How hotels can refocus on maintaining a clean and hygienic premises

The novel coronavirus outbreak has placed all hotel businesses in a very critical stage. While many hotels are temporarily closed, many are still operating and are struggling to drive business. The new reality for hoteliers has reminded us of something that we all have been either ignoring or taking for granted for a long time now — basic hygiene. 

There are many hotels around the world that don’t have an effective housekeeping department.  According to a report, a housekeeper from one of Britain’s biggest hotel chains used the same guest towel to clean entire bathrooms — including the toilet. Isn’t that awful?

So, while people are spending quarantine times at their homes, and your hotel operations are on halt, let’s take a look at the things that you use this time to better. Housekeeping should be at the top of your list to improve in these critical survival times.

Here are some top tips to maintain proper hygiene at your hotel:

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1. Well trained and motivated staff

This is the first and foremost thing to focus on. The property won’t clean itself — you need to have a staff that is not just well trained, but also motivated towards their work to ensure the hotel looks tidy and delights guests.

The staff should know how to go about cleaning the hotel. And one of the best ways to do it is by dividing the housekeeping staff into groups that will each take care of different aspects.

For example, one staff would take care of the survey part, another would go for the service, the third group for disinfecting and the last would go for inspection.

Dividing the tasks among the teams results in enhanced productivity.

Another thing to focus on staff is their training. Staff training is crucial to improving housekeeping job performance. Hotels must instruct housekeeping staff on how to implement safe and hygienic sanitization practices as well as provide personalized service to guests.

2. Taking creative steps to simplify housekeeping tasks

While many hotels have generic housekeeping procedures in place, there’s an important need for hotels to be open to improving operations. One of the ways to go about it is by having something creative and effective at the same time.

‘Cleaning with Colours’ has proved to be one of the effective ways for housekeeping departments to achieve good hygiene — not just for hotels but also for medical centres, schools, daycares, nursing homes etc.

But what exactly is ‘Cleaning with Colours’?

It is basically a colour-coded cleaning program where cleaning products such as rags, towels and cloths with different colours are used to clean different items.

For example, you can use:

  • Red-coloured cleaning equipment should be used for areas with a higher risk of cross-contamination such as toilets and urinals
  • Blue for lower-risk areas such as common areas
  • Green for areas where food is handled and prepared. Or, it can even be used to cleas glass, mirrors etc.
  • Yellow for objects and surfaces in rooms furniture

Having such a program in place for housekeeping would help prevent the risk of spreading germs and help you achieve a much needed and expected hygienic hotel.

3. Making the best use of technology

While everything mentioned above is necessary, without a doubt, it is also important for hotels to use sought after technology that helps you automate certain tasks at your hotel and also increase coordination among departments.

Housekeeping software works in complete sync with your hotel’s front desk and effectively improves service efficiency and reduces paperwork. Having robust housekeeping software would help you stay informed about every room’s status — whether it’s cleaned or yet to be cleaned.

Furthermore, this software/system also helps housekeeping managers assign tasks to staff effortlessly, track tasks for timely completion and also helps in avoiding work duplication.

4. A thorough going-over

Mistakes do happen. Sometimes staff might overlook a thing or two to clean so that’s why many hotels have a separate team for inspection of rooms.

Many might argue that if you have a very well-trained staff, why do you need to invest time inspecting every room? Well, even though that makes sense, it is imperative to go through every room. Do not take it as an opportunity to find fault, rather use these quality control checks as a session to train your new staff or trainees.

Having such a team is a win-win — rooms will always be clean and tidy and your staff will always be trained!

5. Do not get offended by harsh reviews. Rather, take it as feedback

There are times when guests are not happy with the hotel’s cleanliness, despite all the efforts by the housekeeping. Guests check out and leave reviews that are not laways very pleasant.

But instead of getting offended, why not take a look at what the guest has complained about? Listening to feedback and harsh complaints is an underrated tip, but it makes a really significant difference.

Don’t just listen to guests, always seek feedback from your staff as well. Listen, act, and improve!

Outlook

The hospitality industry is resilient and will definitely bounce back after the COVID-19 pandemic is over. But at this point in time when business is down, it’s more important than ever for hotels to focus on things that will make a difference and better their services.

The end of this chaos is inevitable. As soon as this virus is contained and lockdowns are no longer in place, travellers will have itchy feet. People will want to leave home and take a break, and this is when you have to be ready and act the best way possible.

Therefore, do not panic! Make the most out of these times and focus on strategies to take your hotel business to the next level.

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