by Egi Gaisie

While celebrating good hotel housekeeping, attention has so far been drawn to unique challenges faced by personnel working in the housekeeping department of hotels in Ghana. These are diverse including the unavailability of appropriate equipment and tools to work with, the scope of housekeeping tasks and the pressure to deliver high standards even when the facility looks ‘worn out’ and require renovation.

This is a continuation of the discussion on security and safety hazards housekeepers encounter when they enter a guestroom to service it. How prepared are they when they encounter the following?

Guest wants to stay in the room during cleaning: The general procedure is that housekeeping knocks to check whether the guest is in the room first.  If the guest is in, the guest is asked whether s/he wishes to have the room cleaned now or whether housekeeping should come back to clean later; the guest is given the option. Some guests insist on being in the room during the cleaning. The issue is, are there clear guidelines and or policies to guide housekeepers? Some properties have two room attendants work together whenever a guest is in the room.  Are we mindful of the safety and security of our housekeepers?

Guest who suggests a romantic encounter: Not too long ago a known world figure was accused of assaulting the housekeeper who was sent to clean his hotel room. A veteran of the hotel industry wrote that housekeepers are assaulted by guests “more often than you’d think”. Erroneously you may think this is unique to the western world.

How seriously is sexual harassment taken in Ghana?’ Are hotel managers hiding behind ‘there is little that hotels can do to prevent some of the incidents’? Will managers of hotels dispassionately discuss such incidents or allow hotel guests who sexually abuse hotel housekeepers get away with it?  

Ghanaian hotel housekeepers may not feel that they should report such incidents. They may be embarrassed to talk about it or are afraid to lose their jobs. Unfortunately, others misunderstand the hotel mantra, the guest is always right, and assume that management tolerates such misbehavior.

Abused guestroom. Some guests leave their rooms in a real mess, almost destroying them by the time they are checking out. While working at the front desk of a hotel here in Ghana, I worked with a group list and a list of individuals who had been blacklisted for abusing their rooms.

For the housekeeper who has to clean the room(s), it can be a nightmare as well as taking much longer to have the room cleaned up. How should hotel managers handle these matters in Ghana?

Perhaps now you understand why you need to put in a special word  for the housekeeper who practices good housekeeping. Ayee-koo!

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