Hotel Housekeeping Optimization: 10 Ways to Optimize the Housekeeping Department

What do room attendants want more than anything? To keep the guests satisfied. And what satisfies the guests? Clean rooms. More than 86% of all hotel guests worldwide cite room cleanliness as their top benchmark when leaving and reading reviews.

You already know just how reviews can make or break your business. Many hotels spend tens or even hundreds of thousands on improving the guest experience. But what if we told you that you could improve it with just a few changes?

Today, we’re going to talk about the function and importance of housekeeping management, plus give you a few tips on how to optimize housekeeping functions.

What Are Hotel Housekeeping Operations?

Before moving on to various maintenance issues and their solutions, let’s establish what hotel housekeeping operations are.

Housekeeping operations refer to a set of tasks and responsibilities of the maintenance department. These include cleaning and preparing guest rooms, managing laundry services, replenishing room supplies, and of course, reporting to management.

As some of you might’ve noticed, these days, hotel guests are needier than ever. Research shows that nearly 50% of consumers cite “enhanced cleaning regimens” as the most important step hotels can take to make their stay more comfortable.

What Hotel Jobs are in the Housekeeping Department?

There are nearly 365,000 hotel housekeeping jobs in the United States. The number of jobs fell by 22% during the pandemic. However, in the next two years, it’s expected to bounce back.

So what does the average housekeeping department look like? In most hotels, the housekeeping team consists of a number of roles, each contributing to the smooth functioning of operations.

The most important roles in the hotel housekeeping department include:

Executive Housekeeper:/Housekeeping Manager: The executive housekeeper or the manager oversees the entire department. They’re there to set standards, manage the housekeeping staff, and ensure operations are running smoothly. Moreover, the housekeeping manager is responsible for maintaining cleanliness, coordinating with other departments, and implementing effective strategies.

Floor Supervisor: The floor supervisor usually works closely with room attendants to make sure the cleaning equipment is stocked and that the quality standards are met. In most hotels, floor supervisors assign tasks to housekeeping team members, conduct inspections, and provide training to maintain high-quality service.

Room Attendants: Hotel room attendants are probably the most important members of housekeeping teams because they’re responsible for the actual cleaning and preparing of guest rooms. They make sure the hotel rooms are sanitized properly, well-maintained, and equipped with all of the necessary amenities.

Laundry Attendants: A laundry attendant does what their job title suggests – handles the laundering of hotel linens, towels, guest clothes, and even staff uniforms. They’re there to make sure that clean and fresh linens are available for hotel guests and maintain the highest standards of cleanliness.

What are the Main Functions of the Housekeeping Staff?

Cleanliness is the most important factor impacting guest satisfaction. In turn, guest satisfaction is the biggest contributor to repeated visits.

That’s why we often say that the housekeeping department is the backbone of any hotel business. Not only does it look after the cleanliness of the entire hotel, but it also contributes to many other hotel departments.

Housekeeping staff members perform several critical functions to maintain cleanliness, organization, and guest comfort. These include:

  • Getting the Check-In Room Ready

Room attendants play a vital role in preparing guest rooms before check-in. They ensure that the room is clean, properly sanitized, and stocked with amenities, making a positive first impression on guests.

  • Handling Cleaning Procedures

Housekeeping staff performs regular cleaning tasks, including dusting, vacuuming, mopping, and disinfecting surfaces, to maintain cleanliness throughout the hotel. Room attendants focus not only on guest rooms but also on common areas, such as lobbies, hallways, and public restrooms.

  • Maintaining Guest Supplies

It is the responsibility of the hotel housekeeping staff to ensure an adequate supply of guest amenities, such as toiletries, towels, and linens. Monitoring inventory levels, restocking supplies, and ensuring the comfort of the guests go a long way in guest satisfaction.

  • Managing Laundry Services

The staff members also handle the collection, sorting, washing, drying, folding, and delivery of hotel laundry. The attendants ensure all occupied rooms have fresh linens and their laundry delivered each morning.

  • Reporting to Hotel Management

The efficiency of the housekeeping department depends on communication. That’s housekeeping departments often provide regular reports to the front desk and management. Things like room status, inventory levels, and maintenance issues are just some of the things talked about. Daily communication with management facilitates efficient decision-making and problem-solving.

What are the 7S of Good Hotel Housekeeping?

The most basic and fundamental approach for productivity in the hospitality industry is the 7S of housekeeping: Sort, Systematize, Sweeping, Standardize, Self-discipline, Sustain, and Safety.

