Housekeeping: Hygiene Matters
By Venkat Rajagopal Professor, Pacific International Hotel Management School | October 31, 2010
Cleaning is important not only from the point of hygiene but also from the point of safety, security and complying with legislation. Hygiene is an important issue to all kinds of accommodation seekers irrespective of what kind of accommodation they seek. When the accommodation provider continues to ignore hygiene that will meet guest expectations, no guest is going to return back. Key to any successful cleaning programme is the employee should learn about the brand's core value for which they are working. Accommodation providers should conduct regular audit on hygiene and keep staff well trained on what to look on their daily rounds.
Cleanliness, either that of the guest rooms or the surroundings of the hotel may not be an interesting topic among the common man in their day to day discussion. But most of the guests who stay in any form of accommodation are definitely concerned about cleanliness and security. These are the basic services of the housekeeping department when offered to a guest's satisfaction can turn the guest into a repeat and perhaps a loyal guest. Let us not forget that it is the loyal guest who brings revenue to the hotel through repeated business, unlike a dissatisfied guest who never returns to the property again.
Hygiene is an important issue to all kinds of accommodation seekers irrespective of what kind of accommodation they seek. Hence it is important that the managers realise that they must balance between a clean room, technology and the minds of the guests.
In order to get repeat business, and get a fair room tariff it is necessary for the accommodation providers to keep the place clean and tidy. The rooms in a hotel like any other areas are the heart and soul. Unless the room is free from any odour and the furniture and fittings are spotlessly clean the guest will not return back to the hotel. The primary product that a hotel can sell to its guests is a clean guest room and equally a clean bathroom. The routine servicing of a room involves changing linens, thoroughly cleaning bathrooms, removing rubbish ,lightly dusting, and setting up the room for the next day stay over of the guest. Apart from this daily routine of cleaning the rooms also need periodic general or deep cleaning.
According to study conducted for the Dial Corporation by Dr. Bonnie Knutson of Michigan States' School of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management, 1987, that the primary reason for a guest returning or not retuning to a hotel is cleanliness. Statistics shows that 56.2% of the guests who stayed in the economy hotels did not return back because the room was not clean. On the other hand 93.6% of the guests who stayed in the luxury hotels would like to return back to the hotel because the room was clean. When the guest checks in at any hotel one of the things he or she tends to do is to observe how clean the surrounding is and form an opinion about the standard of cleanliness. The guest did not plan that way, it was not intentional but that's the way it happens. Imagine you have been greeted by a friendly porter or a bellboy and you are waiting your turn to register .The luggage is placed on the floor which has gathered mud from the shoes of the previous guests, yet to be cleaned. As you are about to sign the registration form you realize you are resting your elbows on some greasy substance on the counter and when your eyes wander around you find newspapers and magazines scattered around the lobby table with few empty coffee cups and water glasses yet to be cleared, what sort of an image this hotel has created and what standard of cleanliness would you expect when you check into your room?
It does not matter how friendly and efficient the staff of this hotel has been, the moment of truth is the hotel lacks basic standard of cleanliness and hygiene. Definitely this hotel has failed to meet your expected standard of cleanliness and you may never want to return back to this hotel. If the hotel continues to ignore the cleaning standards that will meet guest expectations, no guest is going to return back. Not only the guests are not going to return back thereby resulting in loss of revenue, but also the hotel could be slapped with a notice from the council for not being able to meet the minimum cleanliness and hygiene standards as laid down resulting either paying heavy fine or face closure. At a time when the whole world is reeling under recession what more you need for cash strapped business when a hefty fine or closure will be the final nail in the coffin?