Hotel housekeeping departments are one of the most expensive departments in a hotel, and certainly one of the most important departments. The work done by housekeeping teams is essential and impactful, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Housekeeping technology streamlines work providing much needed efficiency and cost-savings for hoteliers.
But not all hotel housekeeping software is built equally. It’s a fine line between being overly complicated and lacking functionality (both ends of the spectrum resulting in poor usage and frustration!). So what is it that makes a housekeeping software solution a “can’t live without,” essential piece of your hotel’s tech stack?
Here are seven housekeeping software must-have features that you should consider before purchasing a solution:
Gone are the days of hotel employees operating from behind a desk. With lean teams, it’s important for everybody to be out on the floor, including housekeeping managers. With mobile capabilities, managers and supervisors can change room attendant assignments, or room priority, from anywhere in the hotel. Changes happen (early check-ins, unexpected stayovers, and DND’s), and very few employees have time to go back to the office to rearrange schedules, especially at large properties.
The importance of making sure teams are doing the most important work at any given time is essential. A change in a room’s status shouldn’t require team members to do anything other than look down at their mobile devices, in real-time, for message updates and new assignments.
Flexible user permissions
For many hotels, lean operational teams have been a result of COVID-19. Few housekeeping have full teams, which means many employees need to wear multiple hats throughout the day. Flexible user permissions can allow a manager to inspect rooms if they’re short on supervisors, while still having big picture oversight. Additionally, room attendants may need the ability to inspect their own rooms on an especially busy day.
In Galveston, Texas, Richard See III, Regional Director of Room Operations at San Luis Resort Properties, reported that their housekeeping teams were able to leverage flexible user permissions to optimize staff labor. With modified roles, more employees had visibility into all of the active tickets at the hotels. Housekeeping employees could act as lobby attendants, room attendants, and runners, all in one day depending on where they were needed at that moment.
“Guests were still getting full service, but from a labor standpoint, we were really able to maximize,” said See III.
Software with a wide range of reporting capabilities can provide micro and macro-views of housekeeping department efficiency and progress throughout the day. Reporting helps hotels save money because this data can be used to save time when training employees, and ensuring all operations are being performed as expected. Reporting is also a great way to highlight employee superstars. While it could be used to also highlight under-performers, more often than not, reporting can bring other issues to light.
Diana Osuna, Customer Success Director, Strategic Accounts at ALICE, came across a problem within a hotel housekeeping department which she was able to solve by digging into reporting with the housekeeping manager. At a hotel in Mexico, it took 45 minutes for room attendants to deliver towels. On their own the hotel was able to streamline the process and get it down to 25 minutes before hitting a wall.
Diana worked with the management team to look at the data and they found that room attendants weren’t slow, but rather all of the towel requests were happening when guests returned from the beach, which was the same time as a housekeeping shift change. The reporting features built into ALICE Housekeeping helped Diana diagnose the issue, and prompted the hotel to change its staffing.
Auto-Assignment & Reassignment
Auto-assignment, and reassignment is an essential feature for hotel housekeeping software. It can help teams save time and money. In the morning, manually assigning boards can take hours for large properties. Auto-assignment cuts down on that time while assigning the proper number of credits to each attendant and supervisor, and enabling housekeeping managers to focus on other aspects of their job.
Social distancing has become a concern for many employees. ALICE Housekeeping can auto-assign rooms based on preset logic that allows room attendants to work in specific parts of the hotel, when possible.
A clean user-interface
Providing your housekeeping department with technology is only half of the battle. Making sure that teams leverage the software is important. Teams want to use technology that is easy to train on and easy to use. ALICE’s housekeeping software has a clean user-interface with intuitive icons, meaning that multilingual departments won’t have problems with communication. (Fun fact: In 2020, ALICE won an IXDA award for the design of its Housekeeping Solution!)
All of the features you need, and none of the features you don’t
The most important features to look for in hotel housekeeping software are the solutions to the problems that you have. Technology can be hugely helpful in lifting up your team, but just having the bells and whistles doesn’t make an opera. Many pieces of legacy software have complicated or outdated features that are hardly used. Having unnecessary functionality can be confusing for hoteliers.
An integration with your hotel’s PMS
It is essential for your hotel’s departments to have up to date, accurate information, and open lines of communication. An integration between your housekeeping software allows for instant into room status. ALICE is certified by existing PMS’ (Mews, Infor, Amadeus, Maestro, Resort Suite and Opera -- to name a few!) to exchange guest reservations and room status information in real-time.
Implementing housekeeping software at your hotel is a great first step toward streamlining your hotel’s housekeeping department, but finding the right software is the most important part. Interested in learning more about how ALICE Housekeeping can help your hotel? Schedule a demo today!