The general concept of the 7S is to optimize the physical workforce for efficiency and effectiveness. You can accomplish this by identifying and storing the cleaning equipment, maintaining orderliness in the storage rooms, and sustaining the new order.

The 7S of good hotel housekeeping is actually the expanded version of the 5S principle. By following the 7S of good housekeeping, hotel housekeeping managers can ensure the safety of workers in the most efficient manner.

The framework outlines the most important elements of good hotel housekeeping:

1. Sort

The principle of “Sort” emphasizes the importance of organization and decluttering. In hotel housekeeping, sorting involves systematically assessing and categorizing items to determine their necessity and relevance. By eliminating unnecessary items and clutter, housekeeping staff can optimize space utilization and create a more efficient and visually appealing environment.

Example: Implement a regular inventory review process to identify and remove outdated or unused cleaning supplies, linens, and guest amenities. This helps reduce clutter and streamline operations.

2. Systematize

Systematization refers to the development and implementation of standardized processes and procedures in housekeeping operations. By establishing clear guidelines, protocols, and checklists, hotels can ensure consistency, efficiency, and high-quality service delivery.

Example: Develop standardized cleaning checklists and room inspection protocols that outline specific tasks, quality standards, and frequencies. This enables housekeeping staff to follow a systematic approach, resulting in thorough and consistent cleaning.

3. Sweeping

“Sweeping” represents the regular cleaning and maintenance of floors, carpets, and surfaces throughout the hotel. It involves the removal of dust, dirt, and debris to create a clean and welcoming environment for guests.

Example: Implement a daily cleaning schedule that includes sweeping and mopping all common areas, including lobbies, corridors, and public spaces. Regular sweeping ensures a tidy appearance and promotes guest satisfaction.

4. Standardize

Standardization is a vital principle in hotel housekeeping, focusing on establishing and maintaining high standards of cleanliness and service. Standardization ensures that all areas of the hotel consistently meet predefined quality criteria, creating a positive and memorable experience for every visitor.

Example: Create and communicate clear cleanliness standards to the hotel housekeeping staff, including specific guidelines for room cleanliness, public areas, and amenities. Regular training and performance evaluations can help maintain and reinforce these standards.

5. Self-discipline

Self-discipline emphasizes the importance of personal responsibility and commitment to maintaining cleanliness and professionalism. It involves fostering a culture of accountability, attention to detail, and pride in one’s work among hotel housekeeping staff.

Example: Encourage housekeeping staff to take ownership of their assigned tasks and maintain a high level of self-discipline in adhering to cleanliness standards. Provide recognition and rewards for exceptional performance to motivate and reinforce self-discipline.

6. Sustain

The principle of “Sustain” focuses on the long-term maintenance of cleanliness and organization in hotel housekeeping. It involves creating processes and systems to ensure that high standards are consistently upheld over time.

Example: Implement regular room inspections, audits, and performance evaluations to monitor and sustain cleanliness standards. Conduct refresher training sessions and encourage open communication to address challenges and identify areas where you have room for improvement.

7. Safety

Safety is a crucial aspect of hotel housekeeping operations. It involves identifying and mitigating potential hazards to create a safe environment for guests and staff. Ensuring compliance with safety regulations and promoting a culture of safety is paramount.

Example: Provide appropriate safety equipment, such as gloves and non-slip footwear, to the housekeeping staff. Conduct regular safety training sessions to educate staff on proper handling of chemicals, safe lifting techniques, and other relevant safety practices.

What are the Hotel Housekeeping Manager’s Duties?

The role of a hotel housekeeping manager is multifaceted, encompassing various responsibilities to oversee and optimize housekeeping operations. Some of the key duties of a housekeeping manager include:

