The housekeeping experience: How to make your staff shine

I have to admit, I love to travel and enjoy my stays at hotels. I’m not sure if this is a function purely of my wanderlust or, if in some way, I just don’t like cleaning up after myself at home. Either way, I’m on the road a lot. Most business travelers b

I have to admit, I love to travel and enjoy my stays at hotels. I’m not sure if this is a function purely of my wanderlust or, if in some way, I just don’t like cleaning up after myself at home. Either way, I’m on the road a lot. Most business travelers become weary of the process, but the majority of my discomfort comes from the distance between points “A” and “B” and not the destination itself. Once I get to my room, it’s my sanctuary from the rigors of business travel.

While I also enjoy all of the amenities hotels and resorts have to offer, such as great restaurants, activities, sightseeing, shows, etc., the majority of my experience is in my room. Even when not sleeping, I’m working on my laptop or just relaxing and watching television. Since many guests are like me and spend most of their time in their rooms, it is paramount that their experience be “legendary.” But, it can’t stop there. The interaction with the housekeeping staff is just as important, if not more important, than the room’s amenities.

Here are some simple tips that can help make your staff (and rooms) shine:

Room basics
As we all know, a great overall experience goes well beyond the condition and cleanliness of the room, but there are some simple elements to which you must always attend: 
•    No scuff marks on the walls or baseboards
•    All lightbulbs in working order (this is one of my pet peeves and happens a lot)
•    Television channel card and remote present and/or easily found
•    Alarm clock with the correct time displayed
•    Alarm is off (admit it: you’ve been awakened at 5 a.m. too) 
•    Telephone instructions available and easy to find 
•    Closets neat and have a sufficient amount of hangers (eight or more) 
•    Ceiling is free of cobwebs and stains
•    Underneath the bed(s) is free of dust and debris (guests sometimes place items here).

Bathroom basics 
Along with the bedroom area, there are some simple bathroom housekeeping elements to always consider: 
•    Room is free of odors
•    Floor, sink, shower and walls are spotless
•    Lightbulbs all working (again)
•    Ample space for toiletries 
•    Plenty of clean towels, bath tissue and toilet tissue.

I know this all seems obvious, but how many times have just one of these things affected our hotel experience? 

Customer service basics
Housekeepers also are representatives of your hotel. They should follow suggested customer service protocols just like other employees. Some things for housekeeping attendants to remember when interacting with guests include:
•    Acknowledge the guests and look approachable, don’t avoid eye contact and always smile
•    Speak in a clear, audible manner
•    Exhibit a sincere desire to accommodate any guest request
•    Be well groomed with a clean uniform and always wear a nametag
•    Display professional behavior—save eating, drinking and smoking for break time in an area away from guests
•    Be aware of your hotel—know how to give directions to popular areas such as banquet rooms, pool, restaurants, etc.

We may not always think of housekeeping attendants as brand ambassadors, but I interact with them at every hotel in which I stay. Even if it’s just saying “hello” in the hallways, a friendly, helpful and knowledgeable attendant can elevate a guest’s overall experience with a hotel, and none of the above items have a high cost attached to them.

These are all simple, easy and affordable tools for your staff, and most revolve around proper operating procedures and training. I always profess that one of the most effective ways to stand out from the competition is to train everyone to deliver legendary customer service, especially the housekeeping staff.