OperationsHousekeepingKey Investments for the Housekeeping Department: Where Not To Skimp

Key Investments for the Housekeeping Department: Where Not To Skimp

The housekeeping department is classified as a “support center”—it generates no direct revenues and can only contribute to a hotel’s bottom line by minimizing its spending. With regards to housekeeping, the only thing that matters to guests is whether their cleanliness expectations are met. And for most travelers, these expectations are fairly high.

While some people may settle for some semblance of uncleanliness, clutter, and disorganization in their own homes, few will be accepting of such an environment where they are paying to stay. Any deficiency will be noticed upon checking in and will affect their choice to return or recommend the hotel to others. So, what are the two expenditures in a housekeeping department that should sit at the top of any funding priority list?

  • Employee loyalty initiatives: The phrase “nobody cares how much you know if they do not know how much you care” is absolutely true. Housekeeping is hard work and the compensation is generally at the bottom of most pay scales. So, what keeps these employees coming to work each day? 1) They need the pay. 2) They take pride in their work. 3) They have a sense of camaraderie with the other employees and, if treated right, with the hotel. Employee loyalty initiatives (like recognizing birthdays and workplace anniversaries, pizza parties on Fridays, and inspection score bonuses) deliver the message that employees are appreciated and their work is valued.
  • Inspection initiatives: It is also true in housekeeping that “you can only expect what you inspect.” Brand standards may be set, but they will not be consistently adhered to or met if there is no inspection. Reviewing housekeeping cart inventories and laundry, guestroom, and common area cleaning inspections are all critical to creating efficient operations and ensuring that guest expectations are met.
William D. Frye
William D. Frye
Dr. William D. Frye is a hospitality educator, researcher, consultant, and former hotel general manager. He is the co-author of AHLEI’s housekeeping textbook Managing Housekeeping Operations.