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TRACING TRENDS IN HOTEL HOUSEKEEPING

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Avril-Sule“The transition between how a guest perceives a hotel prior to arrival and the reality at the time of check-in is radically affected by the standard of cleanliness. A few years ago, we visited a newly opened hotel in Singapore. When we checked in, we found a cup of instant noodles on the dressing table which seemed like a strange place for it to be. On searching for drinking glasses, we found one solitary glass and minutes later we discovered the other glass on the bedside floor half filled with whisky!!! Without a doubt, this room had not been cleaned after the previous guest left. Such is the fate of guests who visit a hotel where the organization of the housekeeping department features at the bottom of the management priority list.”

– Avril Sule

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“Housekeepers with the florist try to study the trends in floral patterns internationally and incorporate the same in their hotels. Exotic flowers and greenery like various types of orchids, anthuriums, tulips, lilies, birds of paradise etc, are used,” adds Meghana Tendulkar.

With increasing concern for the environment, ecotels follow stringent environmental practices in order to meet the audit. “From installing solar energy panels, water recycling mechanisms, water treatments plants and rainwater harvesting, hotels will try to build energy saving measures at the time of construction.

Some of the measures that are further adopted are:

a. Using eco-friendly certified products in all areas of the hotel
b. Using CFLs and energy saving equipment
c. Motion sensors in public restrooms
d. Segregation of waste at source. Maintain separation of wet and dry wastes
e. Installing water and electricity meters at source to monitor and control consumption
f. Reuse waste water from rooms and kitchens after treatment for watering gardens and chiller plants
g. Creating consciousness and awareness amongst staff for environment
h. Guest participation in the hotel’s environmental programme.

While many of these serve the purpose of ‘going green’, others come across as strategies to curtail expenses.

As a hospitality educator who has taught housekeeping over a span of nearly four decades, I have studiously worked with syllabus committees, other housekeeping professors and professionals from the industry to elevate the status of Housekeeping to a career of choice. Watching this transformation is extremely heartening. In particular, it has been a matter of pride to know that one of my students has cowritten a book which has become a reference text across the country.

[box type=”shadow” ]Ganapathy-Raghubalan

Hotel Management books have been synonymous with food and beverage only. There was a big vacuum for a well researched Indian book on Housekeeping

 – Ganapathy Raghubalan

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Ganapathy Raghubalan, co- author of ‘Hotel Housekeeping Operations and Management adds, “Hotel Management books have been synonymous with food and beverage only. There was a big vacuum for a well researched Indian book on Housekeeping and I felt that this was one area that needed to be addressed. This book has been a conscious effort to bridge the gap for Hospitality students as well as the Industry, keeping in mind the syllabus of all the major universities in India.”

As a housekeeper, I look forward to

  •  Electronic checklists in the form of i-pads for Housekeeping staff
  • Automated functions for various housekeeping functions like supplies and inventories, etc.
  • Cleaning with Robots
  • Using smart phone applications for tracking housekeeping  attendant cleaning time, floorwise duty roster for cleaning schedules and comprehensive housekeeping console, which allows floor-wise, and userwise performance tracking. This tracking is useful for guest supplies, laundry, room cleaning and housekeeping inventory information.”

If one were to create a wish list from housekeepers it would be lengthy and endless but Mary Hall, Director of Hallmark Training – Ireland, sums it up in a brief sentiment that echoes the voices of housekeepers everywhere. “My wish for Hotel Housekeeping is that it would command the respect, reward and remuneration that it is effective management merits.”

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