Electronics and housekeeping concept. Isolated over white. Contains clipping path

The Housekeeping Training Revolution

Modern advances in employee training and ongoing retraining have such profound benefits that it’s near impossible for any senior hotelier to disregard their implementation. First among these advantages is what’s paid forward to your guests – improved compliance with SOPs, faster service, better staff demeanor and, ultimately, better customer satisfaction. Then there are the back-end benefits which also impact the bottom line – better team morale, less employee turnover, greater empowerment, increased productivity and decreased onboarding costs. Of course, this all relates to technology – putting your internal curriculum onto an online portal, thereby enabling e-learning. It works because it fosters an environment of microlearning – that is, allowing your team to learn at their own pace and in bite-sized, modular chunks, both of which are better for knowledge retention over the classical intensive and condensed period of instruction. Additionally, by putting your curriculum online, it frees up your supervisors’ …

lmaadminThe Housekeeping Training Revolution
Irritated young businessman at the office, feeling his back tired after working at laptop, uncomfortable chair, feeling itching, difficulty sitting, touching his left side with pained face expression

Raising Awareness For RSIs

An important issue affecting many hotels that merits further discussion is repetitive strain injuries (RSIs), especially those with an aging workforce. A combined aggravation of both the nervous and musculoskeletal system, an RSI is typically caused by repetitive tasks or those which put the body in an awkward position. There are many different types of RSIs, but as I am not a doctor, the diagnoses and exact syndromes are not the focus here. Rather, it is vital that all hoteliers recognize how RSIs may develop in a workplace setting so that steps can then be taken to reduce or prevent their occurrence altogether. RSIs can not only hamper an employee’s ability to perform at his or her best but they can also have a toxic effect on those closest to the afflicted individual. Being a true leader means caring for your team and their health, and thus corrective actions must be …

lmaadminRaising Awareness For RSIs
Happy female workers cleaning company ready to start work

Housekeeping is a Contact Sport

Every hotelier knows that housekeeping is a vital aspect of any property’s operations. All it takes is just one look at an online review site to see just how sensitive guests are to errors in this regard. Even though we all know how important the role of the housekeeper is, seldom do we managers know how to actually do what they do so that we can truly empathize with the issues they encounter on a daily basis. I decided to change that this past month by spending a day working alongside (shadowing, really) an experienced team member of a luxury hotel property. I was asked not to reveal the name of the property nor the housekeeping staff member who I will refer to as Donna (obviously not her real name). Nursing a single malt as I write this, my back is still aching and I remain in awe of her …

lmaadminHousekeeping is a Contact Sport
Chambermaid placing linen on hotel room bed, low angle view

Housekeeping or Loyalty Points, You Decide

Traveling for work puts me up close and personal with a wide variety of hotels, but even though I love dabbling in the luxury segment, the wallet just isn’t fat enough to make that a year-round thing. Instead, I opt for business-oriented properties, often downtown or near a convention center, and shrewdly designed for the harried guest. As you all know, this is a humungous category of hotels worldwide, and any new features that help optimize revenue for this market are often rapidly gormandized across all major brands. I could address the omnipresent issue here of whether such widespread adoptions are homogenizing product to the point of making every brand look and feel the same way. But that’s too much for a terse morning read. Instead, let’s focus on the recent trend of giving guests the option of trading in daily housekeeping service for a paltry amount of loyalty points …

lmaadminHousekeeping or Loyalty Points, You Decide
Hotel service. female housekeeping worker with towels and bedclothes at inn room

Five-Star Housekeeping For Five-Star Properties

Having just completed an exhaustive Pacific hotel tour, my report to hoteliers is this: no matter what your brand or luxury status, housekeeping remains a prickly beast and a constant challenge. Seventeen nights on the road in luxury hotels and one would think that the results are all coming up like daisies. Well, I wish I could report perfection but alas this is not so! In all five properties that I surveyed, housekeeping errors topped the list. Where others see shortcomings, however, I see opportunities for growth. While my analysis certainly is not comprehensive, it is interesting to report that not one of my accommodations scored perfect in this regard, this despite being VIP-ed (I suspect) along the way. What is particularly surprising is that these properties are all purported to be in the five-star range, yet still suffered similar flaws. While the errors noted were minor, at the rack …

lmaadminFive-Star Housekeeping For Five-Star Properties
Maid with housekeeping cart

