Dear WuBookers, if despite your efforts and attempts, you are struggling to have a flawless and cosy establishment, perhaps there is a housekeeping problem and what you need is a Housekeeping Manager.
Knowing more about this role, what it does and what tools it uses, can be crucial in ensuring that rooms and common areas are always in optimal condition and meet guest expectations: here’s why.
Who is the Housekeeping Manager and what does he/she do?
Let’s start with the definition: ‘housekeeping’ literally means ‘household chores’. So the Housekeeping Manager is the person who manages the maintenance of the hotel, or accommodation facility, coordinating all the cleaning staff.
In more structured realities, the Housekeeping Manager reports in turn to the Executive Housekeeper, but for simplicity’s sake here we will treat the two roles as equivalent.
We can therefore define the Housekeeping Manager as the person responsible for the decorum and cleanliness of our facility: a role that, as you can imagine, is divided into several tasks.
What a Housekeeping Manager does
The housekeeping department is responsible for all tasks related to the presentability of the rooms, common areas and staff.
Therefore, a Housekeeping Manager supervises the cleaning work in the rooms (such as sanitising, changing the linen, restocking the minibar and the courtesy set – now at the centre of a proposal revision by the European Commission), the reception, the waiting room, the restaurant or the breakfast area, as well as the stairs and all staff areas.
He checks that the guests’ linen is always in optimal condition, as well as the furniture and plant engineering; he supervises the laundry and wardrobe service, and ensures that the staff uniforms are always impeccable.
As a manager, she/he defines service shifts and coordinates external suppliers, administering the purchasing portfolio and the management of ordinary and extraordinary operations, including any additional customer requests, unforeseen events and structural malfunctions.
In general, the First Housekeeper helps to identify and comply with requirements of care and aesthetics of the property in which she/he works, regulating the arrangement of rooms and the treatment of guests, according to what she/he considers the best standard of welcome.
What skills should the Housekeeping Manager have?
To become one, a Housekeeping Manager has undergone dedicated training or has grown into the role in the company.
Here are therefore specific skills, involving extensive planning, the organisation of activities on a daily and long-term basis, and the management and administration of the human and material resources involved. In short, this is a specialised technical profile with transversal skills.
In addition to professional ones, personal qualities (also known as ‘soft skills‘)
also count a lot, which certainly include:
- excellent interpersonal skills. The First Housekeeper will have to deal with different people: cleaners, superiors, suppliers and, in some cases, even the customers themselves. She/he must therefore be able to exercise leadership with seriousness, patience and courtesy;
- aptitude for problem solving. Not all guests are the same and accidents can always happen, even more than one at a time. When this happens, it is essential that the Housekeeping Manager uses all his or her alertness, self-control and flexibility to find quick and effective solutions;
- attention to detail. Supervising the work of others also means dwelling on what others, at first glance, do not notice: it may be a creased pillowcase, a stain on a uniform or a surface that has not been perfectly dusted. An excellent sense of aesthetics completes the picture by ensuring that guests have a clean and harmonious environment.
What are the advantages of having a Housekeeping Manager?
The advantages of a Housekeeping Manager are numerous, but before looking at them in detail, it is important to make a clarification: the housekeeping service can be internal, i.e. managed by staff hired by the hotel, or external, outsourced.
Opting for one or the other solution depends above all on the type of establishment, its organisation and available funds. In both, however, it is essential to rely on highly qualified and trained staff.
In turn, a good Housekeeping Manager will stand for perfect organisation, optimisation of expenses, and return onimage and turnover.
Organisation and punctuality
To sin by being disorganised is to expose yourself to the risk of having to improvise, with all that this entails: delays in receiving guests, rooms not being properly tidied, dissatisfaction of customers and your own staff. A scenario definitely to be avoided.
The Housekeeping Manager ensures that this doesnot happen, as she/he makes sure that everything is always done in the best possible way and at the right time.
A customer has requested a late check-out and the room cannot be tidied before a certain time? The Housekeeping Manager will organise the work accordingly, without disturbing the customer or disrupting the schedule.
The same applies, of course, to check-in times and, more generally, to courtesies for guests during their stay.
Optimisation of expenditure
Of course, you are well aware of this: among the items of expenditure of an accommodation facility are also those related to cleaning products. Checking consumption and managing its replenishment is part of the tasks of the Housekeeping Manager, who can also intervene to correct any sub-optimal staff behaviour, limiting the waste of products already in use.
