A video clip was projected on screen showing the scope for training physically-challenged people to be successfully integrated in housekeeping operations.
With the difficulties facing a labour-intensive department, the value of comprehending and implementing technology to efficiently operate the Housekeeping department cannot be undermined. The final part of the session provided an insight on the use of technology via a dialogue between Akshi and Manbinder Singh – IT Manager, JW Marriott, Mumbai. Evidently, IT support in day-to-day operations is only possible when tenacious housekeepers take a ‘make-it-happen’ approach.
Manbinder explained how a simple telephone device today with the help of technology could enhance guest experience and enable housekeeping to provide the required service more accurately. The guest can use his or her smart phone, with the help of technology, to order dinner of his or her choice even while at the lobby, send messages for laundry or dry-cleaning services or check the status or even inform the hotel of his requirement to be served on arrival to the room.
“Laundry also has high potential in housekeeping in terms of revenue. I had worked for hotel Doha Marriott in Qatar, where in the total revenue laundry amounted to more than entire rooms sold plus the restaurant business. This is possible because of technology,” he added.
The three-pronged discussion held the interest of the audience giving rise to many queries from the delegates.
‘How to become a Red Apple’ – an inspirational talk by Pamini Hemaprabha got the audience on their feet and set the tone for the session ahead.
‘Nuances of HK Procurement Globally’ was chaired by Nitin Nagrale, Vice-President (Materials), Foodlink Restaurants and Catering India and Founder & General Secretary HPMF. Procurement experts Jaideep Gupta, Consultant & Director, Aanyah Management – Mumbai, Dinesh Singhe, Assistant Materials Manager, Hotel Holiday Inn, Mumbai International Airport, Teckbahadur Sarke, Materials Manager, Sahara Star and Rajendra Kankekar, Materials Manager-The Chedi Mumbai, discussed pertinent issues with Meenu Tognatta, Div. Housekeeper, ITC Ltd. and Reena Tiwari, Head – Administration, Artemis Hospitals. Juggling between functionality, aesthetics and price is a Herculean task.
In terms of inter-departmental relationship, procurement is one such department that faces unwarned demands. Procurement of housekeeping demands is no different, said Teckbahadur Sarke. “In fact, if the requirement comes to purchase with proper specification, it will not be difficult for the department to procure.”
Adding, Jaideep Gupta said, “When it comes to procurement of housekeeping supplies, if you are part of a group or a conglomerate or an international group where everything is specified, procurement does not have to do much; they just work on number. But, in owner-driven properties, the housekeeper and procurement departments have to work very closely together.”
Appreciating housekeepers’ talent, he said, “There are housekeepers who have come up very creative ideas and are very passionate about their work. Even with a budget constraint they come up with an ideal solution.”
The second day of the summit was inaugurated with the cutting of the cake by the Chief Guest Param Kanampilly together with Jayaprakash Nair and the heads of the various Asian Housekeeping Association.
Param Kanampilly is one of the foremost environment champions in this industry and the pioneer of Ecotels — the hallmark of environmentally sensitive hotels in India and Asia. It was a privilege to have him as the chairperson for the session, ‘Maintaining the Ecological Balance’. Citing the example of Maldives, Hari Krishnan, Director of Rooms – Maldives elaborated on the eco-friendly practices that are essential for their very existence. Within our own territory, Sanu Samuel, Deputy General Manager, Palava City Management Association described the efficient waste management model that is currently in use. These first-hand experiences were backed up by presentations of innovative products that provide eco-friendly solutions. Director Atika Rao of Manmachine Solutions propagated the use of machine floor cleaning with water. Kho Tjin Hok of Electrolux-Singapore highlighted Green Technology in Laundry Systems. The session concluded with a need for implementing new technology and seeking procedures to maintain the ecological balance in the hospitality industry.
Summarizing environment responsibility in reduce, reuse and recycle, Parma Kanampilly said, “Environment sensitivity is a journey and not a goal. Nobody can claim that they are completely environment sensitive, as one keeps learning every day. A simple example of a bulb; from incandescent bulb we went on to CFL and now LED is in. Innovations keep happening and will continue, and we will continue learning.
“Sustainability, on the other hand, is a very big subject which the whole world is concerned about. Sustainability and environmental responsibility go hand-in-hand.”
Introducing for the first time ‘Live Demo’, two innovative technologies were introduced to the housekeepers. Tjin Kho Hok-Lagoon Specialistt-APAC, Electrolux, Singapore, explained the cost effective, energy efficient and water efficient laundry system and Atika Rao, Director, Manmachine Solutions, India, launched floor polishing using plain water; thus, saving on chemicals.