  • Staff Management: The housekeeping manager is responsible for recruiting, training, and supervising the housekeeping team. They ensure that staff members are adequately trained, motivated, and equipped with the necessary skills to perform their duties effectively.
  • Inventory Control: The housekeeping manager manages hotel inventory levels for cleaning supplies, linens, and guest amenities. They establish protocols for stock monitoring, ordering, and storage to ensure a sufficient supply of essentials without excess waste or cost.
  • Budgeting and Cost Control: Housekeeping managers develop and manage the department’s budget, keeping in mind the need for quality cleaning products, staff wages, and equipment maintenance. They seek cost-saving opportunities, identify areas of potential waste, and make informed decisions to optimize resources and minimize expenses.
  • Quality Control: The housekeeping manager establishes and maintains quality control standards to ensure that cleaning tasks are performed to the highest level of satisfaction. They conduct regular inspections, implement feedback mechanisms, and provide ongoing training to maintain consistency and excellence in service delivery.
  • Scheduling and Resource Allocation: Effective scheduling is crucial for managing housekeeping operations. The manager creates work schedules, assigns tasks, and optimizes staffing levels based on hotel occupancy and guest requirements. They ensure that staffing allocations are efficient, providing adequate support during peak periods and adjusting staffing levels during slower times.
  • Coordination with Other Departments: Housekeeping is an integral part of overall hotel operations, requiring close coordination with other departments. The manager collaborates with front desk staff, maintenance personnel, and other relevant departments to ensure seamless communication, resolve guest issues, and maintain a cohesive guest experience.
  • Continuous Improvement: The housekeeping manager strives for continuous improvement in housekeeping operations. They stay updated on industry best practices, new technologies, and emerging trends, identifying opportunities for innovation and efficiency enhancement. They actively seek feedback from guests and staff to implement improvements and ensure that every guest’s experience is at a high level.

The role of a housekeeping general manager is pivotal in creating a well-organized, efficient, and customer-centric housekeeping department. Their duties encompass a broad spectrum of responsibilities that directly contribute to customer satisfaction, operational efficiency, and overall success.

What Are the Biggest Challenges for Your Housekeeping Team?

Housekeeping teams face several challenges that can impact their efficiency and performance. It is important to understand and address these challenges to optimize the housekeeping department. Some common challenges include:

  1. Time Constraints: Cleaning agents often face tight time constraints, particularly during high occupancy periods when there is a quick turnaround between guest check-out and check-in. Limited time may lead to rushed cleaning tasks, compromising thoroughness and attention to detail.
  2. Staffing and Workload Management: Proper staffing and workload allocation are crucial for maintaining efficiency and quality. Insufficient staffing levels or uneven workload distribution can lead to burnout, reduced productivity, and compromised satisfaction.
  3. Language and Communication Barriers: In many hotels with a diverse workforce, language barriers may arise, affecting effective communication among housekeeping staff members. That can easily lead to misunderstandings, errors, and challenges in delivering consistent service.
  4. Maintaining Quality Standards: Consistently maintaining high-quality standards throughout the hotel can be challenging, particularly when dealing with a large number of guest rooms and common areas. Ensuring attention to detail, adherence to cleanliness protocols, and consistent service delivery requires ongoing training, supervision, and quality control measures.
  5. Guest Requests and Complaints: Housekeeping staff must respond to guest requests promptly and address any complaints or issues that arise. Managing guest expectations, coordinating with other departments, and resolving conflicts require effective communication and problem-solving skills.
  6. Multitasking and Time Management: Housekeeping departments often need to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously. Cleaning multiple rooms, responding to guest requests, and handling manual equipment are just some of them. Effective time management, prioritization, and multitasking skills are essential to ensure efficient operations and meet guest expectations.

By recognizing these challenges and implementing strategies to address them, the housekeeping department can improve the efficiency, productivity, and overall performance of their room attendant teams.

What is Hotel Housekeeping Software?

Hotel software is a technological solution designed to streamline and optimize housekeeping department operations. It digitizes and automates various aspects of housekeeping management, including task assignment, inventory control, communication, and performance tracking.

The software offers features such as:

Task Management

The software enables efficient task assignment, tracking, and completion. It enables the executive housekeeper to assign specific cleaning tasks to room attendants, monitor progress in real-time, and ensure the timely completion of tasks.

Inventory Control

Housekeeping solutions help manage hotel inventory levels by providing real-time tracking of cleaning supplies, electrical equipment, linens, and guest amenities. It facilitates automated reordering, ensures stock availability, and minimizes the risk of shortages or excesses.

Communication and Collaboration

The software provides a centralized platform for communication among housekeeping staff, allowing them to exchange messages, request assistance, and report issues. It promotes effective collaboration and allows both large and small hotels to streamline communication.

Performance Tracking and Analytics

Hotel software offers performance-tracking features that allow the executive housekeeper to monitor individual and team performance. It provides insights into key performance indicators, such as task completion rates, response times, and guest experience scores. These analytics help identify areas for improvement, track progress, and make data-driven decisions to optimize housekeeping operations.

Mobile Accessibility

Many housekeeping solutions offer mobile accessibility, allowing staff members to access the software on their smartphones or tablets. This enables them to view task assignments, update statuses, and talk to their colleagues in other departments while on the go, improving efficiency and responsiveness.

