The independent hotel is famed for its luxury offering and quality products, but what the guest does not see is the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to make sure the property is as clean and as tidy as it possibly can be. Customers visit a hotel with a particular idea of the amenities and facilities they want to have access to – high quality is simply expected.
Despite this, it certainly does not go unnoticed if things are sub-par. Hotel guests will find it much easier to remember a dirty bedroom or an untidy lounge area, but if you can nail these things then the guest will remember a perfect stay. Independent hotels are expected to offer a home-away-from home experience and this means that cleaning and housekeeping must be spotless in order to retain visitors and to encourage them to stay again. For a hotelier, the process of cleaning and housekeeping has to be seamless.
To make this process as efficient as possible, throughout the years hoteliers have often preferred to outsource their linen and laundry to get the best possible quality they can. However, it is becoming increasingly popular to wash laundry, or at least some types of laundry, in-house.
While it may seem an expensive outlay at first, bringing your washing in-house could actually save money in the long run, and perhaps even instantly. Debbie Jones, area sales manager at Girbau UK, which rents and sells commercial and industrial laundry equipment says: “Rented laundry equipment can help a hotelier making savings of 20% to 60% from installing a towel laundry,” adding that the investment can be cash-positive from “day one.”
Saving money isn’t the only advantage; bringing your laundry in-house will give you full control over your washing. It allows for you to plan when you want your products to be ready, and if there is a mistake it allows you to rectify the issue quickly with any spare linen held within the hotel, while being able to quickly wash more during the process. Jones says: “As well as 100% control over quality and stock control. You are no longer dependent on a supplier to deliver at the required times and you can plan and operate the laundry flexibly to meet your quality and peak demand requirements.”
If you do decide to go in-house then it should not be a scary process: many companies will give helpful advice and guidance. PHS is an example of a firm which can advise on on-premise laundry, from the capacity of your washers and dryers to the type of detergent you will need to get the best quality wash.
Despite this, there may be some areas of the hotel that hoteliers would prefer to outsource, such as bedlinen which is often outsourced. To get those ‘crisp white sheets’, perhaps one of the most important tenets of a stay, requires expertise and outsourcing is usually the preferred option. Getting bed linen wrong can be catastrophic for a hotelier’s guest return rates.
Spills and accidents are inevitable, whether it is food or drink or a guest treading mud into the hotel lobby carpet – these things simply can’t be avoided. But dealing with them quickly and silently is essential. If mess isn’t cleaned up before the next guess enters the hotel then it will be at the risk of that customer receiving a bad first impression of the property. Colin Stokes, national account manager at Karcher, says: “When unsightly mess is created, particularly front of house, it’s important to respond quickly to prevent staining and to maintain a pleasant appearance.”
It is also important not to disturb your guests with the cleaning process. Cleaning shouldn’t be a noisy and disruptive service, it should merely work in the background behind the daily running of the hotel. Training is an essential part for this process to be seamless. Numatic, which supplies cleaning products to hoteliers, offers training courses to end users on how to use its products efficiently.
Getting good quality cleaning products does not need to be expensive for a hotelier either, whether it is a hoover, mop or steamer, all of these can be purchased for a reasonable price. Justin Binks, managing director of vacuum cleaner supplier Sebo, says: “Cleaning is the most important thing, it is the first thing that a guest notices when they walk into a hotel and its bedrooms. The prices of our products range from around £200 to £500 so it really isn’t a large outlay for a hotelier.”
KEEPING THINGS NEAT
Keeping everywhere tidy is imperative for a boutique hotel and this is no different when it comes to housekeeping. There will be guests walking around who will see the housekeepers in action, so its important that things are done in a professional and tidy manner. This is where housekeeping carts come in handy. Housekeeping carts include various trays, shelves, compartments and pockets which allow for housekeeping to be carried out in an organised and tidy manner. Forbes group offers a tilt and roll housekeeping cart which not only helps keep things neat but also saves space.
Cleaning and housekeeping is often overlooked by the guest, in the sense that they will not always consciously register high standards when they see them. Yet it remains the most important aspect for any hotel. Guests expect the hotel to be spotless and anything below that will only draw complaints and make guest retention near-impossible. Organising your schedule, and making sure that the hotel housekeeping and cleaning is organised in a fast and efficient way will allow you to impress guests and keep their custom, and in return, boost your profits.