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Second Annual I-PHA India, West Zone Meet

The I-Professional Housekeepers Association (I-PHA) organised a conference on April 28, 2018 at IBIS Hotel Nashik. It was the second annual I-PHA West Zone Housekeepers Meet with attendees from cities like Pune, Mumbai and Aurangabad. These was a blend of supporting sectors of housekeeping like laundry managers, vendors, faculty of hotel management institutes and housekeepers. The agenda of the conference was conducted via expert talks, group activities and knowledge sharing discussions focusing on enhancing housekeeping services.

Anupama Deshmukh, Hospitality Trainer and Consultant, Executive Committee Member – I-PHA West Zone, commenced the conference by introducing all the vendor partners for the event and announcing the agenda for the day. “New and innovative products are an integral part of a housekeeper’s job” said Anupama.

Vaishali Sinha, Founder and General Secretary, I-PHA and Director housekeeping – Meluha- The Fern, Mumbai; Sonia Mittal, Founder member and Head – CSR, Events & Communications and Executive Housekeeper – Ramada Powai Hotel and Convention Centre, Mumbai; Virendra Chaudhary, Hotel Manager – Ibis Nasik; Rohit Abhang, Executive Committee Member, I-PHA – Pune, Front Office Manager – Keys Hotel, Pune; and Kunal Mane, Assistant Manager, Housekeeping – Ibis, Nasik were called on stage for the lamp lighting ceremony.

“Rather than merely importance, the hotel operates on housekeeping. It does not matter how well the product is crafted or designed, if you don’t maintain it, you will never sell” said Virendra Chaudhary, GM, Ibis Nasik, in his welcome address. He spoke about the importance of housekeeping for the running of hotels. “It is a big challenge to have talent on board, specially in Tier-2 and Tier-3 city. It is very rare to see a hotel management graduate choosing to work in housekeeping. The syllabus does not inspire this generation to choose housekeeping. As a hotelier, it is our responsibility to welcome the faculty of colleges to explore the new technologies and advancement in housekeeping and make students aware of it. Only then we can end up with better talent and respect in housekeeping,” added Virendra.

Vaishali Sinha, General Secretary, I-PHA and Director housekeeping – Meluha- The Fern, Mumbai, was next on the dais to speak about I-PHA and IHS Summit. “Nobody wants to join housekeeping. We are talking to faculty in Pune and Mumbai about the housekeeping syllabus. We have taken up this matters in Pune and are calling faculty from Nashik to speak to them and offer support to revamp the syllabus and inspire students to join housekeeping” said Vaishali.

“Three years back Sonia and I took this initiative together and now we have over 1000 housekeepers enrolled with our association. Next month we have the International Housekeepers Summit (IHS) wherein 11 country associations are involved with I-PHA. We have seen other countries supporting and have received a good response, and we expect support from Indian housekeepers too. I-PHA is associated with the Asian Housekeepers Association (AHA) and is also inspiring the upcoming generation to take this as a career, as it is the backbone of the hotel industry,” added Vaishali.

Next in line was a vendor’s presentation from Amandeep Singh, Perpendicular Maintenance Services Pvt. Ltd and Arunoday Bajpai, GM, Sales-Spring Air. Amandeep gave a small presentation on ‘Latest trends in Facade Cleaning’. “The main purpose of me attending this meet was though most housekeepers are aware of cleaning options available to them, the vendors for these services are fewer in Tier-2 cities. We wanted to target those cities,” said Amandeep.

The next speaker was Anupama Deshmukh who spoke about the ‘Importance of Training of Housekeeping Staff’ and also shared her experiences as a housekeeping trainer. “I always advise one should start on a micro level. I truly believe that housekeepers have guest relation values imbibed in them and a willingness to work hard. These are the two things required for our industry. If we just tap into it correctly and bring it into our professional lives, it will go a long way. Enhancing guest services is contagious, if the staff is recognised and motivated in terms of the right professional attitude. They take ownership of the job and will do their best,” said Anupama.

Interactive session on ‘Overcoming Challenges in Housekeeping and Sharing Best Practices’ was done in a unique way which included writing on charts, making groups, discussing about challenges and finding a solution for it. Each and every person in the hall took part in this activity and gave their opinion.

Dr Aditi Kulkarni, Physiotherapist and Ergonomist, wrapped up the day by sharing a presentation on ‘Practices to Improve Health and Safety Using Ergonomics’ and also emphasized on growing importance of Ergonomics in Housekeeping.

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