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Best Practices from the Olympic Games to Boost Cleanliness and Customer Satisfaction in Your Hotel

by Jan Matthews

Thursday, May 15, 2014
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At the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, countless staff worked behind-the-scenes to keep the venues and living quarters clean for a broad range of client groups from athletes and spectators, to members of the workforce, to media from around the world, to Heads of State. Cleaning plays a very important role in the success of any event or business – whether at The Olympics, a boutique hotel or luxury resort.

As a consultant for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games and the former head of Catering, Cleaning and Waste for the London 2012 Olympic Games, I saw the importance of planning and implementing a proper cleaning program to help make every experience count at these worldwide events. This magnitude of cleaning takes years of planning and preparation to deliver the highest standard of clean in the venues, facilities and living quarters at The Olympics.

In fact, as the official supplier of cleaning products for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, cleaning staff used P&G Professional products to clean up after more than five million people, clean more than two million square feet of surfaces and wash more than 30,000 linens every day.

Whether you’re cleaning on a grand scale, such as The Olympics, or you’re a facility manager or operations manager at a hotel, the same foundational principles apply. Below are five simple steps to boost cleanliness and customer satisfaction in your hotel.

1. Take a Stand – Be able to articulate your vision of what you want your business to do. Your hotel employees should know exactly what you and the company stand for. And, you should be proactive and passionate about your business. This passion will carry over to the employees as they represent your company day in and day out.

2. Set the Foundation – Make sure that you have the right foundations in place for your hotel. At The Olympics, that meant creating a clean and hygienic environment for staff and customers who were visiting the venues daily. For example, at The Winter Olympics two of the Athletes’ Villages were halfway up a mountain and, despite the complex logistics and unique location, it was important to focus on hygiene and ensure that these areas were cleaned well for our customers.

Like any business, we had to consider how to keep our facilities clean, address key issues of cleanliness and hygiene and understand the various pressure points.

3. The Value of Clean – Recognize the value of clean. Never underestimate the importance of keeping your hotel clean and tidy. Cleanliness has a huge impact on a customer’s perception of your hotel. In fact, research shows that if customers think a business is clean then the perception of everything else will be better, such as the appearance of the hotel lobby, the taste of the food in the restaurant, or the wait in line to check-in at the front desk. The “perception of clean” can hugely affect a customer’s overall experience and desire to return to your hotel.

4. Make Sure to Measure – As the old saying goes, “What gets measured gets done.” Create and implement an effective and efficient cleaning program with goals that can be measured. This will help ensure the goals you set are being accomplished to create a clean and hygienic environment.

5. Choose True Partners – Establishing a partnership with suppliers that add value to your business is extremely important. Our partnership with P&G Professional, the official supplier of cleaning products for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games and London 2012 Olympic Games, added value to our program goals, through employee training on how to use the products and product recommendations to help our staff clean efficiently and effectively to get the job done right the first time.

It’s also a good idea to create a rewards system to recognize employees for their hard work and motivate them to do a good job.

And, make sure you have a mechanism for customer feedback in place, and be ready to act on it. Whether it’s face-to-face interaction with hotel guests, a suggestion box, or email surveys, it’s important to solicit feedback and use it for the good of your business.

The goal of any hotel is to serve its customers. By doing this, you’ll reap the benefits of customer loyalty with happy customers who will continue to stay at your hotel, spend more money, even recommend your services and, ultimately, increase your profitability.

For more lessons learned from The Olympics, check out Jan Matthews’ industry insights at www.pgpro.com/olympics.

Author Bio: Jan Matthews is a P&G Professional Advisory Council member, consultant for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games and former head of Catering, Cleaning and Waste for the London 2012 Olympic Games. To learn more about Jan Matthews and her lessons learned from The Olympics, check out www.pgpro.com/olympics.

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