Integration with Other Systems

Housekeeping software can integrate with other management systems, such as property management systems (PMS) and guest messaging platforms. This integration facilitates seamless data flow and communication between departments, enhancing overall operational efficiency and guest experience.

Implementing hotel software brings numerous benefits, including:

  • Streamlined Operations: The software automates manual processes, reducing administrative tasks and freeing up time for housekeeping staff to focus on delivering exceptional service.
  • Improved Efficiency: Task assignment and tracking features help optimize workflow and ensure timely completion of tasks, minimizing room turnaround time and enhancing operational efficiency.
  • Enhanced Communication: Centralized communication channels enable effective collaboration, enabling every housekeeping attendant to communicate and address issues promptly, resulting in improved responsiveness and client satisfaction.
  • Inventory Management: Real-time inventory tracking prevents stockouts and overstocking, ensuring a sufficient supply of cleaning materials, linens, and guest amenities. This reduces costs and eliminates unnecessary waste.
  • Performance Monitoring: The software’s performance tracking and analytics provide valuable insights into room attendant and team performance, enabling the general manager to identify strengths, weaknesses, and training needs. In turn, this fosters a culture of continuous improvement and empowers staff to deliver their best.

By adopting the right software solution, a hotel can transform its housekeeping department into efficient, well-organized teams that consistently deliver outstanding service.

10 Tips for Optimizing Your Housekeeping Department

We’ve explored the challenges of the housekeeping department. We’ve discussed the benefits of properly organizing room attendants and other department members. And we’ve even explained the role of technology in the housekeeping department.

Now, it’s time to help you optimize your housekeeping department and enhance your hotel business in the process.

1. Set and Optimize SOPs

Standard Operating Procedures – or SOPs for short – have been around since the mid-20th century. They represent a specific set of practices that should be initiated and followed when specific circumstances arise.

Develop comprehensive hotel SOPs covering room cleaning protocols, inspection processes, and quality control measures. Regularly review and refine these procedures to ensure they align with evolving hotel industry best practices and guest expectations.

How Can the Housekeeping Department Do It?

Your hotel staff can handle this task with relative ease. Simply Implement a room cleaning checklist that includes specific tasks, required supplies, and quality standards to ensure consistency and thoroughness.

2. Standardize the Quality of Cleanliness

According to research from the University of Singidunum, 85% of hotel guests believe that a vast majority of hospitality industry establishments offer “average quality services.” That includes cleaning rooms, house areas, conference halls, ground floor, and common areas.

Establish and communicate cleanliness standards throughout the hotel, including guest rooms, public areas, and amenities. Train housekeeping staff to adhere to these standards and conduct regular inspections to maintain consistent quality.

How Can the Housekeeping Department Do It?

Implement a room inspection program where supervisors assess cleanliness based on predetermined standards, providing feedback and coaching to ensure continuous improvement.

3. Invest Time in Inventory Management

Hotel inventory management refers to the process of ordering, storing, and distributing a hotel’s assets.

Efficient hotel inventory management ensures that cleaning equipment, linens, and guest amenities are readily available when needed. Regularly track room inventory levels, implement automated reordering systems and establish proper storage protocols to prevent shortages or excesses.

How Can the Housekeeping Department Do It?

One of the newest ways of measuring hotel performance in terms of inventory is TRI or the Total Room Inventory method. It allows hotels to measure their property’s performance and optimize sales strategies.

Moreover, utilize barcode or RFID technology to track inventory in real-time, check room status, and receive automatic notifications when guest supplies need to be replenished.

4. Coordinate With Other Departments

Cross-departmental cooperation is one of the hardest aspects of business collaboration in general. High levels of cross-departmental collaboration are present in over 98% of high-performing organizations. Hotel departments are no different.

Effective communication and collaboration with other hotel departments are crucial for seamless operations. Foster strong relationships and establish regular communication channels with the front desk, maintenance, and guest services to address guest requests, coordinate room availability, and resolve any issues that may arise.

How Can the Housekeeping Department Do It?

Hold regular cross-departmental meetings to discuss upcoming events, room availability, and guest-specific requirements to ensure all departments are aligned and prepared

5. Invest in Hotel Management Software

In recent years, the need for management software has increased significantly. So much so that in the next five years, the market size is expected to grow at a CAGR of nearly 6.6% and reach nearly $1.2 billion in value. For a good reason.

Investing in a comprehensive software solution, such as HelloShift, can greatly optimize housekeeping operations. HelloShift offers features like guest messaging, contactless check-in, staff collaboration, and housekeeping management in one user-friendly platform.

