Cucu Setiawan, Executive Housekeeper, Shaza Riyadh Hotel
Eleven years ago, Cucu Setiawan joined the hospitality industry because of its challenging nature. With meticulous learning and development, he has worked through the ranks to reach the Executive Housekeeper position. In this issue, we speak to Cucu Setiawan to learn more about his experiences and journey of 11 long years.
My name is Cucu Setiawan. I work as the executive housekeeper for Shaza Riyadh Hotel. I am in charge of the housekeeping and laundry departments, ensuring that the rooms and suites are prepared to elevate the journey of the rest of our guests, additionally ensuring that public areas and laundry operations are conducted smoothly.
I joined the hospitality industry in Makkah, KSA back in 2010. Since then I have, with meticulous learning and development, managed to work through the ranks to reach the Executive Housekeeper position. I chose hospitality as it involves many different tasks and responsibilities which enabled me to challenge myself resulting in my growth and development. My years of industry experience in multiple local and international chains have helped me grow.
Personally and professionally, I am a hard worker, who always believes in teamwork.
I believe in being an agent of positivity and I am enthusiastic about interacting with new people. Working under pressure has always been my strength, and I consistently deliver desired results.
What drives you and your career?
I love to work with a collaborative and diverse team. I am open to any challenge a new day can bring in and my strongest virtue is to lead by example. Daily interaction with my colleagues and guests, a positive and supportive team, and their motivation to become successful and stronger in their accomplishments is what drives me.
An accomplishment that shaped your career
The pre-opening phase of my previous employer, King Abdullah Economic City in 2013 in conjunction with the conduction of an extensive royal function was a great challenge. Despite numerous challenges posed upon us, we managed to conduct the event successfully, which I believe injected the motivation and enhanced my aptitude to achieve greater heights in my career.
The best part of your job and the most challenging aspect of your job
Communication with the guests and exceeding their expectations is the part I enjoy the most in my job as it gives me a great sense of achievement. Sometimes the expectation from different stakeholders, i.e. management, owners has different requirements. In such a scenario, it is important that effective communication is in place.
Why sustainability is so important to you
Sustainability is not a choice, but a personal responsibility we hold for our future generations.
Housekeeping practices you follow
Guest satisfaction holds prominence when it comes to Housekeeping. There could always be hotels without restaurants, but never a hotel without rooms; hence, it is of utmost importance that we, as hoteliers extend our best hospitable services while ensuring that the rooms and suites are well prepared before guest arrival. Safety is of paramount importance in our industry. With the introduction of Shaza ASSURES protocols for intensive attention to maintaining a well-sanitized environment, both in the guest areas, and in the heart of the hotel, and swift communication of the same, we managed to build unwavering confidence in our guests.
Cleaning practices at your hotel
- Fresh airflow to the guest rooms is a must. This can take a few extra seconds in each room, but the difference it makes can be huge. Upon entering a room, before starting with cleaning, open up the windows and shades.
- Clean bedroom areas first. For minimal bacterial transfer, start cleaning the bedroom and then clean the bathroom area. This helps improve sanitation and overall cleanliness and is emphasized in our Shaza ASSURES protocols.
- Give cleaning products time to work. Save time scrubbing and let the products you use do the work for you. You’ll find that when you go back and clean everything else, you’ll need to use less elbow grease.
- Safety gear demands more attention than ever before. Equip your housekeeping colleagues with proper personal protective gear for them to carry out their meticulousness.
- Training the team both on and off the job is pivotal to the success of the cleaning operation. It requires an eye for detail and vigorous attention when accomplishing the tasks, it is one of the jobs in the hotel industry that are prone to occupational illnesses, hence proper training could model their posture and practices for prolonging their health and career.
The latest products and technologies that are in use
Peroxide disinfectants and fogging machines are in high demand in present times. Speaking of technology, we use steam machines. They make cleaning an easier task.
Training provided to the cleaning staff
Every week we conduct the training based on the SOPs in accordance with our monthly calendar where we focus on guestroom set up, personalized setup, health, and safety. We train the staff through practical demonstrations and role-play simulations. Also, it is quintessential in today’s context that we provide our staff training related to guest interaction based upon emotional intelligence.
Challenges you have faced
I always believe in looking at the brighter side of things and put in all the efforts to serve better. Guests and owner expectations keep on increasing, and resources being limited can be challenging at times. Today’s generation needs to be passionate about joining the housekeeping department, and it should be considered as their first choice of career, not second. As managers, we have to ensure that the team is motivated to see their future in housekeeping.
The innovations you think will help in your cleaning processes
Master cleaning programs between guest rooms and public areas are divided on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis to make sure all areas are covered. Shaza Hotels have put together an innovative preventive maintenance plan concept whereby both maintenance and housekeeping departments ensure that two cycles of Preventive Maintenance Plan are conducted during a year for a given room and are closed for 7 days to be attended to to reduce maintenance requests within the next calendar year.
The floor inspection program is a novel feature introduced by the Shaza Hotels whereby the General Manager of the hotel accompanied by the Rooms Division Manager visit randomly chosen guest floors and public areas weekly in ascertaining the best room in terms of upkeep and maintenance, thus rewarding the colleagues who are involved in the operation.
With the rapid advancement in technology coupled with artificial intelligence, augmented reality, etc., one might think that the housekeepers may be phased out of a hotel operation. However, I’m of the view that the human element cannot be discounted nor replaced from the housekeeping function as it is an art only a few can master and adds a humanistic and special touch to the entire guest experience. This means paying attention to the guest’s needs and opening up to understanding the sentiments on their comfort, satisfaction is of paramount importance.
How do you think the COVID-19 pandemic should be dealt with?
Safety is of paramount importance in our industry. With the introduction of Shaza ASSURES protocols for intensive attention to maintaining a well-sanitized environment, both in the guest areas, as well as in the heart of the hotel, and swift communication of the same, we managed to build unwavering confidence in our guests.
Being the pioneering hotel to have introduced the Shaza ASSURES protocols, our team went through vigorous training. With unprecedented circumstances imposed upon us, we ensured transparency and open communication with our colleagues in our approach to battle the pandemic head-on in the front lines. Unprecedented circumstances also brought in uncertainty. It is the perseverance and our team mindset that allowed us to become dynamic in handling the crisis at hand. Teamwork and communication have become more important than ever and are vital for everyone to deal with this crisis. In this situation, the safety of our guests and employees is our priority.
Also Read: One-On-One with Jisha Anish