One of the major industries that will be bouncing back to action and also experience a steep growth in the coming months, is the hospitality industry. As the corporate world gets back to work and travel turns to normalcy, hotels will have to be fully geared up to churn out rooms at smaller intervals at full occupancy. One area that practically requires a minimum of 20 minutes to get ready for the next occupant is the hotel room. Hence, the rooms have to be maintained in a way that it just requires the housekeeper’s touch before the guest gets to occupy the room. There is so much more to room maintenance, says Balabhadra Bebartta, Corporate Housekeeper, Club Mahindra, Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Ltd, Goa, enumerating all that needs to be put in place when it comes to hotel rooms.
Room cleaning protocols have changed manifold since March 2020 and is being reviewed constantly from time to time. Correspondingly, SOPs have been amended too. “In terms of protocols that are followed routinely at the Resort, include disinfecting of rooms by using antimicrobial nano coating or fogging using ULV fogger; sanitizing high touch surfaces, using colour-coded microfiber duster for each task, following contactless cleaning in occupied rooms and disinfecting in-room crockeries/cutleries post washing/cleaning.”
How has the frequency of cleaning ducts, curtains, windows and other non-core areas changed? Cleaning frequency has been amplified in all these areas to ensure Zero compromise on hygiene standard.
Cleaning of ducts/windows and other areas are part of our daily departure check process wherein we ensure these are cleaned and disinfected before every arrival. Even though curtains are being treated with antimicrobial nano coating, as per schedule these are being washed/dry cleaned every quarter.
What motivated you to choose any new cleaning equipment, tools and chemicals that you have started using in the last two years?
As far as cleaning equipment are concerned, we have introduced steam cleaner and upholstery shampooing machine in each resort, to ensure all our public areas and guest rooms are hygienically maintained, along with ULV fogger for disinfecting each of the areas. We have introduced disinfecting chemicals for both porous and non-porous surfaces and also for crockery/cutleries. We have standardized our tools from Vileda and we ensure each resort has the desired tools to perform the task with no deviation accepted.
How has the laundry process for bed and bathroom linen changed?
Nothing much has changed in laundry process as we always continue washing our linen at high temperature for optimal result now and even then. However, we have introduced Laundry disinfecting chemical for Uniform and guest laundry post Covid.
With outstation travel bouncing back to pre-Covid levels, there is pressure on reducing room turnaround times. How is your team managing this practically?
With nearly 80% occupancy YTD, handling these situations is an everyday affair. This has been largely possible with the vigorous practical training to our associates for sharpening their skills, following right cleaning sequences (that not only eliminates error but saves time as well), timely room check (we call Departure Check) by engineering to ensure zero defect room and for following robust daily & periodic cleaning schedule. All this, at the end, contributes on lesser turnaround time.
As demand returns to normal, will you go back to normal staff levels, or will you rely on automation/mechanisation to rationalise the number of staff?
We never scaled down our staff and have bounced back very early during Covid. Guests wanting to holiday found it safe to be in resorts, which are away from the city and at driveable distance.
With resort location like ours with varied topography, it is hard to replace manual/human interference or touch. We cannot have Bots doing the rooms! However, our associates are equipped with all modern equipment & tools to perform their task which not only reduces the turnaround time but also ensures hygienically cleaned rooms.
What about digitisation to monitor housekeeping operations?
Currently it is being monitored manually. However, we are in discussion with a couple of service providers to go with full digitisation across our properties in this financial year. Post implementation, we could monitor: Live update of room status, pending job orders, guest request & complaint management/escalations, preventive maintenance status, different cleaning schedules, linen inventory / par level and lost and found services.