Raising the bar in terms of service quality and customer loyalty, the global hotel chains with corporate practices and guest services are striving to become customer favourites. The department of housekeeping that forms the face and holds the pulse of the organisation takes the lead in providing the ultimate in services and offerings. Vijayalakshmi Sridhar finds out how housekeeping heads of hotel chains balance customer expectations, brand image and the department’s own scruples.
The housekeeping agenda is driven by brand image, competition and globally recognized standards in the industry. The entire gamut of housekeeping services boils down to how well quality amenities are rendered to guests. “There are some guiding parameters to do the job well,” says Swarnalata Mankikar, Executive Housekeeper, ITC Gardenia, Bangalore. “The area must be free of dust/debris, stains, hair, fungi and cobwebs. We consider these to be the ‘five cardinal sins’ of housekeeping. In addition, we also follow the principle of Six Sigma where any area that needs to be cleaned follows the process of Sort, Select, Shine, Standardize, Sustain and Safety. Measurable instruments have standard benchmarks that the organization adheres to. Post cleaning an area, the instrument measures the quality and the readings must be as per a set benchmark mentioned in the Standard Operating Procedures of the organization.”
Of course, there is a cost and time involved in achieving this. However, notes Bhavana Alvarez, Executive Housekeeper, Vivanta by Taj – MG Road, Bangalore,“The cost is long forgotten but the quality is remembered forever. For us, quality is immaculately clean and hygienic rooms and public areas which satisfy all your five senses.”
According to Chinna Thambi, Assistant Housekeeper, Davanam Sarovar Portico Suites, Bangalore, what speaks of the brand’s housekeeping’s sparkling standards is the cleaning of each surface in the room, including the walls, baseboards, floor tiles and grout, doors, windows, light fixtures, smoke detectors and sprinklers, light diffusers, air vent grates, and the tops of entertainment hutches, armoires, and door jambs to shower curtains with corresponding solutions and the methods.
Taking it to the next level, he adds, deep cleaning comes into the perspective. “Deep cleaning is the process of taking a room out of a hotel’s salable inventory and thoroughly cleaning it to more exacting standards than is normally performed during the daily maintenance. Most guestrooms are deep-cleaned between two and four times a year, depending on the occupancy level of the hotel.”