The software streamlines communication, automates task assignments, and provides real-time updates for efficient and effective housekeeping operations.

How Can the Housekeeping Department Do It?

HelloShift’s housekeeping management module allows supervisors to assign tasks, track progress, and communicate with the team in real time. It also integrates with other hotel management systems, ensuring seamless data flow and collaboration.

6. Train and Reward Housekeeping Staff

Did you know that 6 out of 10 employers don’t train employees? Even if you’re running a small hotel, you simply can’t afford to have a single housekeeping attendant who is untrained and unmotivated.

Invest in ongoing training programs to enhance the skills and knowledge of your housekeeping staff. Provide them with the necessary tools and resources to excel in their roles. Recognize and reward exceptional performance to motivate and encourage a culture of excellence.

How Can the Housekeeping Department Do It?

Conduct regular training sessions on cleaning techniques, time management, and customer service to enhance the skills of the housekeeping team. Implement an employee recognition program to acknowledge and reward outstanding performance.

7. Plan and Schedule Regular Deep Cleaning

We keep talking about uncleaned rooms and their impact on the guest’s experience. Every staff member on your team needs to know about it too.

First, you need to realize that a vast majority of cleaning time is spent on just a couple of tasks.

In fact, studies have discovered that housekeeping teams spend 66% of their time on just 5 tasks. If you don’t want to waste time, you need to figure out how much of it each cleaning task takes.

Only then you’ll be able to single out the most demanding tasks and handle each during a deep cleaning day.

How Can the Housekeeping Department Do It?

Set a quarterly deep cleaning schedule, targeting specific areas each time. Communicate the schedule to the housekeeping team and ensure sufficient resources and time are allocated for these thorough cleaning sessions.

8. Create a Checklist for the Maintenance Department

Collaborate closely with the maintenance department to address any repair or maintenance issues promptly. Create a maintenance checklist that outlines common areas of concern, such as faulty plumbing, lighting, or room amenities.

Regularly review the checklist and communicate with the maintenance team to ensure timely resolution of issues.

How Can the Housekeeping Department Do It?

You need to establish a system where housekeeping staff can easily report maintenance issues through a digital platform or communication tool. Maintain a log to track reported issues and their resolutions.

9. Handle the Documentation Requirments

After the pandemic, the American Hotel & Lodging Association came up with the Enhanced Industry-Wide Hotel Cleaning Guidelines, to keep the rooms clean and guests care-free.

Read the guidelines carefully, and make sure that every hotel worker – from the front desk worker to the deputy housekeeper – knows why they are important. That way, there’s a better chance they’ll abide by the see guidelines.

But that’s just a part of the job. Maintaining documentation will also ensure accountability, help identify trends, and provide data for continuous improvement.

How Can the Housekeeping Department Do It?

Maintain accurate and up-to-date documentation related to housekeeping operations. That includes incident reports, inventory records, and even cleaning logs.

Implement digital documentation tools or software that allows easy and centralized record-keeping, simplifying data entry, retrieval, and analysis.

10. Consider Opt-Out or Opt-In Cleaning

Your guests have certain preferences when it comes to their hotel rooms. Some want their room cleaned on a daily basis, while others prefer to do it on their own.

In response to changing guest preferences and environmental considerations, consider implementing opt-out or opt-in cleaning programs. Opt-out cleaning allows guests to indicate if they prefer not to have daily housekeeping services, conserving resources and minimizing unnecessary disruptions.

How Can the Housekeeping Department Do It?

You can offer your guests the option to select their housekeeping preferences during check-in. That’s where HelloShift can help. Our platform allows you to communicate with guests before, during, and after their stay from a single dashboard.

How HelloShift Can Help Your Hotel’s Housekeeping Department

Optimizing your hotel’s housekeeping department is essential for delivering outstanding guest experiences and maintaining operational excellence. By implementing the strategies discussed in this article, you can elevate the efficiency, profitability, and client satisfaction of your housekeeping operations.

HelloShift offers a comprehensive solution that combines guest messaging, contactless check-in, staff collaboration, and housekeeping management in one platform.

Unlock the potential of your housekeeping operations and elevate your hotel’s success with HelloShift. 

Hotel guests receive automated, routine messages, consult hotel digital guidebook, and pre-checkin via their mobile device. Hotel teams use HelloShift to work together across buildings, floors, shifts, and departments with up-to-date visibility into room status via the Housekeeping app.

Go digital with Guest Messaging, Contactless Checkin, Website Chat, Staff Collaboration, Housekeeping Management and more.

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