Actabl housekeeping experts Kevin Kelleher and Joanna Stern weigh in on the release of Hotel Effectiveness’ new solution, Housekeeping Optimizer. With over 25 years of housekeeping and hospitality experience between them, we were keen to get their perspective.
Kevin and Joanna are well-versed in the daily complexities and time-consuming processes that impact Housekeeping Managers. Today, we discuss the impact of manual board building on productivity, how the lack of visibility into room cleaning statuses affects other departments in the hotel, and ultimately, how not having the right staff can impact colleague morale and guest satisfaction.
What makes housekeeping management so challenging on a day-to-day basis?
Housekeeping management is incredibly complex. There are many moving pieces, and balancing the hotel's needs with an adequate staffing schedule is challenging. Not to mention that the needs of the hotel are evolving constantly. Often, housekeeping management processes are manual, inflexible, and time-consuming. For example, scheduling systems lack the agility to make real-time adjustments in response to changing needs, which can lead to understaffing or overstaffing. Ultimately, when housekeeping is understaffed, rooms aren't ready when expected, and guest satisfaction suffers. Also, when housekeeping is overstaffed, it negatively impacts the bottom line.
How difficult is it for Housekeeping Managers to accurately plan staffing schedules?
It's not easy at all. There are many moving pieces and things to consider when looking ahead at staffing schedules. Current processes require housekeeping management to gather several pieces of information from different sources. They then use this information to manually calculate what staffing is needed on a given day, which is time-consuming and cumbersome. In addition, if the hotel's needs change, any change means reworking this entire process, which can lead to either having too much or too little staff for the needs of the hotel.
How can Housekeeping Optimizer help to ensure Housekeeping Managers can plan staffing more accurately?
Housekeeping Optimizer’s Inventory Horizon feature will revolutionize how managers approach staffing a hotel's housekeeping department. At its core, the tool offers predictive analytics, which outlines the number of Room Attendants required per shift well in advance – even more than a week out. This is crucial for ensuring that a hotel is neither under-staffed nor over-staffed, optimizing labor costs and positively impacting guest satisfaction.
In situations when a housekeeping department might be short-staffed, the tool becomes invaluable. Rather than making educated guesses or relying on manual calculations, Inventory Horizon provides precise data, helping managers to anticipate needs and adjust plans accordingly.
One of the most powerful features is the real-time adjustability. If there's a sudden influx of guests or an unexpected event that requires additional cleaning or attention, Inventory Horizion allows managers to swiftly make staff adjustments on-the-fly. This kind of agility is transformative in the dynamic environment of hospitality.
What goes into the daily planning of a Room Attendant's workload and tasks?
Building and managing housekeeping boards is time-consuming and tedious. Before a manager can start on a board, they must gather information from multiple sources:
- What staff is available and scheduled?
- Did anyone call out sick? Were they replaced?
- What is the occupancy of the hotel?
- How many checkouts are there?
- How many check-ins?
- How many stayovers?
- How many linen changes are required?
Once they have all the needed information, they have to manually allocate the work of each Room Attendant for the day that morning. They must consider various factors to guarantee that the allocation of cleaning hours is fair and accurate. Factors like room type, number of beds, room sizes, and room locations can all influence the cleaning time required.
Once the board is complete, the board is printed and carried by the Room Attendant throughout the hotel. If the board needs to be altered, the manager must walk the floors to find the Room Attendant and make the change. Situations like unexpected stayovers or a guest requesting specific room features can arise. By the time this information reaches the team, the room might have already been serviced and require another cleaning round. Not to mention, if a Room Attendant calls in sick or doesn’t show up for work, then it is a scramble to redo the whole board-building process.
How can Housekeeping Optimizer impact the board-building processes?
Housekeeping Effectiveness’ Board Builder feature is a game changer. By integrating existing associate schedules, labor plans, and hotel preferences into one platform, Housekeeping Managers can automate the board-building process and save time. Once the boards are built, they can be viewed from anywhere on the Room Attendants app. With the Realtime Rooms feature, any alterations to room priorities, statuses, or specific notes are instantly reflected and accessible in the app.
The room inspection process is another area made harder by manual board building. Without Realtime Rooms, a manager must manually walk the floors to check on room statuses or go to the office to check the PMS, which is time-consuming and inefficient and requires a lot of unnecessary walking and waiting. Realtime Rooms offers managers an instantaneous view of room statuses, enabling them to conduct inspections swiftly and effectively.
Does the inefficiency in housekeeping management procedures affect other departments?
Absolutely. For example, the Front Desk Team lacks direct access to real-time room statuses, necessitating a call to the housekeeping team or a physical check upstairs for updates. This can result in delays for guests, negatively impacting their satisfaction. Furthermore, housekeeping may not be promptly informed of changes in priorities, such as an early arrival of a VIP guest, further complicating the process.
How can Housekeeping Optimizer resolve these challenges?
The Realtime Rooms feature gives teams visibility so that they can accurately predict when a room will become available for a guest. They can also add notes to the boards, which are visible to Room Attendants immediately, making it easier for teams to satisfy guest needs efficiently. Visibility makes the whole operation run smoother.
How can Housekeeping Optimizer as a solution impact staff morale?
Room Attendants can get frustrated because they don’t have accurate information. For example, they don’t know when rooms have checked out and must keep calling the front desk for updates.
With live information from Realtime Rooms, they receive instant updates, bolstering their productivity and giving them greater independence in their tasks. Most Room Attendants are committed to delivering quality work and require an adequate time frame to do so. Having to rush could lead to mistakes that impact performance reviews or, worse, potential injuries. Housekeeping Optimizer's features empower them with enhanced control over their daily operations.
What other features of Hotel Effectiveness can help housekeeping teams?
- Productivity bench-marking. Leaders can use the Housekeeping Optimizer solution to gauge their hotel's performance against industry benchmarks. They can compare their hotel with similar properties to glean actionable insights. They can then harness this information to refine labor standards and elevate hotel performance.
- Monitor Room Attendant Performance: With this solution, managers can evaluate the performance of Room Attendants, such as the average time an attendant takes to clean a room. This provides a comprehensive perspective on their performance, identifying challenges and opportunities for improvement.
- Monitor Overtime: This solution empowers users to identify and analyze overtime trends and their root causes. These insights are essential to minimizing overtime and optimizing efficiency and labor costs.
In summary, according to the experts, The Housekeeping Optimizer solution by Hotel Effectiveness seamlessly simplifies housekeeping management for hotels. Packed with cutting-edge features, this solution streamlines processes for maximum efficiency and time savings, while also improving guest satisfaction. Benefit from automated board building, real-time communication, and heightened transparency. Simplify and enhance your hotel's housekeeping with the Housekeeping Optimizer - request a demo today.
Actabl is the leader in hospitality business intelligence, labor management, and hotel operations management software that provides actionable insights to above-property leaders and on-property leaders. Actabl brings together four powerful hospitality tech solutions to maximize profits for hotel operators. Actabl’s integrated solutions include ProfitSword’s business intelligence technology, Hotel Effectiveness’ complete labor optimization, ALICE’s hotel operations management platform, and Transcendent’s advanced asset management and CapEx. With a global team of 300+ employees boasting over 1,000 years of combined hospitality experience, Actabl serves the technology needs of more than 12,000 properties in hospitality markets around the world.