As the name signifies, house keeping means up keeping of the house. Up keep means keeping a house clean, comfortable, safe. The housekeeping department is responsible for the cleanliness, maintenance of the property. To make the hotel pleasing to the guest, it is the task of housekeeping which has to insure the basic human needs of comforts and security. Thus the personnel efforts of the department makes in giving the guest the desirable room which has a direct bearing on the guest experience and expenditure during their stay
The concept of housekeeping is simplistic but when one considers maintaining a house of several room s and numerous public areas the tasks becomes gigantic. It takes a well organized approach and technical understanding to enable housekeeping to cope with the volume of work. This department is also responsible for every aspects of guest room i.e. to provide all the required guest supplies and materials according to the guest request during their stay.
Generally it looks after three major functions
Different sections in house keeping departments:
Executive Housekeeper's office
An Executive housekeeper has to plan, counsel, brief and meets her subordinates. It should preferably be a glass paneled office so as to give her / him a view of what is happening out side the office. The office should be leaded by a cabin for the secretary who would control movement into the house keeper's office.
Desk control room
This room acts as a nerve system center for coordination and communication with the front office and other departments. The desk control room should have a large notice board to pin up staff schedules and day to day instructions. The desk control room is the point where all staff report for duty and check out at the duty end.
This is the room where current linens are stored for issue and receipt. The room should be large airy and free form heat and humidity. It should have adequate shelves, easily accessible to stack all linen. It should be secured and offer no possibilities of pilferage. The linen room should have a counter, across which the exchange of linen takes place. The room should preferably be adjoining the laundry so as to supply linen to and form the laundry.
Linen room store
This room stores the stock of new linen & cloth materials for uniform, etc. the stock maintained should be enough to replenish the whole hotel at a time. However, these stocks are only touched when the current linen in circulation falls short due to shortage, damage or loss. The room should be cool and dry with ample shelves, generally 6" above the ground.
This room stocks the uniform in urgent use. It is possible that smaller hotel may choose to combine the uniform room with the linen room . a separate uniform room really depends upon the volume of uniforms in circulation. The only difference will be that the uniform room would have adequate hanging facilities as many uniforms are best maintained when hung.
This room is kept for house tailors who attend to the stitching and patch-up work of linen and uniforms. Room is avoided if the mending and the stitching jobs are done in contract basis.
Lost and found section
This section should be small and airy with cupboards to store guest articles lost and may be claimed later.
This should be air conditioned room to keep flowers fresh. The room should have work table, a sink with water supply and all necessary tools required for flower arrangement.
This is an important section under housekeeping which is responsible for cleaning of all fabrics used in hotel. The section should be adjacent to linen room so as to avoid excessive steps. Laundry should ensure the cleanness and drying of all guest clothes, employee uniforms and linen to the best assured standard.
Duties and responsibilities of house-keeping personnel:
• Ensure conformance to policies and procedure as laid dawn by the management.
• Manage staff scheduling as demanded by room occupancy forecasts and the banquet functions.
• Ensure that the staff is properly groomed and correctly uniformed.
• Check all the public areas and rooms and see that the standard of cleanliness is maintained.
• Prepares duty rosters for the staff.
• Co –ordinates with the purchase manager for purchase of linen.
• Co- ordinates with human resources department regarding the recruitment of staff.
• Supervise the staff working under her.
• Training of new recruitment.
• Set up par stock level and sanctions for uniform.
• Reports to the general manager of the hotel regarding the happenings of her department.
• Checks the working of the equipments.
• Hold meetings of the housekeeping staff.
• Prepares polices concerning housekeeping.
Assistant Executive Housekeeper:
• She acts as an executive house keeper on her absence.
• Assists the executive house keeper on daily functions.
• Supervises the staff working under her.
• Helps the house keeper in preparing duty roaster.
• Physically checks the areas to see that they are cleaned up as per the hotel standards.
• Trains the staff working under her.
• Checks the staff working under her.
• Checks the occupancy report.
• Checks the room attendants report.
• Assigns duties to the room attendants.
• Responsible for the cleanliness and the upkeep of the assigned floors.
• Prepares occupancy report.
• Ensures the supply of guest amenities to the rooms.
• Maintains records of all room linen.
• Reports maintenance to the house keeping control desk.
• Handles guest complaints.
Public area supervisor:
• Assigns duties to the house men.
• Responsible for the cleanliness and the upkeep of the public areas.
• Reports for maintenance to the control desk.
• Prepares job order forms.
• Supervises pest control activities.
Control desk supervisor:
• He listens to the guest complaints.
• Prepares house keeping report; a copy of which is sent to the front office.
• Co-ordinates with the maintenance department.
• Prepares job order form.
• Conveys the messages.
• Controls the movement of keys.
• Enters lost and found items.
• Co-ordinates with all the staff of the department.
• Maintains log books in the desk.
Linen room supervisor:
• Controls and checks up the soiled and fresh linen and uniform to and from the linen room.
• Issues linen and uniform to the staff.
• Controls the linen room.
• Checks the linen stock periodically.
• Cleans all the guest room
• Cleans the assigned floors.
• Changes guest linen.
• Fills up day to day guest compliments and supplies.
• In charge of service trolley.
• Helps in preparing occupancy report and room attendant report.
• Replenishes service trolley with guest supplies, delegate linen, etc.
• Reports for maintenance if any
Public area attendants:
• Responsible for cleaning all public areas, outlets & executive office.
• Responsible for all heavy works in housekeeping department.
• Involve in post control activities.
Gardeners are responsible for maintaining all gardens in the hotel.
The department of a hotel charged with cleaning and maintaining rooms and public spaces.