The Unsung Heroes of Hospitality – Executive Housekeepers

Housekeeping has always been top of mind for hoteliers, but it is only within the past decade that its importance has gone into overdrive as errors in this department have been given a beaming spotlight in TripAdvisor reviews. Finding a balance is now harder than ever; you have to stay cost effective while at the same time a myriad of minor slipups can cost thousands of dollars via online guest reviews. In my quest to help you better understand the issue and learn from what other hoteliers are doing, I was put in touch with Sonakhanum Mammadova, the Executive Housekeeper at the Fairmont Flame Towers in Baku, Azerbaijan. Completed less than two years ago, the Flame Towers are utterly stunning and a symbol of modern Baku (google a few images and see for yourself). But fancy architecture doesn’t necessarily translate in excelsior cleaning services. And that is where we begin… …

Larry MogelonskyThe Unsung Heroes of Hospitality – Executive Housekeepers
Laundry

A Look Inside A Hotel Laundry

I liken the running of a hotel to the movement of an army – all the various teams and squads coordinated in sync for a common goal. And indeed, the staff at a hotel is often a virtual army, numbering the hundreds with any departments’ work invisible to the outside world (think covert ops). A property cannot function without these back-of-house processes, but because only fellow employees – and not guests – are privy to their inner details, it’s not hard to sniff out what makes them truly effective. For this pursuit, I was put in touch with Marta Vukotic, one of three laundry leaders at the Shangri-La Hotel in Vancouver. Opening in late January 2009 and in time for the Winter Olympics the following year, the Shangri-La is the only five-diamond hotel in the city as well as its tallest structure. This last bit may be a tad misleading …

Larry MogelonskyA Look Inside A Hotel Laundry
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The housekeeping imperative

When I was growing up, my mother would yell at me to clean my room. Once in a while, in haste, I would just slide all of my toys under the bed in the hope that she wouldn’t notice. On the surface, my room looked clean. Invariably, Mom would discover the disarray lying beneath my facade, and with much admonishment I would be forced to clear the mess, for real this time. An important lesson learned: You aren’t fooling anyone by doing a half-hearted job of cleaning, be it a kid’s bedroom or a hotel guestroom. In Canada, we have the CBC, an unusual television network in that it is at least partially funded by tax dollars and hence has a mandate to deliver Canadian content. This leads it to pursue many programs that would not necessarily make the cut from a commercial standpoint. One of these programs is “Marketplace,” …

Larry MogelonskyThe housekeeping imperative
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UV lights for housekeeping

Discussing dirty rooms isn’t exactly a new topic. But with the explosion of available electronica to broadcast criticism, guestroom cleanliness is something I run across multiple times an hour. It’s a salient reason behind negative reviews and something you have to monitor vigilantly. Most complaints against dirt are targeted at what’s on the surface — that is, what can be seen with your own two eyes: rug stains, ceiling mold, dusty lampshades, yellow blotches on pillow covers, spots on glasses in the bathroom and so on. Grievances have yet to really touch on what our eyes cannot detect outright such as germs on the remote control or residual blots on the bed sheets. These should not be ignored, however, as consumers are growing wise to these neglected areas, especially now that UV flashlights are not only cheap and but also readily available at a convenience store near you. And people …

Larry MogelonskyUV lights for housekeeping
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Hotel Germaphobia

The long and the short about what I am about to delve into is this: Dirty guestrooms are nothing short of poison for hotels. If you disagree, perhaps I can sway you. And if you already concur, then I hope you are doing everything you can to make this a non-issue. Because the truth is that dust, germs, grime or soot are now more aggravating to guests than ever before. One look at a travel review website and words like ‘dirty’ and ‘unclean’ pop off the screen, angrily wrought into a reviewer’s prose to justify extremely low appraisals. Too often I see comments on TripAdvisor and similar sites where the authors deem everything agreeable but then give a lousy one-star rating because of two or three marginally untidy aspects of the room. Moreover, the recent spate of hotel-centric reality television shows have all inculcated the need for clinical sterility in …

Larry MogelonskyHotel Germaphobia