What is hotel housekeeping?

Hotel housekeeping is about presenting a clean, sanitary, and welcoming environment at your hotel, putting your brand’s best foot forward at all times. Nevermind fancy amenities or attractions, you need to ensure your guests feel comfortable first and foremost.

Housekeeping in a hotel essentially comes down to being an invisible task. If a guest never raises a complaint about the condition of their room or their service, then you’ve got your housekeeping right. In a way, housekeeping is about making a guest feel like they’re checking into a room that’s being stayed in for the very first time – it’s ‘their’ room.

This doesn’t just happen – it takes strategy, planning, great execution, and communication. You can’t afford for rooms not to be ready in time, to be under-prepared, or overlooked by mistake.

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Why is hotel housekeeping important?

Hotel housekeeping is important because it can make or break your hotel brand and reputation, eventually your occupancy and revenue.

We’ve all stayed in accommodation where the room… was left in a less than desirable state. Knowing the dissatisfaction of staying in a room that isn’t clean, the condition of your property should be one of your top priorities if you want to experience long term success. In fact, more than 85% of guests cite cleanliness as their main focus when reading reviews.

Slipping up in this respect can pose a real threat to your business. That’s why this blog will try to make sure you have all bases covered. Let’s explore everything you need to know about mastering your housekeeping.

Housekeeping duties and responsibilities

The main responsibility of anyone performing housekeeping duties is to ensure there is no evidence of previous guests, and that every room is completely clean from top to bottom. This includes the room itself, the bathroom, and any wardrobe or storage areas.

Daily housekeeping tasks typically include:

  • Cleaning guest rooms of dirt, dust, marks, stains, smells etc
  • Cleaning and sanitising bathrooms
  • Removing rubbish and debris from rooms
  • Removing dirty towels and linen
  • Removing used amenities
  • Replenishing supplies such as rubbish bags, bar fridge, snacks
  • Making beds, replacing linen and towels
  • Cleaning and tidying common areas such as hallways or entrances
  • Ensuring all extras and add-ons that were included in the booking are ready for the arriving guests

A general routine is to strip the room first, removing anything that is dirty or has been used. No one wants to check-in to a room that has a wet bath towel hanging on the rack!

Next, you should do an inventory check to ensure all items that need replacing are gathered before the next guest arrives. Commonly, you’ll need to replace all the free goodies you have provided in the room as well as towels and linen.

After this you should be ready to clean. Ensure you have all your supplies readied and bring everything into the room together. This will save plenty of time. 

Once the room has been thoroughly cleaned, put all the new items into place. Do a final check to make sure the arriving guest has everything they need and was promised upon their booking.

hotel housekeeping
Hotel housekeeping | Learn more about how a hotel management mobile app can help simplify running your small property

Housekeeping tips and tricks

Strategy is important in all walks of life. Sure people can become successful through luck, but generally it helps to be prepared. Housekeeping is no exception.

You need to know your rooms and amenities inside out to be an efficient housekeeper. You need to know how long it takes to completely turn a room over. This way you can calculate, based on how many rooms you have, how much time each day should be dedicated to housekeeping – and how many people. Once you’ve worked this out, you can set up an effective routine and schedule according to guest check-in/check-out times.

Here are some more general tips and tricks for effective housekeeping:

  • Treat the job as if the guest is visiting your actual home (in some cases they probably are) – having a sense of pride will ensure you or your staff do the best job possible
  • Clean bedroom areas before bathrooms areas to improve overall sanitation
  • Use mattress and/or pillow protectors to prevent costly and time consuming damages
  • Keep up with training and regulations – OH&S is crucial and so is keeping up to professional standards, especially in COVID times
  • Regularly assess processes and time management to maintain a high degree of excellence

Pay close attention to inventory management too – Are there ways you can save time or money when it comes to room supplies? For example, reducing the selection of snacks if most guests seem to prefer particular options over others.

Most of all your housekeeping should be governed by three principles: prioritisation, preparation, and sustainability.

Hotel tips for cleaning, using equipment, and sourcing supplies

It may be obvious but it’s important that you equip yourself with the right tools and supplies. Not all cleaning products are made equal and the same applies to electronics such as vacuum cleaners. To achieve a 5-star experience for your guest, you need to research and test different products to get it perfect. 

You need to consider the gloves you use, the brands and types of cleaners, the deodorisers and air fresheners, vacuums, brooms and dusters, scrubbers, polishers, and even the equipment trolley or cart you use. Understanding what works best may be trial and error but once you have it set you can adjust budgets and plans accordingly.

Here are some more room cleaning tips you may find useful:

  • Let nature help you – open windows and doors before or even during your clean to bring fresh air into the room, removing odours and stopping the smell of chemicals from lingering
  • Don’t forget to vacuum the furniture too!
  • Never skip hard to reach areas – it doesn’t take long for dust to build up or mould to take hold
  • Sanitise all areas, especially items such as phones or remotes that are touched the most
  • Hard floor areas need two cleans – sweeping and mopping
  • Pay special attention to kitchen and bathroom drains, as well as fittings 
  • Always check areas in the bathroom that are not immediately visible – stains and scum don’t take long to spread in wet areas
  • Always dust and clean light fixtures

And never forget to remove all your supplies from the room when you’re done. Guests might raise an eyebrow when finding the room extras include mould killer.

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Hotel housekeeping checklist

  • 85% of guests cite cleanliness as their main focus when reading reviews
  • Make your housekeeping ‘invisible’ to the guest
  • Housekeeping needs to present a clean, sanitary, and welcoming environment
  • A general routine is to strip the room, clean the room, replace supplies, and ready it for the next guest
  • Treat the job as if the guest is visiting your actual home
  • Your housekeeping should be governed by three principles: prioritisation, preparation, and sustainability
  • Pay close attention to inventory management
  • Research and test different products to get it perfect
  • It helps to implement housekeeping software that has the ability to lighten the load with built-in automation
  • The ‘best’ tech products on the market make it fast, simple, and affordable

Hotel housekeeping and scheduling software

Since the constant juggling of numerous tasks can easily overwhelm, it helps to implement a housekeeping solution that has the ability to lighten the load with built-in automation. Being able to forecast factors such as the number of incoming guests or how many staff members are needed for a specific shift, can prove vital in maintaining quality of service. 

Choosing to adopt hotel housekeeping software for your small property is a positive business choice, given half of all negative feedback received by hotels is attributed to the readiness and cleanliness of rooms. It’s also been found that 80% of guests would rather give up the internet for the duration of their trip than stay in a dirty hotel.

The ‘best’ tech products on the market make it fast, simple, and affordable. You want software that prioritises ease of use, the ability to be intuitive, and is able to perform many tasks autonomously.

If you’re already using any or all of a property management system, booking engine, channel manager, payments solution, and now housekeeping software the last thing you want to do is operate these independent of each other. You’d end up spending all your time jumping from dashboard to dashboard to update data. The process would be just as clunky and time-consuming as when you were still using pen and paper or excel spreadsheets to run your business

By Dean Elphick

Dean is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist of Little Hotelier, the all-in-one software solution purpose-built to make the lives of small accommodation providers easier. Dean has made writing and creating content his passion for the entirety of his professional life, which includes more than six years at Little Hotelier. Through content, Dean aims to provide education, inspiration, assistance, and, ultimately, value for small accommodation businesses looking to improve the way they run their operations (and live their life).