The housekeeping department plays a vital role in every hotel. Housekeeping staff is responsible for ensuring that guest areas are trim and spruce, and without housekeeping, the state of a hotel would quickly deteriorate. The housekeeping department is the backbone of any hotel and it plays a crucial role in keeping guests satisfied.
Modern-day housekeeping software makes it easier than ever to ensure your hotel and its housekeeping staff is organized and efficient. Digital tools incorporate several avenues for streamlined communication and task management, ensuring your housekeeping department is always up to date with the latest information.
Meet Guest Expectations
Guests have high expectations when staying in a hotel and these expectations are only compounded by online reviews and booking websites. With third-party booking sites playing a more prominent role in guest relations than ever before, it's critical to minimize negative reviews by meeting specific standards. All it takes is one slip-up — a stained towel in the bathroom or crumbs left under the bed — for a guest to comment publicly online. Potential guests may read those reviews and decide to look elsewhere for reservations. According to an online travel review study supported by TripAdvisor, more than 97% of consumers read online reviews from other travelers. They are instantly wary of words like "outdated," "dirty" or "unwelcoming."
Beyond near-flawless presentation, guests also expect 24-hour readiness. In today's technologically-advanced world, 40% of travelers plan and book trips last-minute, with many making reservations as little as a week beforehand. While a 3:00 p.m. check-in is standard, guests now want flexibility under tight deadlines and the ability to check-in as early as noon or as late as midnight. These expectations mean housekeeping staff needs to be proficient and ensure that non-reserved rooms are clean and available at a moment's notice.
While these expectations may be difficult to meet with a manual system in place, hotel housekeeping software makes it easy to streamline processes. There is a variety of software available to track reservations and automatically alert housekeepers to newly-booked rooms that need to be prepared. Management can assign and track routine tasks — such as sweeping, changing sheets, restocking towels and more — allowing housekeepers to follow an otherwise printed schedule of tasks on a mobile device. When communication is clear and instant, it provides employees with more time to focus on improving the customer experience.Improve Employee Motivation
Many of the old systems and practices found in housekeeping departments can make tasks more difficult and time-consuming than they need to be. This inefficiency creates more strain on employees and supervisors while diminishing valuable time that could be spent elsewhere.
The strain on housekeeping operations can often lead to unmotivated and dispassionate employees who regularly call out from scheduled hours or quit without notice. In fact, at a rate of 73.8%, the hospitality industry has a higher turnover than many other industries. That's the equivalent of 6% of staff leaving each month. When turnover is high, schedules can become cumbersome and reliable employees must deal with increased workloads. In turn, the hotel often experiences an overall reduction in standards and productivity.
Housekeeping software helps to quickly communicate a department's duties and outline expectations so that employees, whether new or seasoned, understand how to perform tasks correctly. Software minimizes the chance of errors due to miscommunication and ensures the department is running expeditiously. A well organized and smooth-running department will lead to happier employees who are motivated to stick around.Streamline Task Priorities
The hope of a hotel is that guests keep walking through the door, and with that, a housekeeping department's duties are never-ending. With so much to do and so little time, it can be difficult for employees to determine which tasks are more important than others. Don't let questions and confusion bog down productivity. With housekeeping software, management can assign tasks to specific housekeepers and mark the level of importance. This streamlined organization helps structure day-to-day routines while increasing the visibility of progress to supervisors.
If you’re skeptical, consider The Coast Victoria, one of Coast Hotels’ 39 properties.The culture among staff and management was strong; but like many properties of all sizes and brands, core efficiency and accountability was being held back by cumbersome, deficient systems that failed to meet the demands of modern hospitality. Within only the first few weeks of moving onto ALICE Housekeeping, the transformation was striking: dramatically reduced task times, far more accountability and markedly improved staff satisfaction. The Coast Victoria housekeeping manager was able to reallocate up to 71 minutes of work a day with ALICE housekeeping, which adds up to as much as 448 hours annually. Additionally, The Coast Victoria was able to reduce communication time down to less than a minute in order to communicate descriptions and/or pictures of issues in rooms.
Housekeeping software aims to eliminate guesswork and allow employees open access to helpful resources. When employees feel confident in their roles, they can complete tasks promptly and better meet the expectations of their guests. They can determine which tasks are a priority without too much micromanagement, which helps them gain confidence in their positions. Confident employees are, in turn, more likely to be motivated about their work and show up for their scheduled hours. Any hotel with a productive staff has an excellent chance of achieving long-term success.
About the author
Kacey Bradley is the blogger behind The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Along with writing for her blog, she has written for sites like U.S. News, SUCCESS, Guides for Brides, Hotel Online and more.