We have to agree that some housekeepers work hard and pave a roadmap to success for themselves. Their journey inspires others and sets an example for others. This month, we bring to you the story of one such housekeeper - Nadeem Saleem. Nadeem came to the Middle East in 2007 and decided to call it home. Since then, he has supported the housekeeping industry with sheer hard work, determination and grit.
Tell us about yourself.
I am Nadeem Saleem from the city of Sialkot, Pakistan. I have been in the Middle East since 2007 and with Bahi Ajman Palace Hotel & Coral Beach Resort Sharjah since 2021. I am currently working as Cluster Executive Housekeeper. I utilize creative problem-solving skills and have great attention to details. By keeping my team happy, I know they will look after our guests from the bottom of their hearts. In my job, I consider it more than just a duty to fulfill, but also a responsibility to ensure our guests and even our employees have an unforgettable experience. One of the most important lessons I've learned is that we should never forget the past and always be supportive of the industry.
Your experience and years in the industry
My experience in the hospitality industry spans more than 17 years. I started my career with Ramada Continental Hotel in Dubai in 2007. During my tenure, I was promoted to different positions such as trainee housekeeping supervisor and then to a fully-fledged supervisory role.
I joined Bahi Ajman Palace Hotel & Coral Beach Resort Sharjah in 2021 as an Executive Housekeeper to manage 410 luxurious rooms. Achieved many hotel awards like “CSR Champion 2022” and hailed as the “Top Best 30 Housekeeping Leader Middle East 2023”.
How did you get into the hospitality industry, and how have you grown since then?
As I had a natural desire to serve others, I entered the hospitality industry in 2007. It was a humble beginning, where I started as a Housekeeper. After developing my skills, I was promoted to supervisory roles to a manager position. I considered UAE my second home, as it was the place where I learned and mastered the industry. Being exposed to various brands and mastering the art of housekeeping and sharing my knowledge with my team gave me a great deal of experience.
What drives you and your career?
The most important thing to me is creating memories for our guests. Since I began working in the hospitality industry, I have been driven to deliver an unforgettable guest experience. When reviews mention that 'the room was clean and service was phenomenal', it makes us want to WOW the guests even more.
An accomplishment that shaped your career
My Area General Manager – Mr. Iftikhar Hamdani deserve a great deal of credit for the many recognitions and accomplishments I have achieved over the years. Among my accomplishments, I was awarded as "CSR Champion 2022" and "Top Best 30 Housekeeping Leader Middle East 2023”. I feel blessed that I am currently part of Bahi Ajman Palace Hotel & Coral Beach Resort Sharjah. A passion for achieving high quality work has helped shape my career and develop my skills through achieving benchmarks in business enhancement and guest service.
The best part of your job
My favorite part of my job is meeting and interacting with guests, providing them with the best service and celebrating as a team their recognition and appreciation. Making my team members happy, watching them grow professionally, creating memorable moments and providing a safe and comfortable environment is my daily bliss.
The most challenging aspect of your job
Challenges are inevitable in the hospitality industry, so being proactive and prepared is important. With the COVID-19 pandemic, hygiene and cleanliness have become even more important. Hygiene standards have also been raised to mandatory levels. Guests' expectations concerning hygiene, safety, and cleanliness have changed dramatically over the years, and it is the responsibility of the housekeeping department to find the best practices and provide the highest standard of service in the guest rooms and public areas consistently.
Why is sustainability so important to you?
In order to ensure the survival of our future generations, it is our social responsibility to maintain sustainability. Positive mindset changes are meaningful and important. At Bahi Ajman Palace Hotel & Coral Beach Resort Sharjah, the housekeeping department plays a critical role in creating, developing, and maintaining sustainability, embracing culture. We have implemented several measures to ensure that we’re reducing the carbon footprint whilst striving towards a more sustainable future one step at a time. Using eco-friendly and organic products in cleaning; implemented chemical free cleaning materials for guestrooms and with this no air is polluted, and no human is exposed to harmful chemicals; the discarded linens were converted to reusable bags stitched by our hotel tailor, which were distributed to all the staff for them to use in their shopping & groceries. Moreover, we provide training for our team, especially the waste management. We segregate waste plastic bottles, aluminum cans and hand over them to a local entity who handles proper recycling process.
Housekeeping practices you live by
Always set an example and practice what you preach. Utilize every chance you get to spot and correct issues, whether they are in your department or in others, since this will help the business's products and services to keep getting better. Most key, practice humility and keep an open mind to feedback and introspection. Focus on scheduling deep cleanings at regular intervals, training staff to uphold brand standards consistently, empowering the team, talent development, and paying attention to and taking care of our visitors. Last but not least, we must make sure that municipal regulations, as well as local tourism requirements, are always followed.
Cleaning practices at your hotel
To guarantee that every aspect of the building is cleaned and maintained on a regular basis, cyclical cleaning programs have been devised for rooms and public areas. Our guest amenities are regularly inspected, maintained, and cleaned. Public restrooms are cleaned and replenished, and check lists are kept recording how often people use the facilities. To ensure that our spaces are completely operational by day, the night shift team thoroughly cleans all public areas on a regular basis and takes care of any maintenance issues. Marbles, plants, and façade washing are all taken care of by qualified outside service providers. All occupied rooms are cleaned and inspected twice daily in the meantime. We need to use the most advanced cleaning techniques to purify the air in rooms and public areas.
The latest products (chemicals & equipment) that are in use.
We always utilize Peroxide Multi-surface Cleaner and Disinfectant which is an EU-certified TCL cleaning solution that is safe to the environment and non-hazardous. We utilize air purifiers that are efficient against viruses and steam clean which avoids the use of chemicals and places more of an emphasis on sanitization, floor cleaning, and carpet shampooing equipment to maintain the greatest degree of cleanliness. On guest request we use chemical free cleaning materials for guestrooms through EnozoPRO machines. With this, no air is polluted, and no human is exposed to harmful chemicals.
The latest technologies trending in housekeeping departments
We use chemical free cleaning materials for guestrooms through EnozoPRO machines. With this, no air is polluted, and no human is exposed to harmful chemicals.
Training provided to the cleaning staff.
Employee training is a crucial aspect of running a successful business; therefore, it is important to establish standards of cleanliness and teaching the team proper use of cleaning equipment, The majority of the training subjects are based on customer feedback, trends in cleaning issues, and a monthly training schedule that is integrated with the HR training schedule.
Challenges you have faced.
The largest workforce in a hotel works in the housekeeping department, thus the operations space has to be quite vast to get a full picture of everything. In terms of nationality, language, age groupings, and experience, the crew is highly diversified. It might be difficult to get people motivated, to comprehend, and to communicate. Planning is necessary to ensure that each team member is motivated.
The future of the cleaning industry
Since the majority of the hotel sector is now leading the charge to go green, plastic-free, or conserve energy by using LED and new technologies to lower the cost and energy, the future of the cleaning industry is more about sustainability. As a result, the hotel business should keep evolving and investing in the efficient use of cleaning and sanitizing methods.