held for housekeeping? What is the training procedure for new hires? These may seem like obvious questions, but training quickly falls through the cracks when the budget is tight. Regular and consistent training and coaching will keep the entire team connected, aware, and accountable. Does your staff know the quickest vacuuming techniques? If they receive training on it, then they’ll be able to save more time per room, resulting in more rooms completed in a shorter amount of time. Go through your training materials regularly, and check to see if they are consistent, easily understandable, and presented in multiple languages if necessary.
Once you’ve really nailed down the most efficient and comprehensive daily housekeeping procedures, bring your attention to your special projects needs. Typically, special projects should occur weekly. For example, deep cleaning the bathroom grout and cleaning all hair dryer filters. Those are easy projects to lose track of, and if you do, you’ll get a reminder in the form of a negative TripAdvisor review. Take care of these small but significant projects before that happens.
Communication is essential in every department at all times. Within housekeeping specifically, there are a few areas where communication tends to struggle. Lost and found, who manages it? Is there a centralized spreadsheet for ease of use? How quickly are you able to respond to guest inquiries? Guests leave items at hotels frequently, so there needs to be a solid communication procedure in place in order to provide excellent customer service, post stay.
Revenue is quickly lost when the housekeeping department neglects to quickly inform management when guests have damaged the room, smoked in it, etc. Check that your communication procedures regarding those issues are working well, and if not, adjust them.
It’s no secret, prevention is always better than the cure.
Housekeeping is a huge portion of hotel operations and one that requires constant management. Consistently review your standard operations, and go through the above suggestions to achieve maximum time and cost efficiency, while maintaining excellent customer service and standards. Holding yourself accountable to your budget, training, and communication procedures will allow your team the success everyone works so diligently for. Seek out assistance if you need it. HMG Hospitality are experts within the hotel management industry and are skilled at developing hotel-specific operating procedures. Having a capable management team is key, if your hotel is in need of consultation or management on any of these topics, contact us today.
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