Long Term Focus
Balancing the brand standards with market availability will result in realistic SPECS. Revision of SPECS henceforth should be a shared responsibility, where procurement and housekeeping share information and arrive at an agreement before finalizing. This will truly prove to be beneficial for the hotel.
A collective decision for high indent items and independent decision for low indent items will smoothen operations. The interactions between housekeeping and procurement will then proceed beyond being merely transactional to a healthy relationship and simplify the procurement process.
Maintaining the Ecological Balance
Environmental damage—reducing oxygen levels and increasing carbon levels– is a reality. Hotels collectively are major contributors to this damage. March 2015, Cornell Hospitality Report, Environmental Sustainability in the Hospitality Industry, mentions “The impact of a few, focused initiatives has been significant and measurable, allowing us to showcase quantifiably significant results of implementing simple programs at multiple properties.” Corporate recognition and awards are encouraging hotels to decrease environmental footprint while controlling costs through sustainable practices.
The concept of sustainable development was introduced by a United Nations commission as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Each individual has the responsibility to take care of the environment, even more so the large producers and consumers of natural resources, given the fragile condition of the natural ecological balance and the limited nature of most energy sources of the earth.
This section looks at green and sustainable initiatives offered:
• Stone polishing: A crystallizer which restores and renews the stone is acidic in nature. Acid is potentially dangerous to the user, surface and environment. Using water as an alternative to acid to bring back the shine is worth considering.
• Alternative to dry cleaning of garments: Solvents are known to have a damaging effect on the user and the environment. They are harsh on the fabric as well. Perc (Perchloroethylene) most commonly used for drycleaning is banned in a few countries—USA, Denmark, France. The ill effects of Perc will increase hotel costs in terms of medical and insurance. Also, dry cleaning is only surface cleaning.
• Waste management: Segregation at source defines the success of waste management system to derive energy and compost. A study suggested that hotels in India contribute up to 30% to the generation of the overall waste. A sustainable model, framework, strategy, blueprint should necessarily contain of social, economic and environmental aspects.
Proposed Solutions &Applications
March 2015 Cornell Hospitality Report, Environmental Sustainability in the Hospitality Industry, highlighted the following initiatives:
• The Marriott Burbank Hotel, California removed all high-water need landscape and created a high-desert designed landscape, featuring foliage which needs little to no water.
• At High Peaks Resort, New York, the guests are given an option of a “Green Stay”. This reduces the water consumption for washing and cleaning. It also reduces the potentially harmful detergents used during cleaning and saves cleaning and laundering costs. The guests in turn are offered incentives on food & beverage.
A few more simple-to-execute examples which are financially beneficial in addition to being environmentally friendly are:
1. Faucet aerators to restrict water flow
2. Photocell lighting in exteriors and corridors
3. Digital review of daily reports as against printing and wasting paper
4. Motion sensors and twist timer lighting for heart-of-thehouse areas
5. Switching off all guestroom lights except one when guests are not in the room
6. Linen re-use program based on the length of stay of the guest
The Indian Hospitality business, in the long term continues to be positive both for business and leisure segments. The Indian Government having realised the potential in tourism has taken several steps to make India a global tourism Hub. Programs like ‘Clean India’, ‘Smart Cities’, ‘Make in India’ are evidence to the initiative that highlight Government’s support to skill development in Hospitality and Tourism.
[box type=”shadow” ]Housekeeping as a career is challenging, requiring multiple operational skills, communication skills with guest and staff alike. They uphold the discipline of service excellence.[/box]