Hotel Housekeeping: Should You Outsource Hotel Housekeeping Services?
Phil Benson asks if hoteliers should outsource their hotel housekeeping and takes a look at the new technology housekeeping service providers have at their disposal.
One of the most overlooked, yet essential functions of a hotel is the housekeeping operation, which is fundamental to the reputation of a business and is ranked as one of the top non-negotiable factors by guests.
Columnist Caroline Cooper from Zeal Coaching is at a loss as to why this important role is often underestimated and why it is held in such low status despite having a relatively small staff turnover, compared to the rest of the hospitality industry.
In her recent column for hotel-industry.co.uk she said:
“We want to consider what reputation housekeeping has within our own hotels. How much do other departments understand the role of the housekeeper or accommodation manager? How much profile is given to accommodation in the general running of the hotel; is housekeeping always represented at management meetings and in key-decision making?”
It is the little touches by housekeeping that is often remembered most by guests, especially when they have returned to their room after a long day of meetings or sightseeing.
Housekeeping: In-House or Outsourced?
One trend that is being seen more often is for hotels to outsource their laundry and cleaning to other companies. There is an argument for both in-house and outsourcing of housekeeping, with each exhibiting good and bad points. However, some cleaning contactors or companies can offer you unique, quality services or equipment that may just set your hotel apart from your competitors.
One such tool that is becoming desirable for many hotels, especially the city centre and airport hotels, who host international one-night guests that might bring more than their suitcases due to a succession of hotel stopovers, is a laundry system that does not require the need for hot water. We know that combining warm water and detergent kills bugs, but heating water also brings with it increasing energy costs. This is why ozone based washing systems are steadily building up a growing market share, especially when hoteliers exploring eco-friendly systems are being held in higher regard.
Cleaning agencies are now seeing a greater opportunity to tap into the hospitality market, providing fully outsourced operations to major hotel brands or staff to hotels operated by independent groups. The aim is to improve cleaning standards from fully trained staff, through intensive support for existing members of hotel staff and by placing a site manager into the hotel to ensure exceptional compliance with brand standards and the delivery of a consistently high-level of service.
New Housekeeping Systems
Smaller specialist companies are also seeing a gap in the market by offering their systems to help hoteliers reduce their costs and improve general efficiency. CDS HOVER has launched a new on-track curtain cleaning system throughout the UK after winning a contract to service the London Marriott West India and Executive Apartments. The German engineered design provides curtains with a deep clean to remove dirt, dust, stains and odours, whilst the curtain remains hanging.
When curtains were taken down and sent off for dry cleaning, rooms would have to be available to remain empty for up to three days, but this new system allows curtains to be cleaned in the morning and the room is ready for guests at night, reducing room downtime.
Outsourcing anything is done in the hope that it will reduce costs, save time and improve efficiency, however, the cost, quality and consistency of the service is a key consideration for any hotelier looking to take this route.