6 Hotel Housekeeping Tips & Tricks for Operational Success

They say if it's not broken, don't fix it, but as hotels work to get back to pre-pandemic revenue levels, operational processes need to be adapted. 

It's hard to wrap your head around returning operations to pre-COVID levels without having to staff the same number of people. But it’s essential that hoteliers find ways to maximize staff efficiency to bridge the gap between keeping operating costs low and providing value.

The balance of leveraging operational costs while still meeting guest demands is a tough one. Outdated housekeeping practices, like managing staff with pen and paper, make it harder to deliver a world-class guest experience. They also make the jobs of hotel management and housekeeping staff more complicated than they need to be.

These hotel housekeeping tips and tricks will allow your hotels to optimize the housekeeping process without investing more time or budget.

Flexkeeping is an all-in-one hotel housekeeping management software to maximize operational efficiency. Schedule your free demo here

hotel housekeeping tips and tricks

6 hotel housekeeping tips & tricks for management

1. Automate and optimize your housekeeping schedule

One of the biggest challenges in housekeeping management is mitigating between cost, efficiency and quality. So how do you get the right balance of shift schedules with the uncertainty that COVID brings? Being armed with data on actual housekeeping task performance duration that integrates with your PMS can help you make data-driven scheduling decisions. It allows you to balance the workload without overworking your staff members or over-hiring.

Even if you've advanced beyond pen and paper, spreadsheets don't give you real-time data about availability, workload, and needs. You can use housekeeping scheduling tools to automatically allocate rooms, using smart algorithms to reduce staff stress by ensuring equal distribution of work. By manually scheduling rooms, you can end up overloading one housekeeper with work, while another ends up with lots of free time. Different size rooms take different amounts of time to complete and automated tools can use that data to create staff schedules that are balanced and logical.

While always important, right now health and safety concerns are at the forefront of your guests’ minds. New health guidelines need to be considered during the scheduling process so that housekeepers have minimal contact with guests and each other. Using automation tools takes the guesswork out of the process, plus saves you tons of time.

Another idea would be offering an opt-in/opt-out housekeeping option pre-arrival. As part of your pre-arrival communication, you can offer your guests to opt out of housekeeping in exchange for an exciting deal or an add-on. For example, a hotel upselling software such as Oaky allows you to do it in one click and supplies you with deal ideas that can be automatically presented to your guests at the pre-stay stage.

2. Use digital hotel housekeeping checklists

Checklists are a great way to minimize errors and make sure that nothing is missed by housekeepers, but printing out paper checklists each day is impractical and untraceable. Switching to digital checklists can save time, resources and allow staff to operate more efficiently. Beyond just being environmentally friendly, they will enable staff to access digital checklists directly from an app on their phone. The checklists update in real-time as the housekeeper checks off tasks and finishes rooms.

It’s easy to customize hotel digital checklists so they’re relevant to the type of room that needs cleaning. Realistically, you’ll need a different type of checklist for each hotel room because they all have different requirements. Health and safety are paramount but sometimes it’s hard for housekeepers to keep up with which chemical they need to use where. Digital checklists are simple to customize and change according to particular needs.

So, no more outdated paper checklists and digging through disorganized piles to find the specific one you’re looking for — digital checklists improve efficiency, consistency, and quality of housekeeping work 

3. Collect data and pay attention to quality patterns

If guests frequently complain about the same problem with room quality, it might be more than a housekeeper mistake. For example, if shower cleanliness seems to be a consistent complaint amongst guests, then it might be time to redo the tiling or grouting in the shower. Housekeeping staff could be cleaning showers with a toothbrush, getting into all the nooks and crannies, and it may still not meet guest quality standards. Finding patterns in the quality will allow you to determine when things need updating or when an issue needs addressing with staff.

Hotel maintenance software can be used to keep track of a whole range of maintenance issues. Some software tools, like Flexkeeping, combine this with logging customer complaints and housekeeper stats, enabling you to compile that data into a single, easy-to-read report. Data makes it clear whether regular complaints come from a specific member of staff, an issue with internal processes, or simply a bad product. 

4. Leverage technology and analytics to monitor the hotel room cleaning process

Inspecting rooms has always been an integral part of the housekeeping supervisor’s job, but the process is often inefficient. Having to wait for a cleaner to report back manually or mark a room clean in a long thread of WhatsApp messages can cause a delay in the final inspection process. On top of that, if you found errors during an inspection, then you'd need to make a record of it, take a photo, and track down the housekeeper responsible.

Using hotel housekeeping management software, you can see exactly how far along their task list each housekeeper is and when a room is ready for inspection. During an inspection, if there are any errors, you can take a photo, upload it to the app, make comments, and reassign a task to the relevant housekeeper with the click of a button.

The time it takes to clean each room is tracked so that you can identify any patterns or anomalies during the process. If it's taking one housekeeper 30 minutes to clean a room and another an hour, then you know that something is off. Using this data, you can verify the efficiency and quality of work for each of your staff and create a success score for each individual. Without this monitoring and tracking process, you base your standards off how long the housekeepers say it takes, with no real way to verify this information.

5. Streamline housekeeping team communication

There are multiple personnel involved in the housekeeping process and finding ways to streamline communication is a huge time-saver. Management, reception, maintenance, concierge, and housekeepers are continually communicating throughout the day and having to run around to find the person you need is very inefficient.

Leveraging communication tools like Flexkeeping enables everyone to connect within one interface and eliminates issues like:

  • If a housekeeper notices a maintenance issue in the room, they need to locate the maintenance staff, which pulls them away from their cleaning duties.
  • The housekeeper is stocking the minibar and has to note what the previous guest consumed. They then have to take that information to the front desk to input the details and charge the guest.
  • Director of housekeeping needs to let the housekeepers know about special inclusions for a room (i.e., an extra cot, a baby crib, rose petals on the bed for an anniversary). They have to go track them down to let them know.
  • Housekeeper finds a laptop charger in the hallway that was left by a guest. They take it to the front desk where it’s placed in a lost and found bin with many other misplaced items. A guest calls to ask about it a week later and speaks to another member of staff who can’t seem to find their item amongst the sea of other lost belongings. 

You can solve all these issues by using an app like Flexkeeping. All staff can communicate in real-time, directly from their phones. Here are some of the ways that it saves time on communication:

  • Supervisors can update rooms with particular information like inclusions directly in the app, where housekeepers can view it. 
  • Housekeepers can flag maintenance issues in rooms, alerting maintenance staff so they can fix the problem.
  • Housekeepers can charge guests for their minibar consumption directly through the app without having to go down to reception. 
  • Housekeepers can use lost and found software to log items that they find misplaced in rooms or public areas, including the date, and any comments related to the item. When a guest calls asking about their item, staff can easily search in the software to find the item without digging through a messy lost and found bin.

6. Create digital hotel SOPs and checklists to train housekeepers

When housekeepers are able to utilize mobile phones on the job, this not only gives them access to digital checklists (and the efficiencies those bring) but this also gives them an easy way to access internal standards of practice guidelines and training materials when needed.

This might include access to step-by-step videos recorded by management to help staff better understand the standards and requirements or more specialized information about how to safely use certain products, helping to avoid damage or personal injury.

Optimize your housekeeping operations

As we advance, housekeeping processes must be optimized to leverage the operational budget and operate efficiently and safely. Using the tech tools at your disposal, plus these hotel housekeeping tips & tricks, will enable you and your team to perform more effectively.

Flexkeeping is an all-in-one hotel housekeeping management software to maximize operational efficiency. Schedule your free demo here.

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