Kamal Kant’s housekeeping journey started in India, transited through Singapore and reached its pinnacle in the UAE. Having 13 years of experience in hospitality, Kamal is passionate about guest satisfaction, team building and diversity. Let’s take a look at his journey.
My name is Kamal Kant and I am from India.I started my career in hospitality back in 2008. I have almost 13 years of experience in hotel management, particularly in housekeeping. Previously, I worked for local and international chains in India. I started my journey with Jay Pee Hotels and Resorts in India. Then I joined the pre-opening of the Alila Hotels and Resorts in Bangalore. After this, I joined the pre-opening of the first Fairmont hotel in India. In July 2012, I moved to Fairmont Singapore for 3 months. In the same year, I moved to Fairmont Dubai and from there to Fairmont Ajman.In 2018, I took up another opportunity at Ramada Hotels and Suites as an Executive Housekeeper. In 2020, I was promoted to the position of a Cluster Executive Housekeeper for handling 3 properties and 700 rooms!
Your work and profile at your current establishment
Currently I am working as a Cluster Executive Housekeeper. I look after 3 hotels which include 700 rooms in Ajman.
How did you get into the hospitality industry and how have you grown since then?
After I completed my diploma in hospitality, I realized how passionate I was about this field. I can firmly say that hospitality is like a marathon. There is a lot of learning in this field. However, you need a lot of patience to grow in this field.
What drives you and your career?
I would say my biggest motivator lies at the intersection of many factors such as meeting deadlines, targets and goals. I am eager to learn new things. I love leading my team to success and finding new and to get things done and overcoming challenges. I am the person who’d like to explore creative ways and solutions to get things done. All of these together drive me to do better each day.
An accomplishment that shaped your career
I would say being a part of pre-opening of two hotels - Alila Hotels and Resorts in Bangalore and Fairmont Jaipur has certainly been an accomplishment that shaped my career and taught me a lot. These experiences boosted both my confidence and my learning process. In fact, pre-openings are the best learning experiences for any housekeeper.
The best part of your job
The best part of my job is to generate maximum guest satisfaction, leading and maximising talent. I ardently value diversity and that is something I treasure in my work.
The most challenging aspect of your job
The most challenging part for a housekeeper is to maintain relationships with suppliers and vendors. I am extremely particular about getting things done on time and when suppliers do not respect the time frames they have committed to us, it becomes a challenge for me.
Currently, we are facing the challenge of lack of skilled manpower due to travel restrictions from certain countries.
Why is sustainability so important to you?
Sustainability is the need of the hour. Sustainable decisions have a lot of implications in real life. When you make sustainable decisions, you contribute to reducing the carbon footprint and amount of toxins released in the environment. You contribute towards making the environment safe for everyone. When we focus on sustainability, the entire world benefits. It is like giving back to the planet what was exploited from it. Being a part of sustainable initiatives, we take a few steps at our hotel. For example, we have segregation of waste in the guest rooms and public areas of our hotel. We are properly monitoring the linen change in the guest rooms. We place cards through which guests are made aware about how they can save the environment.
Another thing worth mentioning here is our soaps. We donate our soaps from the guest rooms to Diversey for a program called “Soap for Hope.” In this program, all the used soaps from our guest check-out rooms are collected and given to Diversey, our chemical partner. They recycle these soaps and send them to poor countries.
Housekeeping practices you follow
In Wyndham Hotel Ajman, we believe that when you follow great housekeeping practices, it reflects in the guest satisfaction. As a direct consequence of this, guests are more likely to return to the hotel. The first housekeeping practice we follow is to make the staff feel valued. When they feel valued, they will make our customers feel valued. It is all about experience - whether on the employee side or guest side.
We make training a priority for our housekeeping staff, provide them proper checklists to adhere to and equip them with all the resources they need to provide a seamless experience to the guests. We also conduct quality inspections on a regular basis.
Cleaning practices at your hotel
During the COVID-19 time, we made it a point to do outline cleaning and disinfection of the hotel premises. What made us successful was that we ensured each area was thoroughly cleaned and disinfected and that we do not take any shortcuts when it comes to sanitization. We carried out our cleaning operations more frequently during the pandemic. We made it a point to schedule routine disinfections in all areas, especially high touched surfaces such as lifts, door handles, furniture, etc.
We chose the most professional cleaning products. These products not only guaranteed sanitization but also extended the lifespan of hotel furniture. Using the right product and right chemical goes a long way in achieving the right type of cleaning. We chose all chemicals from Diversey.
We created clear checklists for all our staff members so they knew exactly what areas to be cleaned, how to clean and how to inspect.
All our rooms are sanitized after each checkout. We place a sanitized label in each room so that the guests are assured that they are safe in our hotel.
The latest products (chemicals & equipment) that are in use
Currently, we use all Diversey products because in the current scenario we are very particular about the sanitization of all the areas.
The special chemical we used during COVID-19 was Oxyvir which eliminates the virus in 15 seconds.
We also installed wet wipes across all the public washrooms. Alongwith Oxyyvir chemicals, we also use fogging machines. After each checkout, we are steaming all curtains, sofas and carpets.
The latest technologies that ease cleaning
Recently, we have started using small compact scrubber dryers which help in scrubbing the floors in less time and with less manpower.
Training provided to the cleaning staff
We provide training to all the housekeeping staff. I believe in sharing knowledge with my team so they can be confident . The communication usually happens during our daily briefing and our online training programmes. We are also open to suggestions from team members and ensure that there is two way communication. Our aim is to educate our housekeeping staff with new hygiene practices that have emerged during the pandemic. We have a daily, monthly and weekly training plan which includes theoretical and practical training.
Additionally, we have been trained by the Ministry of Health in Ajman regarding all COVID-19 procedures.
What kind of innovations do you think will help in your cleaning processes (both in terms of equipment, chemicals, and/or practices)?
Currently, most of the hotels are using task sheets for the room attendants but in the future, if we can use IoT based apps for them, it will be easy to keep track of the room status, expedite communication between guest and housekeeping staff.
The future of the cleaning industry
I think the cleaning industry has a very promising future. I am really proud to be part of this industry. There is no doubt that the importance of professional cleaning has been highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic. People are now very particular about cleanliness and sanitation. Therefore the training process and professionalism is another trend in the cleaning industry.
How do you think the COVID-19 pandemic should be dealt with (in terms of housekeeping)?
Sanitisation has taken a massive spotlight in the hospitality industry this year due to COVID-19. We have been meticulous in terms of housekeeping practices. One lesson that the pandemic has taught us is that each of us are responsible for the safety and wellness for ourselves and that of others.We have placed reminders about hygiene protocols around the hotel. These include guidelines on social distancing, hand washing and disinfection.