Hotel Housekeeping – Introduction

I consider housekeeping to be the heart of hotels and it is only when something goes wrong that it is recognized – just like our hearts.
− Sheila Perera FIH Glenmor Manager, Gleneagles Hotel.
The housekeeping department, in any hotel business, contributes to major amount of profit though it is considered as an ancillary service. The simple reason being, a customer demands a clean, tidy, and pleasing ambience.
Housekeeping generates the first impression on a guest’s mind. The housekeeping efforts clearly show how the hotel will take care of its guests.

What is Housekeeping?

Housekeeping means performing all the duties towards cleaning, maintaining orderliness, and running a house or a business property. In case of hotels, the housekeeping duties involve maintaining the hotel to the best possible state in terms of cleanliness, and keeping it at highly desirable ambience.

Objectives of Hotel Housekeeping

The main objectives of hotel housekeeping are −
  • To maintain overall cleanliness of the entire hotel at all times.
  • To perform cleanliness duties most efficiently and effectively.
  • To use good quality, safe cleaning equipment and chemicals.
  • To manage laundry and linen.
  • To control pests.
  • To keep up the hotel with classy interior decoration.
  • To take care of the furniture, fittings, and fixtures of the entire hotel.
To understand the expanse or scope of housekeeping, it is better to understand the divisions of hotel a hotel, first.

Divisions of a Hotel

There are various divisions (or departments) of a hotel. They are given below.

Front Office

It is responsible for guest check-in and check-out, mail and information services, and concierge services such as tour booking, reserving theatre and restaurants, providing airport taxi service, etc.

Food and Beverage

Food and Beverage department is responsible for preparing menus, foods, and managing inventory of food and beverage items. It includes food and beverage preparation and service for restaurant, lounge, coffee shops, bars, parties, and room service.

Uniformed Service Department

It includes parking and door attendants, drivers, porters, and bell attendants.

Housekeeping

Housekeeping includes the duties of keeping the areas of the hotel clean, tidy, hygienic, and pleasant. It also performs the duties pertaining to decoration of hotel premises.

Sales and Marketing

All sales, services, advertising, promotions, and public relations are taken care of by this team.

Security

Security manager and security workers work to keep the property safe and secured from external hazards.

Accounts

It conducts all financial activities like producing bills and receiving payments, computing employees’ compensations and delivering payments. They also carry out the activities such as compiling monthly and annual income statements, depositing and securing cash, and controlling and monitoring assets.

Maintenance

The Maintenance department is responsible for the maintenance of the property. It takes care of repairing furniture and fixtures, and painting the required area. When the hotel is small, these works are contracted from an outside agency.

Engineering and Technology

It is responsible for keeping all of its equipment operational. The duties include maintaining telephone, hotel management software, internet etc. It is also responsible for implementing any new changes required such as upgrading the software and hardware.

Human Resource Department

Human Resource department is responsible for interviewing and recruiting qualified staff to be placed at appropriate positions. They also conduct exit interviews for the employees who wish to quit the work. HRD works to set wages and salaries based on regional market rates and ensures that the hotel business meets safety and health administration standards.
In all these departments, the efforts of housekeeping department are overt. They are directly visible to the guests even before they try food or avail other amenities. Housekeeping creates the first impression about the hotel in the guests’ minds. Hence this department can be said as the heart of the hotel business.

Housekeeping Department Layout in Hotel

The layout of the housekeeping department depends on the total number of Guestrooms, Outlets, and Required Staff. The following areas of the department are the most prominent ones −
  • Office of the Executive Housekeeper − The administrative work of the department is carried out here.
  • Housekeeping Control Desk − It is accessible and operational 24 hours a day. The housekeeping staff reports at the start and end of the shift here. There are notice boards, storage shelves, registers, lost and found cupboard, and key-hanger matrix.
  • Laundry Area − Washing, ironing, dry cleaning, folding of linen and staff uniform takes place here.
  • Linen Room − Here, the linen of the hotel such as bed-sheets, towels, pillow cases, etc., are stored, collected, and carried to the required places in the hotel.
  • Uniform Room − The staff uniforms are collected, stored, and distributed from here.
  • Tailor Room − Here, stitching and repairing of linen and uniforms takes place.
  • Housekeeping Stores − It is a storage area where the cleaning equipment and items, and guest supplies are securely stored.
  • Flower Room − It is an air-conditioned room with worktables, sink and water supply, cupboards to store vases and stones, and a counter.
  • Lost and found − stores all the items left by the guests. It directly communicates with the front office desk, as there the guests tend to first enquire about their lost articles.
Line Store RoomTailor RoomUniform RoomLaundry Room
Corridor
Executive House keeper officeHousekeeping DeskLost and FoundHousekeeping Supplies StoreFlower Room

Housekeeping − Areas of Responsibility

The housekeeping department is responsible to keep the following areas clean and tidy.
  • Guest Rooms
  • Guest Bathrooms
  • Public Areas such as Lobby and Lifts
  • Banquets and Conference Halls
  • Parking Area
  • Sales and Admin Offices
  • Garden
Apart from the cleaning task, the housekeeping is also responsible for handling keys of each floor. In addition, it manages the laundry, which is often at some places considered as a sub-department of housekeeping.

Terms Used in Hotel Housekeeping

Abbreviations Used in Housekeeping

The housekeeping also practices general abbreviations such as As Soon As Possible (ASAP), Not Yet (NY), Follow Up (FU), and For Your Information (FYI), which are also used commonly in the industry.

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