Hoteliers Share Their Opinion On Whether The Post-COVID Era Require A Different Skillset From Housekeepers?
Padraig Gallagher, Director of Rooms, Thompson Nashville
The traditional housekeeping expertise is still very much relevant but with a greater focus on disinfectant and personal protective equipment. The ABC's of housekeeping remain the same such as the attention to detail to ensure each guest room and public area is clean and disinfected for the safety of our associates and guests. Best practices such as the wearing of gloves and cleaning agents have remained the same but with a greater emphasis on disinfecting surfaces and high touch areas such as elevator buttons, door handles and faucets.
We have certainly evolved our skillset in our housekeeping team to adapt to this new way of life. To ensure the safety of both our guests and fellow associates, our housekeepers must wear face masks and more time has been allotted to checked out rooms to allow for a more thorough and detailed cleaning. Each checked out room sits untouched for 24 hours before being cleaned and are left unoccupied for a total of 48 hours. New technology has also been an integral part to the hotel's operations. Examples of new equipment implemented are disinfectant misters being used throughout the hotel, PPE must be disposed of in specially labeled receptacles, and hand sanitizer is placed at all entrances to the hotel, elevator landings and our fitness center.
Nikki Carlson, General Manager, The Kimpton Sawyer
A traditional housekeeping skill set and expertise from housekeepers is still very relevant in today's society with the evolving world of COVID-19 and new and ever-changing cleaning protocols and accountability. Leadership has to continue to adapt in order to ensure our employees are able to be successful in their everyday job. As things are changing in the world daily, leadership has to be more focused and diligent than ever before. We have to be able to create a plan and roll it out to the team of housekeepers, creating an environment that is safe and where feedback is welcomed. It is important to accept accountability measures to ensure a gold standard level of cleaning is consistently maintained, not only for a brand but for the industry overall.
Housekeeping departments are comprised of very hard-working individuals who take a lot of pride in their work and contributions to a hotel as a whole. It would be impossible to run a hotel operation without the housekeeping team working day in and day out to create a clean, safe, and memorable experience for guests. Just like every other industry, we are all faced with new operating challenges that come with COVID-19, but this is a time for us as an industry to evaluate what has worked in the past, and be able to be nimble and flexible to evolving how we operate our business. In the hospitality industry, traditionally we have been slow on the draw to make some critical changes and evolve. For example, as technology evolves so quickly, we often times have a hard time keeping up with the changing needs and wants of consumers. I see this time as an opportunity to be a leading industry that is not looking to eliminate roles but to evolve roles into something greater than they were before.
Pilar Carreon, Front Officer Manager, Banyan Tree Cabo Marques
COVID-19 has made a great impact in all our procedures, especially housekeeping. At Banyan Tree Cabo Marques, we have always given special attention and care to cleanliness measures, so traditional housekeeping expertise is very important. The last few months have taught us that our best practices need to continue to evolve and as a result of that, we've developed new tasks to ensure safety for guests and employees as well.
For example, we have invested in personal protective equipment for all associates including masks and gloves and have implemented an integrated health and wellbeing program that incorporates protocols of assurance and wellbeing standards such as contactless service; rigorous cleaning with EPA-approved and recommended cleaning agents; distancing protocols, among others. We thoroughly sanitize the area after cleaning. Training is incredibly important as well and always part of our procedure to ensure guest's wellbeing and safety. In short, our housekeepers are now more organized and better trained to protect our guests and their own safety.
Luis Quezada, Hygiene Officer, Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas
For us at Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas™, traditional housekeeping expertise is actually more relevant than ever. This new way of life does require a different skillset, but it's the strong foundation in traditional knowledge that allows our team to adapt to the newest processes and procedures.
My role is focused on implementing enhancements to our already stringent procedures as part of Four Seasons enhanced global health and safety program, Lead With Care. Grounded in emotional intelligence, the program builds on the brand's legendary service model and provides behavioural training to our teams, ensuring that empathetic, personalized care and connection are not lost in the absence of close contact and limited face to face interaction.
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