Five-Star Housekeeping For Five-Star Properties

Having just completed an exhaustive Pacific hotel tour, my report to hoteliers is this: no matter what your brand or luxury status, housekeeping remains a prickly beast and a constant challenge. Seventeen nights on the road in luxury hotels and one would think that the results are all coming up like daisies. Well, I wish I could report perfection but alas this is not so!

In all five properties that I surveyed, housekeeping errors topped the list. Where others see shortcomings, however, I see opportunities for growth.

While my analysis certainly is not comprehensive, it is interesting to report that not one of my accommodations scored perfect in this regard, this despite being VIP-ed (I suspect) along the way. What is particularly surprising is that these properties are all purported to be in the five-star range, yet still suffered similar flaws. While the errors noted were minor, at the rack rates being charged, there is cause for concern.

Here is the list of errors identified. While most are trivial, the results tend to tarnish an otherwise stellar performance. I have intentionally not mentioned the names of the hotels. Is your property guilty of similar infractions?

  1. Missing dressing gowns. After use, they are not replaced. A call to guest services relieved the problem quickly, but why should a five-star customer have to ring downstairs to fix the issue?
  1. Improperly made beds. Not just corners that don’t meet specification, but sheets actually folded wrong so that the bed had to be remade. Do you conduct quality control checks and test for this?
  1. Where’s the soap? One small bar of soap in a bathroom that has a separate tub, sink and shower is clearly a stocking error. This was not rectified on subsequent days, which possibly suggests a cost savings measure of ill conception.
  1. Two shower gels, no shampoo. It’s an easy mistake to make when the bottles all look the same. Who does this amenity package design in any event? And why are the products identical in color too?
  1. Odd servicing times. In one property, housekeepers arrived between 4-5PM everyday, which is quite an inconvenience when you are trying to get ready for dinner. By the third day, you would think that they would have recorded our (the guest’s schedule) and adjusted accordingly.
  1. Sinks that do not drain properly. A common challenge, but a good housekeeper will test and identify the problem then issue a repair order to maintenance before the guest has to call.
  1. Showerheads that spray in odd ways. Rain-style heads are so much in vogue these days. That doesn’t they are exempt from upkeep and inspection, though. The narrow channels that create the rain effect are subject to calcification, causing strange diversions of water flow. Whether it falls into the hands of maintenance or housekeeping to fix, this is nonetheless another minor annoyance reminding the guest that all is not perfect.
  1. Sometimes we have turndown service; other times maybe not. There appeared to be some challenges in timing turndown service. Not one of the properties got it right every time, especially odd given that we were not in the room from 7PM onwards.

I might add that cleanliness was exceptional, so the core work is accomplished. However, it appears that a checklist of sorts represents a clear opportunity. Remember, I am being very fussy here, but so too are your guests! Why spoil their stay through minor errors that are easily remedied? Challenge your executive housekeeper to find solutions that respect your housekeeping team and reward perfection.

(Article by Larry Mogelonsky, published in eHotelier on July 27, 2015)

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