“The solution lies in the problem itself. Solving every problem a lot more effectively has become one of my core strengths. It is just not doing things right but it is also doing right things consistently.”
- Kishore Pemmasani, Director of Housekeeping, The Ritz Carlton Dubai
Kishore Pemmasani, Director of Housekeeping, The Ritz Carlton Dubai is a seasoned housekeeper and a leader who believes in taking care of his team as much as his guests. Let's take you through his journey.
I am Kishore Pemmasani from the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. I started my first job with The Trident, Cochin (India) May 2000. With a few years of Indian hospitality experience, I came to Dubai in 2006 to gain international experience and work in a diversified environment. I joined Hilton Dubai Jumeirah as Housekeeping supervisor on 19th January 2006 and that’s when my international hospitality career began.
Currently I am working as Director of Housekeeping at The Ritz Carlton Dubai. I find my happiness in keeping my team happy, who in turn, will look after our guests from the bottom of their heart. I strongly believe that my passion towards genuine care for people has made me successful in the hospitality industry. I have come across many challenges, accomplishments and accolades since 2000 till date. The most important lesson I have learnt that we should always remember our past and continue to support the industry with genuine care for all people.
Your experience and years in the industry
I started with the hospitality industry in May 2000, India. Later career progression placed me with Hilton in UAE in Jan 2006. I had the opportunity to work as Duty Manager in the Front office department of Hilton Dubai Jumeirah. I came back to housekeeping as Assistant EHK role in 2009 and went on to open 362 keys of Hilton Dubai Jumeirah residences in 2011 which was later renamed to Hilton Dubai - The Walk after the conversion as a hotel. I became HOD in March 2013 and worked towards creating enhanced levels of guest experience. I moved to Doubletree by Hilton M square in October 2020 to open a 458 keys property during the pandemic which had both apartments and guest rooms. During my tenure in the industry, I also handled additional responsibilities as Housekeeping Operational excellence Champion for EMEA with Hilton . Achieved many hotel awards including Best Executive Housekeeper for Hilton MEA & turkey 2019 and well Top 10 Asia pandemic performer award.
How did you get into the hospitality industry, and how have you grown since then?
Since I could not get into the Indian Military to serve the nation, my passion to serve the people took me to the hospitality industry. Although this was not the most popular job in our community in 1996, I took on a hospitality career by doing a 3 year diploma in Hotel Management from IHM, Chennai . Fortunately my parents supported my vision and gave their full support. Without my parents' support I would have not become what I am today.
What drives you and your career?
My biggest inspiration comes when I see our guests live a home-away-from-home experience. This keeps me fully motivated at all times. Sharing these wonderful experiences with my hard-working and dedicated team members and celebrating success together gives immense satisfaction to drive excellence consistently. Seeing my team provide genuine care and looking after our guests inspires me every single moment that I spend in the hotel.
An accomplishment that shaped your career
Though I was fortunate to be recognized for my hard work for the last 20 years, one turning point was getting an opportunity to handle guest problems during my front office role. This changed the way I looked at things. I started noticing that the solution lies in the problem itself. Solving every problem a lot more effectively has become one of my core strengths. It is just not doing things right but it is also doing right things consistently. With the collaboration between departments all problems could easily be solved with genuine care and guest voice scores were always very consistent. Second opportunity was to be part of HK Operational excellence for EMEA and as well as a property 4DX coach. This helped me to challenge the status quo and focus on continuous improvement processes . This process of reviewing current procedures helped me roll out new best practices, visual SOP’s and effective operating standards. The key to success is because there has always been a focus on continuous improvement.
The best part of your job
Knowledge that we gain is a drop in the mighty ocean and learning never stops. The pandemic has taught us many lessons and the way cleanliness and hygiene is looked by travelers has dramatically changed. Sky's the limit for the current travelers expectations. The best part of my job is to go beyond and above guest expectations, creating wow moments consistently. Reviewing the current operational standards and making continuous improvement as my hobby makes me better day by day in my job.
