housekeeping and the guest cycle

We are mainly dissecting the issues posed in Rooms Division; which are specifically the Housekeeping and Front Office departments. As these two departments are one of the key functions in any hotel, because the first contact or impression the guest would experience would be from the moment they enter the hotel. The next unforgettable experience would be the room they would be staying at; it could make or break the guests’ impression of the hotel.

Basically, if the Housekeeping did not do a good job in cleaning the room or if the Front Office ‘accidently’ assigned a ‘dirty’ room to them; the impact on the hotel image would be drastically affected. The key topics which would be discussed are the impact on the guest cycle and what measures are to be taken on the issues to be addressed. My findings would be based on readings from either the textbook, journals, my personal views and the internet. References would be mentioned accordingly. Findings

There are several issues happening at the Blue Ribbon Hotel which needs to be resolved quickly. Let’s discuss the issues Housekeeping has; the Executive Housekeeper does not show a sense of responsibility in her capacity to her associates, she prefers to look after them and dealing with their problems. Room Supervisors has to make up rooms if the room forecast is inaccurate with the actual occupancy. There are also challenges with retaining and attracting room attendants. Lastly, other departments in the hotel are not willing to help out Housekeeping, should there be a shortage of manpower.

Over at Front Office, the Front Office Manager has difficulty forecasting the occupancy level. It is either exceeds the previous forecast or under achieved. Discussions The guest cycle describes the activities that follow after a customer makes a reservation by either phone or email. Followed by pre arrival, arrival, occupancy and departure. Each stage of the guest cycle is associated with a different department of the rooms division, which goes from creating the reservation, attending to special requests; registration, baggage handling etc right up to the point the guest checks out.

Communication is a vital point in the hospitality industry; it is because all departments within the hotel are inter-related. An internal or external guest may have needs or special requests which can sometime involve up to three departments to attend to. In cases like this, communication can easily breakdown and the outcome may be disastrous. As the saying goes, ‘teamwork always wins’. Instead of communicating with Front Office or to deal with the forecasting issue, the Executive Housekeeper enjoys ‘looking after and dealing with staff’s problems’.

Rather than ‘taking a step back to assess her own behaviour and how it might be interpreted by her staff’ says David, 2010. It clearly shows that her staffs are not passionate and physically tired with their job k to assess they don’t mind leaving early with less income. Cleaning sixteen rooms per day can really take a toll on someone and especially if they are not motivated by their superior, they feel of no importance to the organization. Housekeeping attendants are line staff in a hotel organization, if rooms are not made up properly, it would have an impact on the guest experience and hotel.

If Supervisors are involved with cleaning rooms because of an inaccurate report, who are going to inspect ‘cleaned up’ rooms and make sure they are of quality for the next guest who checks in? Lastly retaining and attracting staff can be a challenge in the Housekeeping department due to the nature of the job and external factors such as remuneration; the Executive Housekeeper should look at innovative ways and update management style to attract new attendants.

It would be a added advantage to the organization if they are able to retain staff, as it cuts down on re-training so that supervisors can spend more effort checking the room cleanliness. Communication is a two-way process, not only do people need to know what’s going on, they want to be heard. Daily briefings need to include what’s happening that could affect the operation or the customer experience in any way (e. g. maintenance, staff shortages, unavailable products or services), as well as any feedback from staff on their observations or ideas. Let your team know how the business is performing, and what this means to them. Caroline 2010) Sharing the happenings within the hotel may mean a lot to staff, it makes them feel that they are contributors to the organization. The department head can also look at monthly get together’s with some finger food included for staff and interaction. Regarding issues like which team member got a compliment letter from a guest, birthday celebrations, and speeches from housekeeper to encourage and motivate staff to be passionate about their job. Marti Cannon also mentioned to manage employees by motivating them, occasionally working on the job together and gaining loyalty with each individual staff.

Employers need to probe deeper into the personal psyche of the prospective employee to gain a Comprehensive portrait of what is important and significant to that individual. Further, the employer must examine the prospective employee’s social skill sets as much as his/her job skill sets. These proactive and affirmative actions by the human resource manager are of course considerably important as they will ultimately lead to lower staff turnover and the successful retention of valuable employees (Martin, 2004).

Although ‘beggars cannot be choosers’, it is important to look employ a prospective employee who has the experience and personality to get the good done. The housekeeper has to work closely with HR to come up with ideas to attract suitable employees. For example, using Frederick Herzberg’s “hygiene factors” which makes up salary, working conditions, supervision (Frederick, 1974) etc. However if turnover is a concern, the said factors should not be the main focus. A deal of attention should then be focused on opportunity for career advancement, challenges to work etc.

Nowadays, many hotels are practicing inter departmental training whereby a Food and Beverage Attendant is attached to Housekeeping to learn how to make up rooms. Or a cook is trained to serve guest their food and maybe security can double up as an engineer to fix simple problems like changing a light bulb. These can be out of their shifts and can be measured in their required training hours and KPIs, plus it would look good on their resumes too. This practice could help the Blue Ribbon Hotel with their shortage of staff issue. As a departmental head, communication and motivation are key points to ensure the department is kept happy.

To also be consistent in each of the goals set for the team; for example making sure that attendants do not use one cloth to wipe everything in the room. Ensuring that guidelines that are set are followed accordingly and reward staff if achievements are met. Always scrutinize yourself for others to look upon you, i feel this is extremely important because your staff should always look and model themselves upon you. Connecting with associates and showing them empathy, leadership and communication traits can inspire them to feel that their boss is the best and they in turn will go all out for the department and not just the salary.




3.Terms of engagement (Caterer & Hotelkeeper) David MacLeod March 2010

4.Frederick Irving Herzberg , 1974

5.Hotel Front Office Management, James A. Bardi 5th edition Chapter 15, Housekeeping, pg428 Miss Marti Cannon

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