Hotel cleaning, now almost entirely resembles hospital cleaning. The attention to detail, and a series of interventions related to disinfection have convinced people that they can safely stay in an environment that is not their own. Pankaj Behl – Executive Housekeeper, Crowne Plaza Gurgaon speaks about just how he and his team have outdone themselves in providing guests with the dual luxuries of comfort and hygiene:
For a guest, our hotel is a home away from home. He should feel as safe here as he feels at home. So, when the lockdown started, we started looking for chemicals which could ensure surfaces — both back-of-the-house and front-of-the-house — are disinfected very well, so that there is no trace of the virus.
We had a few expats guests staying with us when the lockdown was imposed; they became a part of our family, and still are. When they finally checked out, they left a beautiful note for all of us because they were long-stay guests who were so happy with our level of service.
New machines and chemicals
Diversey and Ecolab are our hygiene partners. Diversey came up with products, which are effective against Covid, which we started using with immediate effect to disinfect each surface. We had listed down high-touch surfaces which needed to be disinfected at regular intervals. The same goes for rooms and corridors.
We got three types of sanitisation machines to be used in different areas; we kept one on the main porch to sanitise luggage, one for sanitising public areas, and one for guest rooms. We also introduced automatic sanitiser dispensers, both in the front and back of the house.
We use three types of microfibres for cleaning: yellow for dusting of surfaces, pink for bathroom cleaning, and so on. We also have our supervisors using blue UV light to check washrooms; even if the floor has been mopped, there may be some marks of urine still left.
Inside the new guest room
After one guest checks out, before the next guest checks in, we isolate the room for 72 hours. We do complete fogging of the room, after which we start using chemicals. Then the room is made, and opened to the guest.
We came up with the concept of providing our guests with clutter-free rooms. So now, when the bed is made, there is no extra runner or extra cushions placed on the bed. We stopped placing minibars in rooms. In the bathrooms, we avoid placing paper amenities like dental kits or shaving kits, which were common in all rooms; now, we provide them on request, because guests also want to know for how long each kit has been in the room. They would rather ask for it separately.
We also follow contact less delivery for everything from housekeeping to in-room dining. A table is placed outside every guest room, and everything is placed on that. The guest picks it up from there. We don’t keep dining menus in rooms. We have given guests QR codes with which they can access the in-room dining menu, and order.
For room cleaning, we ask guests for a window of four-hours when he or she is not in the room. After the guest checks out, whether or not a linen item is used or unused, we always replace it with a fresh item. We don’t try to take shortcuts to save on time and effort, because we are aware of how important it is for the safety of our guests as well as our colleagues.
New dining experience
In restaurants and bars, we have arranged furniture to ensure physical distancing. None of our restaurants will have any cushions. Each table will have a tag indicating whether or not it has been sanitised. The floor is disinfected every hour.
Our new set up for banqueting involves a barrier in front of every dish, and a server in PPE for every dish. Multiple people do not touch the ladle to serve themselves. All F & B staff wear face shields apart from face masks.
Protecting staff health
Sanitiser bottles are available with all cleaning staff and on each trolley; each person has to use them before going from one room to the next, to avoid cross contamination. Physical distancing is in place even in the back of the house, including staff cafeterias. Someone is always standing at the door to make sure the capacity of the room is not exceeded.
Earlier, most products were anti-bacterial, now we have antiviral products. Cleanliness has become a selling point; if a guest does not think a hotel’s cleaning standards are up to the mark, he or she will not come back.