The Evolution of Housekeeping

Linens
Photo credit: Maid with housekeeping cart via Bigstock

As LODGING celebrates its 40th anniversary, we can reflect on the changes to hotel housekeeping that have occurred during this time period. Though not driven solely by technology, there have been some noticeable transformations that have affected how housekeepers do their jobs:

Linen re-use programs. Both as a commitment to minimizing the impact on the environment and laundry expense, hoteliers have realized that most guests neither require nor prefer that their linens be changed out each day of their stay.

Washable duvets, coverlets, and decorative throws. The industry has embraced duvet covers and thinner coverlets that can easily be swapped out and laundered when a guest checks out.

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New-age cleaning supplies. With the help of new tools like electrostatic rags, microfiber wet and dry mops, water-activated micro scrubber sponges made from melamine foam, and green cleaning chemicals are derived from organic sources, housekeeping duties are more safe, expedient, and efficient to complete.

Non-flip mattresses. Hotels have realized the value of mattresses that do not require flipping. Whether it is a pillow-top, latex, or high density open-cell poured polyurethane foam mattress, these mattresses are meant to be rotated, not flipped. This change has also helped reduce housekeeping employee injuries associated with the heavy task of mattress flipping.

Technology. The advances in technology to track guestroom inventory have made hotels more efficient and accountable when servicing guestrooms. Room attendants can update the status of a guestroom using the in-room telephone. Housekeeping and front office managers can see live-time status through the property management system.

Dr. William D. Frye is an Associate Professor in the College of Hospitality and Tourism management at Niagara University and co-author of AH&LEI’s housekeeping textbook Managing Housekeeping Operations.