The most challenging aspect of your job
Hygiene and cleanliness have always played a pivotal role and now even stronger presence due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Elevated levels of hygiene standards have also become a mandatory requirement. As I said , the expectations of the guests with regards to hygiene, safety , cleanliness have changed dramatically and it is the housekeeping department's major responsibility to find best of the best practices and consistently provide the highest standard in guest rooms and public areas. We have to make sure that our team members get the right resources, training, knowledge and continuously we must support them to update their skills to be successful in the hotel as they are the key driver of guest satisfaction and results. End of the day, it is all about collaborating as a team without blaming anyone and working towards achieving common goals. The challenge aspect of the job is to stay up to date and quickly adapt to the new demands around us constantly.
Why is sustainability so important to you?
Sustainability is just not at the hotel level but it is a burning topic globally. As responsible hoteliers, we need to roll out best practices to reduce energy, waste, water, Co2 consumption in the hotels. The faster we can do more sustainable best practices the sooner we can create a healthy environment around us. The world needs to sustain for generations and generations coming after us. We have only one living planet and we all are responsible to protect this planet.
Housekeeping practices you live by
At the core of housekeeping, lies eye for details, quality method implementations all times, innovative methods in cleaning techniques time to time , rewards and recognition to the team, focus on deep cleaning schedules at regular intervals, training team members to deliver brand standards consistently, empowering the team, talent development, listening to our guests and ensuring we look after them. Last but not least, we have to ensure that local laws and DTCM standards are followed all times.
Cleaning practices at your hotel
Just cleaning is not enough anymore but effective spotless cleaning based on foot fall and guest traffic is very important in public areas. For guest rooms, needless to say it is ensuring that everything is thoroughly sanitized and disinfected for each and every guest is very critical. We must also ensure high hygiene levels for high touch points across the entire hotel both back of the house and front of the house post pandemic, a lesson we learnt to control the spread of any viruses. We have adopted all the standards laid down by Dubai Municipality and we are following all hygiene and sanitization protocols in compliance with brand and local authorities. The health and safety and well-being of our guests and our team is a top priority. The rooms and specific public areas are disinfected through Steam cleaning regularly, deep cleaning with special sanitizing machines, using latest cleaning methods to purify the air in the room and public areas are some of our current cleaning practices. We have adopted a night deep cleaning schedule for all soft furnishing in public areas to ensure that all soft seating is neat and clean each single day.
The latest products (chemicals & equipment) that are in use
There are several products and chemicals available in the market that are really effective in keeping the hotel safe. We use machines from various top vendors in the market for deep cleaning, steam cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting to maintain cleanliness standards across the entire hotel and we use municipality approved products to sanitize the rooms. Sensor-based sanitizers are installed in all guest and team member areas of the hotel. Of course we also use high quality microfiber color coded dusters , mop pads, scrubber dryers, twister pads to ensure highest cleanliness standards.
The latest technologies
We use the latest Swingo machines for deep cleaning the areas which is perfect as it does the dual job of scrubbing and drying. We use revolutionary floor diamond pads with or without chemicals as needed for various surfaces.
Training provided to the cleaning staff
We have a monthly training calendar incorporated with the HR training calendar . Training all housekeeping ladies and gentlemen including our outsourced team members is done during line ups on a daily basis. The training topics are mostly based on guest feedback received, trends in cleanliness defects, our daily observations and top 3 issues based on 30 month guest experience tracker etc.
Challenges you have faced
Retaining top talent is one of the top challenges faced in general in the industry. With loads of opportunities with many brands opening with windows of opportunities, it is difficult to convince all to stay with the brand for a longer period. Today’s generation looks for fast growth and it is very challenging to hold the team together.
The future of the cleaning industry
The focus in the future will remain on hygiene and sanitization protocols alongside cleanliness. The housekeeping department has been in the spotlight post pandemic and it will only get tougher. The Housekeepers expertise is very critical to maintain the standards and the image of the brand you work for. Equipment with newer technology will keep flowing in rapidly , however personal touches of a housekeeper will always create a warm welcome to the guests. Post pandemic , revolutionary changes came at a much faster pace than expected and now it is our duty to keep abreast with the changes. The demand for eco-friendly practices will be even higher and hospitality industry has a big role to reduce carbon footprint