In addition to making an inventory of what is already there, the Housekeeping Manager can also evaluate new purchases or suppliers, keeping the short and long term budget under control.
This also concerns the hotel’s organic staff and the need for new recruits, which the Housekeeping Manager will also have to support on an administrative basis.
Image (and investment) return
It is a few years old, but still highly cited, research by P&G Professional on the importance of hotel cleanliness for guest satisfaction. According to this study, for 78% of guests cleanliness is the number one criterion for choosing accommodation. Among the main causes that can lead to a premature check-out are dirty sheets (71% of cases), bathroom in poor condition (69%), smelly room (65%).
Not only that: the latest Expedia Group report on traveller preferences confirms that, after the pandemic, customers pay much more attention to hygiene, especially those under 40.
Being able to count on a reliable Housekeeping Manager has a positive impact on guest opinion and, consequently, on your direct (through bookings) and indirect (through additional complementary services) turnover. In fact, a customer who is satisfied with the cleanliness of his room will tend to rate the entire hotel positively and will be more inclined to book a treatment in the SPA or a meal in the in-house restaurant, or whatever you decide to propose according to your upselling and cross-selling strategy.
Which tools can facilitate the Housekeeping Manager
As much as pen and paper remain timeless and in some ways effective tools, there are digital alternatives that greatly facilitate the task of the First Housekeeper, her superiors and the cleaners.
For example, we at WuBook have developed a module entirely dedicated to housekeeping and the automatic management of housekeeping staff.
Through the multifunctional Zview planner included in Zak Essential, the Housekeeping Manager can:
- assigning daily room cleaning tasks to each waitress
The panel allows you to define the type of cleaning to be carried out according to three distinct levels: intensive, normal and fast (based on check-in, check-out and stay days or empty room); the change of sheets and towels; the configuration of the beds (twin or bunk beds, for example) and the person who is to take care of it.
When the work is done, it can be marked as completed and the schedule will update accordingly;
- monitor the state of cleanliness at a glance
Also from Zview, it is possible to access a specific report showing the tasks scheduled for each day chosen from the calendar. The system of icons, distinguished by type of cleaning, further speeds up consultation;
- display a customised report
Our Pms is able to generate a report with different filters, depending on the information you want to display, such as: accommodation, type of cleaning, bed configuration, room occupied or not, and so on.This makes it possible to quickly check the type of cleaning that needs to be done each day, the changes that need to be made and the bed configuration planned for a specific room and for one or more weeks;
- update the real time reorganisation
Zview allows you to edit the room rearrangement and cleaning report: the maid’s work plan will change in real time, and the receptionist will be able to communicate in real time when guests check out on a given room (confirming the cleaning task on zView), to alert the housekeepers on the floors that the room is free and can be cleaned.
And it doesn’t end there, because our software also allows ‘extra’ operations, such as:
- the ‘lost and found’ functionality: during the shift, the Housekeeping Manager has the possibility to enter any found or lost items. In turn, the Housekeeping Manager can view and edit this section at any time;
- the Maintenance Report: the Housekeeper can add or view any extraordinary maintenance to be done to the room (e.g. ‘faulty tap’);
- email notifications: the Housekeeping Manager can choose to be notified by email when maids mark a task as done, when they add maintenance tasks and when they report found or lost items.
In the mobile version of Zview, the Housekeeping Manager can only send the link for accessing the cleaning sheet once, at the beginning, when he has established shifts and tasks.
Depending on the tasks or changes she/he makes the link will update automatically, without taking up any memory space on the cleaners’ devices (it is not an application, just a link!).
Housekeeping Manager and WuBook software: synthesis of good management
Being able to count on a specialised figure in the coordination of cleaning means, as we have seen so far, ensuring smooth operational management and detailed administrative control. Through careful organisation and supervision, you also reduce the risk of customer dissatisfaction and improve perceived quality.
Although a paper-based cleaning calendar may be a solution for some facilities, equipping the First Housekeeper with a digital version increases the productivity of the entire staff, avoiding misunderstandings and unforeseen events.
Among the main advantages of a housekeeping software like ours are in fact: the possibility to check the status of the rooms in real time, save time in passing internal information, promptly report breakdowns or other inefficiencies, and plan work at the right time and in the right way, even weeks apart and according to the availability of each employee.
It’s worth a thought, isn’t it?