Pamini Hemaprabha, International Housekeeping Specialist
The housekeeping department in any hotel takes great pride in keeping the hotel clean and comfortable, so as to create a ‘home away from home’ for its guests. The aim of all accommodation establishment is to provide customers with clean, attractive, comfortable and welcoming surroundings that offer value for money. Nothing sends a stronger message than cleanliness in a hospitality operation. The housekeeping department not only prepares clean rooms on a timely basis for arriving guests but also cleans and maintains everything within the hotel so that the property is as fresh and attractive as the day it opened for business.
Housekeeping, thus, is an ancillary department that contributes in a big way towards the overall reputation of a property. It is rightly said that housekeeping is a 24 x 7 x 365 operation. It is the department responsible for the guest’s first impression. Moreover, if housekeeping efforts are exemplary, it is a great testimonial for guests to know that their experience will be as exemplary.
Housekeeping has been making headlines in the region especially in the current scenario. But even before that, we have been front runners in adopting various technologies and concepts that serve a greater purpose.
• Going green is the latest trend ,and housekeepers are using eco-friendly amenities, commodities to conserve water and energy. The focus is progressively on responsible tourism and green practices.
• Deploying mobile, intelligent housekeeping technology to the entire housekeeping staff optimizes communication with the front desk, creating faster room-readiness, ensuring guest preferences are implemented and cleaning tasks are completed to the highest standard in every room, all of which lead to a better guest experience.
• Several technologies have helped to enhance and make the housekeeping department more efficient. This speaks to the many different types of equipment/infrastructure that can be found embedded within the hotel industry to make work in the housekeeping department/area more effective and efficient.
Post my hotel management graduation I started my career in housekeeping. Soon, my day-to-day job took a steep turn and became my passion, something I had never visualized in the beginning. I loved every bit of the job, mostly people management, outlining their development, being creative at finding the best solution to optimize day-to-day work, networking, guest satisfaction, sourcing the right equipment with the best chemicals options available, raising the emotional intelligence bar, creating people’s success stories, sustainable practices, etc. With the long-term advantages outlined above, there are three key steps to accomplishing the goal of making housekeeping appear as more than just a job, including:
• Establishing programs to show that the organization cares for all room attendants as more than just laborers.
• Ensuring ongoing training as a means towards not only compliance with SOPs but also as a motivation and mentorship tool.
• In-person discussions to demonstrate a tangible upward trajectory for room attendants to earn a higher rank.
In any case, a career in hospitality can proffer a myriad of formal yet enriching expertise to any individual who has the passion for this industry. It is now a matter of illustrating just how captivating our line of work is so that we can inspire the next generation of hoteliers, and for this pursuit there is no better place to start than the housekeeping department.
How can we make it a purpose?
• Manning a housekeeping staff takes more than just hiring people who can clean bathrooms and dust furniture; it requires instilling a customerservice culture. Housekeepers become brand ambassadors for hospitality-oriented facilities such as hotels and resorts.
• Managing a staff of diverse cultures, ages and economic backgrounds challenges executives in charge of housekeeping. By instilling in the staff a culture of pride in their job and empowering them to handle guest concerns or requests, management can engage workers and motivate them to improve. Just as customer service lies in the details, good employee relations ensure that the housekeeping staff have every tool and supply they need to perform their jobs, and that their accomplishments get noticed.
• Poor housekeeping can be a cause of a variety of incidents. To avoid these hazards, a workplace must maintain order throughout a workday. Housekeeping is not the responsibility of a single person, but of every member of the team. This effort requires a great deal of management and planning that shouldn't be the responsibility of a single person. Workplace housekeeping is an ongoing activity in which every member of the job force does their part to ensure a clean, clutter-free work environment.
For me, housekeeping is all of the above - a career, purpose and passion! I enjoy every bit of my role as not only do I get to execute my work to the best of my ability but I also develop future talents. This adds a sense of purpose that I thrive on. This purpose is what drove me to pen down my book dedicating it to people’s empowerment.
My passion for housekeeping has certainly brought the best leader in me and has made me a true hospitality leader… Its important for every executive housekeeper to include the purpose to their journey which is not limited to their professional achievements but also to shape the fraternity for a better tomorrow.
Pamini Hemaprabha is an International Housekeeping Specialist with a 16-year long journey (and counting) in the international hospitality world. She has won more than 7 international awards, is a published author, a passionate speaker with an unconditional desire to leave a legacy behind in shaping a better housekeeping fraternity for future generations….