While pursuing my hotel management course several years ago, I had the opportunity to carry out a field study on the Rooms Division of Hilton Hotel, Spokane, Washington State, U.S.A ; that was in the 1980’s -room attendants were using hand-held computer devices to communicate to their supervisors! Hotel housekeeping staff still conduct room checks after guests vacate their rooms through hand held Wi-Fi enabled devices to report the status of guestrooms. Computers are now used in hotel housekeeping operations for the following:
- Rooms Management
- Forecasting Guest Room Attendant (GRA) Requirement
- Housekeeping History & GRA Performance
- Stock Control
- Housekeeping Records
- Work Methods
- Planning System
- Energy Saving
Not so for most hotel housekeeping operations in Ghana. One would think that since the development of trends serves to meet guest expectations, enhance service delivery and improve efficiency, the housekeeping department being the largest in virtually all hotel properties, and considering that it is a cost center, not generating revenue, would attract the use of current technologies.
Nevertheless there are other emerging trends and practices in hotels in Ghana which may take a while (snail pace) to be embraced by the industry at large.
Here is a run through some key initiatives in response to particular challenges:
In response to the high utility consumption of hotels which translates into very high bills
- Installation of water recycling mechanisms, water treatment plants, underground wells and/or harvesting rainwater
- Installation of solar energy panels and utilization of energy saving measures at the time of construction
- Usage of CFLs(compact fluorescent light, energy-saving light, andcompact fluorescent tube) rather than incandescent bulbs
- Usage of sensors in plumbing and electrical distribution systems in public rooms
- The preference for showers in the guest rooms over bathtubs
- Reusing waste water from rooms and kitchens after treatment for watering gardens
In response to the promotion of global environmental concerns to be Eco-friendly:
- Waste management(separation at point of collection and better storage)
- Guests being reminded to switch off the lights while leaving their rooms
- Guestrooms being cleaned at the request of guests
- Creating floral arrangements using flowers that have longer lifespan
In response to growing safety and security issues in hotels
- Usage of key cards for swiping (no room number mentioned on card so no security threats in case key is lost)
- Peepholes/door viewers on doors
In response to instant assessment of hotels by social media
- Training of personnel
- Creation and implementation of SOPs(standard operating procedures)
- Outsourcing of façade cleaning, horticulture and pest control
In response to better understanding of sanitation and hygiene practices
- Color coding of dusters and cleaning fabrics
In response to conflict between Food and Beverage and Housekeeping
- Mini bars (refrigerators in rooms) are not filled. Instead the hotel asks the guests what he/she would prefer before their arrival.
It can be embarrassing reading the above and comparing them to current global trends. Unfortunately that is the state of our industry.
This ends my series on hotel housekeeping for the first half of the year. My next series is on the food and beverage department and I am likely to start from the kitchen. Look out for sizzling topics!