‘The idea had been growing in our minds for quite a while: to connect housekeeping managers from the entire region, to facilitate the exchange of experience, and solve challenges together,’
began Luka Berger, the founder and CEO of Flexkeeping.
Housekeepers and their managers are the hotel’s backbone. They build its reputation, contribute to its success, and play an essential role in making guests feel comfortable and welcome.
Housekeeping managers deal with more than just rooms and housekeepers – the list of their tasks includes managing budget and inventory, administrative tasks, meetings, and countless small day-to-day tasks. We believe they deserve more recognition for their hard work and effort, which is why we wanted to offer them knowledge, an opportunity to exchange skills, and last but not least a chance to unwind and socialise.
‘The initiative came from housekeepers themselves. They gave the incentive and we heard them, rolled up our sleeves and got down to work,’
explains Nika Lenard (COO of Flexkeeping).
When we realised there were no conferences, educational lectures or other similar events for housekeeping managers, we gladly seized the opportunity to be the first to organise one. In just a month, our vision and careful planning came to fruition in the shape of the very first Housekeeping Palooza, a three-day event hosted at one of Ljubljana’s oldest hotels, the magnificent Grand Hotel Union. It served as a getaway where our guests were able to switch roles and, for a change, let others take care of them.
Our event was equal parts fun and education. Seeing that housekeeping managers are devoted to their jobs and always on the lookout for ways to improve their services, we included two educational panels. On the first panel, experts from the hotel industry discussed how to motivate employees and put together a reliable, high-quality team. Both guests and panelists agreed that motivation, patience, help, and guidance are the best tools for creating a team which delivers excellent results. Being a hands-on manager, knowing your employees and their skills is the best way to keep your team motivated and your services on point.
‘Encourage learning. The more knowledge you have, the more value you will bring’
shared Diana Lukić Grandov (Rooms Division Manager//Valamar Riviera).
The main topic of the second panel was how to emphasize the value of housekeepers’ work. ‘Girls, be persistent and stand up for each other,’ encouraged Diana Lukić Grandov (Rooms Division Manager//Valamar Riviera). Considering the fact that hotel managers are often not familiar with the reality of housekeepers’ work, it is the job of the housekeeping manager to objectively monitor their work and stand up for them, added Barbara Polak Tomšič (Hotel Manager, Union Hoteli).
‘We have the ability to gradually change how the management perceives housekeeping and its value,’ said Luka Berger, the founder & CEO of Fleexkeeping, who was also pleasantly surprised by guest participation. “What we wanted most – for guests to speak up, take part in the discussion – has actually happened.”
The panelists and guests ended up having an engaging debate, sharing valuable insights, tips, and advice on how to improve work environment and show employees they are truly valued.
‘It’s the small details’, said Mirjana Maraš (Executive Housekeeper//Lošinj Hotels & Villas, Jadranka Hoteli). ‘Order coffee and bring it to them. Order pastries from the kitchen and tell them – you deserved it today.’
Our wish was for Housekeeping Palooza to become an annual holiday, to be accepted by the housekeeping sector as a celebration of their hard work. And judging by the amount of laughter and positive energy permeating all three days, we have succeeded. After the event, we were overwhelmed by the amount of praise which proves that we have created something incredible.
But this year was just the beginning. We will raise the bar. Every year we will aim higher. In the future, we want to become even bigger and extend the invitation to housekeepers worldwide. Our vision is for Housekeeping Palooza to become an event facilitating cooperation, friendship, and connecting hotel industry professionals from around the world. After all, everyone in the hotel industry faces the same challenges and the best way to overcome them is by working together. Same as Đurđica Šandro (Hotel Adriatic, Opatija) we also believe that ‘every such event will undoubtedly improve hotel services’.
Our guests left content, energised, and armed with new knowledge. We are certain they will use it to bring positive change to their hotels and raise their services to an even higher level. We conclude with a thought from Mirjana Maraš (Rooms Division Manager//Lošinj Hotels & Villas, Jadranka Hoteli). ‘The more you give to people, the more you get in return’. And this is exactly what we plan to do with Housekeeping Palooza 2019.