By Suzanne Frush, Product Manager at ALICE
Streamlining operations is always a top priority for hotel general managers. An effective way to start streamlining your entire operation is to start with individual departments. Each department in your hotel has its own challenges, areas for improvement, and roadblocks. Housekeeping teams will likely have different pain points and need different support than a maintenance and engineering, or guest services team do.
COVID-19 has had a significant impact on how hotel housekeeping teams operate. Teams have gotten leaner, and they have had to adapt to new levels of cleanliness, as well as ever changing regulations and guidelines (at local, state, and national levels!). While having housekeeping software has always made a significant impact, it has now gone from a nice to have, to a must-have for any housekeeping department.
When operations and communications are streamlined within your hotel’s housekeeping department, you are equipping your team to tackle any challenges that come their way. Streamlining your housekeeping operations can also have a positive impact on your guests and can help your team generate positive online reviews.
Although streamlining your housekeeping operations might seem daunting, it doesn’t have to be! Streamlining operations may not happen overnight, but here a few tips to get you started:
Invest in a housekeeping management system to save time and money
Hotels are incredibly busy environments, especially with leaner teams, due to COVID-19. Staff members are being asked to wear more hats, and although everyday tasks still need to be completed, your team may be running into more unexpected or last minute requests every day. Examples include hotel guests wanting to check-in early, or guests that don’t want their room cleaned that day.
Room attendants need to know about changes right away to avoid duplicating efforts, for help with prioritization, and to ensure guest satisfaction. Having hotel housekeeping software like ALICE allows your team to be notified of the last minute requests, and the urgency of each of them, all in real time.
Hotel housekeeping software that talks to your hotel’s PMS saves your housekeeping staff a considerable amount of time and helps eliminate hotel-wide confusion. Allow your front desk, which typically has to act as a middle person for hotels without housekeeping software, to focus on personalizing the guest experience and allow your housekeeping team to focus on their responsibilities.
Operations software that streamlines housekeeping duties allows you to provide real-time insights and data of your daily department operations. Software with a wide range of reporting capabilities can provide micro and macro-views of your housekeeping department efficiency and progress. This saves money because this data can be used to save time when training employees, and ensure all operations are being performed as expected.
When hotel housekeeping duties are streamlined, your hotel will be able to elevate its level of guest satisfaction and more importantly, it will be able to track it, too! Being able to monitor your team’s progress and keep in constant communication will enable your housekeeping department to make small improvements over time, and catch problems before they ever become an issue.
Re-evaluate your hotel’s cleaning procedures
In early 2020, there was a lack of clarity about how COVID-19 spread, and how housekeeping teams should change or revise their existing procedures to keep everyone safe. As 2020 progressed, and as science-backed recommendations and guidelines became more prevalent, management teams began to formulate response plans depending on the size and type of property they were operating.
It is important for hotels to review how their cleaning procedures have changed, and to communicate which changes are permanent and which ones are temporary. Hotel housekeeping software can help provide flexibility for permissions and procedures to change over time, especially if some housekeeping procedures can be removed as science no longer merits its existence.
Connect everyone in your housekeeping department
Streamlining your hotel housekeeping duties starts with team organization and strong buy-in from your employees. When your housekeeping department comes in for their shift, a housekeeping manager or general manager can create a to-do list, personalized for each team member.
Each employee is held accountable for their to-do lists, whether it is areas to clean, specific room numbers, or details on what needs to be cleaned in each room. As the world is trying to work through a global pandemic, ensure all health guidelines are being respected with easy tools like checklists.
Once a room has been cleaned and checked off, departments throughout the hotel are notified. This reduces miscommunications and delays in communicating room readiness to the front desk. Using checklists for cleaning each room ensures your team is meeting brand standards and ever-changing COVID-19 protocols.
Additionally, you rely on your housekeeping team to notify other departments in your hotel if a lamp is broken, or if the blind is broken. With platform technology, your team can easily, and quickly notify the maintenance department directly, without having to involve the front desk, or anyone else for that matter, to communicate new issues. When your housekeeping duties are streamlined, each team member knows their responsibilities for the day and eliminates any guesses or questions.