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Tidying up the Housekeeping Department

Run through this 13-point checklist to make sure housekeeping is in good shape.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Gilles Arditi - CHA
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The housekeeping department in any hotel represents one of its largest expenses, yet it is one of the most overlooked. Here are some tips to make a substantial positive impact on your housekeeping practices. Following this advice can help you create a checklist to reduce costs and increase efficiency, and perhaps even turn around an entire department.

1. Hire the right housekeepers. Look for more than a warm body to clean a room. In addition to someone that knows the techniques, a person’s personality is important to consider. People with certain personality types will not stay and clean rooms for long periods of time – not because they can’t or will do a poor job, but because they get bored. The housekeeping job can be monotonous. Use a personality test to hire the right people.

2. Create a rewards program to generate excitement within the department.

3. Have your washer and dryer recalibrated often. This will help lower electrical/gas costs.

4. Have the chemical dispensers checked by your chemical company every time the company is on property. In addition to improving how the chemicals are dispensed, this will allow for cleaner linen and less discoloration (for example, it’s possible too much chlorine or other detergent is being used).

5. Think outside the box. Wash at night to reduce your electricity bill, for example. Electricity is cheaper at non-peak hours.

6. Wash at full capacity as much as you can. Use a scale to make sure your washers and dryers are working at full capacity. Your machine will work better and your linen will deteriorate less.

7. If you’re able to invest in new equipment and upgrades, take advantage of the benefits from green programs and government incentive programs.

8. Combine job responsibilities within the housekeeping department to maximize productivity and avoid downtime.

9. Use your night auditor (if you have a smaller property) to take care of laundry.

10. Make sure that time allocated to clean rooms is respected. Be creative with long-term stays – maybe wash linens every three days, and provide a very quick (five-minute) service: change towels, empty trash cans and move on.

11. Folding within the laundry department can be a time-consuming burden. The trick is to fold as little as possible since a housekeeper will immediately undo the work diligently done by the laundry attendant anyway. Sheets and large items can be laid down flat on a rolling cart and sent to a holding area for the next day.

12. Don’t rush to discard linens. There are a variety of very good products that will remove stubborn stains.

13. Spend a great deal of time with this important department and become a mentor. A closer collaboration between management and housekeeping will have significant benefits for your hotel.

An essential and major department, Housekeeping is vital to the success of any hotel. It will be worth the extra time and attention it takes to refine practices and enhance productivity. Improved housekeeping makes for a tighter overall operation, along with relief to your hotel’s budget.

Gilles Arditi is president of Southwind Hospitality, a full-service hotel management company based in Indian Shores, FL, that specializes in quickly improving performance at underperforming and distressed properties.

Gilles Arditi CHA    Gilles Arditi - CHA
Other Executives/Management (not listed above)
Southwind Hospitality, LLC

Bio: As a Certified Hotel Administrator, Gilles Arditi has over twenty years of service in hospitality management. His analytical, problem-solving and conceptual thinking skills have been demonstrated through his extensive experience. He is practiced in multi-property supervision with such brands as Starwood, Hilton, InterContinental, Marriott and Wyndham. He is also an authority on property repositioning, property take-over, budgeting, sales and marketing planning and implementation; business planning and implementation; managerial ...
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