From the time a guest checks-in in a hotel till he checks out, it is the housekeeping department which takes care of the guest by making his / her stay pleasant and comfortable. In general, the housekeeping crew is responsible for the daily cleaning of public area (lobbies, corridors, meeting rooms), private bedrooms and public washrooms. In addition, it handles the laundering of linens and in some instances, guest laundry. Housekeeping also performs a minor security function by providing a “first alert” to potential guest problems while undertaking daily cleaning.
Importance of Housekeeping:
Achieve the maximum efficiency possible in the care and comfort of the guests and in providing support services for the smooth running of the hotel. Every hotel spends a lot of effort in ensuring the quality of beds, mattresses, channel music, TV, air conditioner if applicable, attached bar etc. The comforts must be regularly maintained and should be properly functioning. It is the duty of the housekeeping department to ensure comfort and a welcoming atmosphere to the guests as well as strive to extend courteous, reliable and satisfactory service from staffs of all departments.
2. Cleanliness and Hygiene:
Ensure a high standard of cleanliness and general upkeep in all areas. Clean and well maintained areas and equipments create a favorable impression on the guest. Hygiene is maintained especially in the wash rooms, toilets, pool changing room, health club, etc.
The prime concern of any guest, irrespective of whether rich or poor, common man or celebrity, is privacy. Room windows are provided with curtains. Windows could normally overlook good scenic view, away from the prying eyes of others in the hotel or outside public. Housekeeping staffs ensure the privacy of the guests and they should be trained with proper procedures to enter the room.
4. Safety and Security:
Security is one of the prime concerns of a hotel guest. The housekeeping department staffs should ensure the safety and security of the guests with the help of security services. They should also make sure that fire fighting equipments and emergency alarms are functional at all times. They should also ensure peace, quiet and noise free atmosphere in the area.
Creating a pleasant and classy ambience is also one of the major concerns for a guest. This is not easy and requires a satisfaction and can increase guest’s use of services and frequent visits.
Functions of Housekeeping:
Housekeeping department holds the responsibility of cleaning, maintenance and admirable upkeep of the hotel. The main functions of housekeeping are overall cleanliness, bed making, ensuring maintenance of the building and its infrastructure, laundry, linen management, key control, pest control, safety and security of the guests as well as the infrastructure and interior decoration. All this ensure the ambience and promotes a congenial environment.
The basic function of the housekeeping is explained briefly:
1. Cleaning Rooms and Public Areas
Housekeeping department cleans the rooms and toilets and wash basins in the room. Apart from cleaning the guest rooms, housekeeping department is also responsible for cleaning floor, terraces, elevators, elevator lobbies, corridors of guest floors, floor linen closets, mop and janitor’s closets, service lobbies and service stairways, function rooms, shopping arcade, cabanas, bars, dining rooms, offices, uniform rooms, tailor rooms, upholstery, shops, store rooms and swimming pools. To be concise, the housekeeping department is responsible for the total cleanliness of a hotel.
2. Bed Making
A guest requires a comfortable bed to take rest, relax and enjoy. A bed that is well- made will provide the required comfort. Bed making is a skill that requires to be developed by the housekeeper, as it not only provides comfort to the guest, but also adds to the pleasant ambience of a guest’s room. Guests should not be able to tell if anyone has slept in the room, so a clean environment and perfect bed making is major consideration of this department.
3. Linen Management
One of the important jobs of the Housekeeping Department is clothes and linen management. This involves all functions from purchase of linen to laundering, storage, supplies and to condemnation. In a hotel different types of clothes and linen are used such as the bed sheets, pillow covers, napkins, towels, hand towels, table covers, curtains, cushion covers etc. All of these require regular maintenance.
4. Laundry Services
It is the job of the Housekeeping Department to ensure clean and hygienic washing of all the linen items, and then distributing them to different areas of the hotel. The relationship between the housekeeping and laundry is significant for the smooth functioning of housekeeping services. One of the supporting roles of the laundry is to provide valet services to house guests.
5. Pest Control
Pest Control is another major job of the Housekeeping Department. No matter how clean one keeps the surroundings, one cannot avoid the “uninvited guests” – the pests. It is not only embarrassing but also speaks badly of a hotel where one sees rats, cockroaches, and lizards running around. Therefore, pest control is one of the primary responsibilities of the housekeeping department.
6. Key Control
Key control is one of the major jobs of the housekeeping department. The room keys have to be handled efficiently and safely before and after letting the room.
7. Safety and Security
The Housekeeping Department is responsible for maintaining a peaceful atmosphere in the hotel. If the guests and staff always fear for their safety and the safety of their belongings, the atmosphere will be very tense. Hence the housekeeping department staff should be aware of ways to protect himself and others, especially the guests around him and the property of the hotel from accidents and theft. Several accidents could occur at the place of work. These include fire accidents, falls, wounds, injuries, negligence in handling electrical equipment e t c . It is important for all housekeeping personnel to know about first aid as they could be the first ones on the spot to give immediate attention to a guest and also an employee in trouble.
8. Interior Decoration
Interior decoration is the art of creating a pleasant atmosphere in the living room with the addition of a complex of furnishings, art, and crafts, appropriately combined to achieve a planned result or design. These arts and crafts have to be well maintained by the housekeeping department. Decorating flowers is a creative and stimulating art which often carries a message or theme. Flowers and indoor plants add color and beauty to a room.
9. Room Maintenance
Good housekeeping department is just as responsible for the hotel's maintenance as an engineering department. In an ideal environment, the housekeeping staff and managers should act as the eyes and ears of the engineering department. If damaged or broken items are not reported, they can't be fixed. Proper maintenance will make the perception of cleanliness easier to maintain and reduce guest complaints