Improving housekeeping operations is not just about maintaining hotel cleanliness and ensuring guest comfort—it is also about providing support to the front-line staff. The behind-the-scenes housekeeping powerhouse plays a key role among hotel departments, making sure the rooms are ready for guests and the front-of-house services can run smoothly.
Enhancing housekeeping operations and fostering seamless collaboration between the front and back of the house significantly influence a hotel’s overall service quality. In this article we will explore 9 simple tips and tricks to increase overall housekeeping efficiency through better collaboration, faster request handling and employee welfare.
1. Organizing Roles and Responsibilities with Technology
Keeping your housekeeping duties organized is crucial for quicker task completion, allowing the front desk staff to streamline the check-in process, which ultimately leads to positive feedback from the guests. Your housekeeping staff should be able to easily check a dashboard showing the status of all hotel rooms—whether they are occupied, vacant or requested cleaning service. They should also be able to quickly inform the front desk if a room is ready for early or on-time check-ins.
While implementing technology such as housekeeping software might require a bit of staff training, this investment will soon pay off with increased efficiency. Such systems empower your team by bringing clarity into the workflows through real-time communication and updates, which allow your back-of-house housekeeping team to sync with the front-of-house front desk.
2. Invest Efforts in Support and Safety of Your Housekeeping Team
The housekeeping team serves as a cornerstone for a hotel’s success, despite being somewhat undervalued, particularly among the younger workforces. This demanding job often keeps employees consistently occupied and makes them prone to burnout.
Finding and retaining an experienced housekeeping team is becoming increasingly difficult in the hospitality industry. Investing efforts into employee welfare is a crucial step toward staff retention and attracting qualified talent. Apart from the basics such as providing clean, well-fitting uniforms, and stocking up on cleaning and safety equipment, this approach also involves actively listening to your employee’s needs.
Since housekeeping staff are predominantly women who are often tasked with physically demanding work such as turning mattresses, lifting heavy laundry bags, and shuttling them to and from the laundry room, it is crucial to have physically strong individuals available to assist during the shifts. If feasible within the hotel’s policies, managers can consider offering complimentary physical therapy vouchers to help alleviate the physical strain on your hardworking staff. This small gesture can contribute to both their well-being and overall job satisfaction.
Even though the housekeeping department operates behind the scenes, the staff often meets the guests during their shift. To ensure that your staff can handle difficult situations, it is essential to foster an environment where the employees can talk to their superiors and feel comfortable addressing any form of workplace issues.
3. Improve Team Communication
In a busy team responsible for guest satisfaction, good communication is key. To improve communication within the housekeeping department, make sure your team uses a work-related messaging app or, even better, hotel-specific software with messaging features.
Opting for specialized software not only helps with communication but also lets your housekeeping team keep better track of their tasks, respond to new assignments promptly, and assign the right people to the job. If they need assistance or have questions, they can reach out to their colleagues in just a few seconds.
4. Allow Your Housekeepers to be Mobile and Flexible
There are plenty of times when staff need to go somewhere else to perform their tasks, and the rest of the team needs their help on-site. Combining portable technology such are work smart phones, tablets, or smart watches with the mobile version of your operational software streamlines housekeeping operations by allowing your team to pick up new tasks, update status, and close tickets on-the-go.
Let your staff move freely, receiving real-time updates about their tasks conveniently on their work devices. This way your team can stay connected and well-informed effortlessly wherever they are.
5. Improve Guest-Staff Communication
Move beyond outdated in-room experience by introducing a direct communication channel for guest requests. This can be integrated seamlessly with your Property Management System (PMS) or even better, housekeeping software.
These channels not only enhance guest experience but also enable real-time feedback collection. Guests can voice their needs and concerns, allowing proactive issue resolution before they escalate into negative reviews. Effective communication channels are vital for your staff to address guest requests promptly and maintain positive guest relations.
6. Providing Sufficient Training
Productivity thrives with a well-informed and well-trained staff. A well-trained staff should know how to organize their cart, who does what in the laundry room, how to wear their uniform, or operate the hotel equipment and technology.
Additionally, implementing efficient standard operating procedures (SOPs) along with clear practices, checklists, or workflow templates ensures that your team can smoothly navigate their responsibilities and know who to approach when they are unsure about the next steps.
7. Offer Opt-Out Housekeeping
Opt-out housekeeping allows your guests to request not to make up their room on a given day. By offering this option, hotels promote energy efficiency and encourage eco-friendly practices.
This initiative also allows your team to have less packed shifts and avoid spending time cleaning rooms when it is unnecessary. Given that housekeeping is already one of the busiest departments in a hotel, every minute saved counts.
However, it is important to let the guests know that this option is available. Hotels can design a simple mechanism to let the guests select to opt out of housekeeping by email or use guest technology such as hotel apps, IPTV, or AI assistants. No matter what channel you choose, it is best if it also syncs with your main operational system, so that your housekeeping team gets the notification instantly.
8. Prioritize Guest Feedback for Service Optimization
As mentioned above, effective communication channels are essential to ensure your staff receives and acts on guest feedback in a timely manner, fostering a continuous cycle of improvement in your housekeeping services.
With direct communication touchpoints such as AI assistants, chatbots or hotel brand apps, your guests can promptly voice out any issues during their stay. If you choose technology that links with your housekeeping software or task management system, your team gets notified in real time. This proactive approach not only prevents negative reviews but also underscores your dedication to guest satisfaction.
9. Utilize Predictive Maintenance Technology
Using smart maintenance technologies, hotels can significantly improve housekeeping efficiency. Cutting-edge sensors, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and predictive maintenance tools can help identify equipment issues proactively, ensuring timely fixes before they affect guest experiences.
By embracing smart maintenance, your hotel not only reduces downtime but also optimizes resource usage, contributing to sustainable practices. Moreover, staying ahead of maintenance challenges helps you extend the lifespan of your equipment and prevent unnecessary expenses.
Hotels can improve housekeeping operations by utilizing the right technology such as housekeeping software or communication channels for the staff and the guests. Taking these measures will ensure a better housekeeping service and streamlined collaboration between back-of-house and front-of-house teams.
In the current hospitality climate, prioritizing staff well-being through support mechanisms is also needed to increase retention rates and keep a motivated workforce. Finally, introducing opt-out housekeeping aligns with sustainability trends, reducing resource usage and operational costs, ultimately benefiting the hotel’s bottom line.