By Suzanne Frush, Product Manager, ALICE
The days of housekeeping managers and supervisors sitting behind desks, pens and paper in hand, and running back and forth to the printer are gone. Hotel housekeeping software is the future. The inclusion of technology in the housekeeping department is not new. However, COVID-19 has accelerated the need for housekeeping departments to do more with less, and housekeeping software helps teams do just that.
When selecting a housekeeping management system for your hotel, there are many considerations including the ever important buy-in from all stakeholders; hotel managers and owners, housekeeping managers, supervisors and room attendants. But it’s best to determine which software features will be the most important for your hotel first.
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.
Think about your team - are you handling luxury clients, beholden to brand standards, or operating at a small room count? These types of circumstances will change what benefit you’ll derive from a tool, so it’s especially important to keep your specific operational needs in mind.
Here a few features to consider before purchasing a solution:
Mobile dispatch with instant updates
With booking windows shrinking, changes in reservations are happening all the time. Mobile dispatch means that you can update your team (supervisors and room attendants) at any time, wherever they might be on the property.
Most housekeeping departments are currently operating with a lean staff until occupancy returns to pre-pandemic levels. With a smaller team, the importance of making sure they’re doing the RIGHT work at any given time is critical. A change in room status shouldn’t require team members to do anything other than look down at their mobile devices, in real time, for the message and new assignments.
Mobile capabilities for supervisors
On the floor is where the work needs to be done. Make sure that the software you are considering includes the ability to reassign work on the go. Features like automatic prioritization, which re-orders rooms based on occupancy, reservations status, and/or VIP means that anyone who can be on the floor is (rather than being tied to a desk).
Understanding where your team's time is going at a high level is critical. With a lean staff, there isn’t much wiggle room for confusion. Make sure the tool that you’re investing in allows you to see what’s happening at 3 ft AND 3,000 ft. It will help you lead through the turmoil to success.
Housekeeping isn’t an island. Your team will need to dispatch to other departments (unless you can magically fix the HVAC system...but hey, it’s all possible these days!). Similarly, other teams will want to communicate with you. From the front office to the engineering team, a housekeeping module that enables you to collaborate with every department in the hotel is essential.
Having every department in its own silo reduces the effectiveness of everyone across the board.
Also, having visibility into what the other teams might be doing is critical. It’s easier to know that you can’t release a room to the front desk when there’s an ongoing maintenance issue, rather than needing to coordinate all that information manually.
These days, your operation could be changing on a monthly basis, as hotels experience new housekeeping protocols, products, or service patterns. You want to make sure that as you implement these changes, the software you pick will be able to adapt with you, rather than put up roadblocks about what you can or cannot do.
Look for housekeeping software that is adjustable after it’s implemented. That will help your team adapt to whatever the future might hold.
Additional things to consider for YOUR housekeeping team
Sure, these are all great things to consider. But what works for one housekeeping team may be useless to another. In evaluating software features, it’s best to take inventory of your own teams strengths, weaknesses, and problem areas that hotel housekeeping software can help with.
A few questions to ask yourself:
- In what ways has COVID changed my hotel’s operations?
- Suspended stay over service
- Smaller staff
- Employees from other departments helping out in housekeeping
- Enhanced cleaning protocols
- Under what circumstances will my hotel’s operations revert to what they were before COVID-19?
- Government (national, state, and/or local) requirements. Look for tools that offer flexibility in the places you need it most so that nothing is too hard to navigate in the future.
- What is the most important goal for your team?
- High functionality with a lean team? Consider automation features.
- Guest satisfaction? Make sure that the software you’re considering integrates with your PMS, so that guests can check in to rooms as soon as they’re marked ready.
It can be easy to fall in love with bells and whistles, but ultimately, is the tool helping you towards your most important goals and vision for the future?
Housekeeping management software is a tremendous asset for any hotel. Spend the necessary time to research and truly understand which features will work best for your hotel. From time savings, to cost savings, to overall efficiency, and staff happiness, the benefits are endless.