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Hosting Housekeepers at a Housekeeping Summit

It was recently that one of the housekeeping managers of a hotel in the Gulf mentioned having to host 3000 guests for a wedding. The hotel had to fly down the best of the housekeeping staff from across countries to ensure perfect customer service. Whether 3000 or 300, the effort that goes into taking care of each guest, the cleanliness, the multiple requirements, the ambience and above all the toilets, is enormous. The going gets even tougher if the guests being hosted are housekeepers themselves from different hotel properties. Hari Sukumar – Vice- President (Operations), Jaypee Palace Hotel & Convention Centre, Agra, speaks to Clean India Journal on how it feels like hosting a 16-country housekeeping delegation at the International Housekeepers Summit.

To play a perfect host, Jaypee Palace Hotel & Convention Centre, the hospitality partner to the IHS2019, set the ball rolling almost nine months before the event. Right from the floor to the roof, anything could come to the scrutiny of the guests as they were all housekeepers. Be it the linen in the rooms, the amenities in the bathrooms, the cleaning quality in the facility, the guest hospitality extended, the décor & ambience… everything was spruced up for the Summit.

It definitely was not surprising when the housekeeper guests even went to check the extent of cleanliness below the closet or the level of polish on the marble flooring.

Q. What difference does the housekeeping team make to the customer experience at your properties, and how do you keep them motivated?

A: I have been very vociferous and vocal about the fact that housekeeping is not an expense department; it is the nerve centre of any organisation. You walk into a hotel and you want to see a clean and tidy place, but that’s not the end of it, that’s just the beginning.

The housekeeping team does the same monotonous job 365 days a year, so keeping them motivated and happy is a big challenge. So, you have to keep getting them interested in learning and development and skill upgradation, which has always been a forte of the Jaypee Group. We are probably one of the first organisations to have training and development managers in every unit, including housekeeping. We have both internal trainers as faculty that comes in from outside for guest lectures, so it is a constant evolution of the product that keeps the team performing at an optimal level.

Q. How does it feel to have housekeepers congregate at your property for their summit?

A: It was daunting, initially. My housekeeper was very apprehensive. But I told him that no-one is here to evaluate the property; they are all here to enjoy themselves, so we are going to make sure they have a pleasant time. And it is the entire property that we were going to showcase, not only housekeeping. There is enough and more for a guest to do at a property like ours.

I always believe that if you put your best foot forward, things are going to work out well.

Q. Can you give us an overview of the Jaypee group’s properties?

A: We have five luxury properties across North India – Agra, Mussoorie, Greater Noida and two in Delhi (Vasant and Siddharth), with an average strength of 2,800 employees. We also run a state-of-the-art sports facility in Greater Noida called Atlantic, with members.

We believe our biggest strength is not our properties but the people who work in them. It’s the people that make the organisation.

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