It isn’t visible to the naked eye, but it does exist: The straight line between the strength of your housekeeping training and guest satisfaction. Housekeeping staff may not interact directly with guests much, but the work they do can mean the difference between creating a loyal guest for life or a dissatisfied reviewer who gives you the dreaded one star for cleanliness online.
Staff across your operation have a role to play in the overall guest experience, and housekeeping perhaps more than anyone. Strong training, backed by a comprehensive hospitality training manual and hotel housekeeping checklist, ensures that you’re consistently building a winning, customer-focused team.
Still waiting for evidence of that invisible line? Keep reading to find out how better housekeeping training can lead to better guest satisfaction.
Hire for Hospitality
Restauranteur Danny Meyer, founder of the international chain Shake Shack and other award-winning restaurants, is renown as a customer service guru. The staff at his properties, from the high-end to the burger joint, have a reputation for creating exceptional dining experiences.
When they’re hiring, Meyer and his managers look for what they call an employee’s “hospitality quotient,” six qualities that help them create “true hospitality.” It’s worth keeping these in mind when you’re making your own hospitality hires.
The six traits are:
- Optimistic warmth
- Work ethic
Make Your Training Manual a Page-Turner
You’ve got great new hires, and once your new staff orientation is over – you are providing orientation, aren’t you? – your hospitality training manual provides a tangible reminder about how your property operates.
Pack your manual full of frequently asked questions that you’ve gathered from existing staff, checklists for routine tasks and fun facts about your property and surrounding area to keep staff engaged, informed and even a little entertained.
If you partner with a hotel linen laundry service, your manual is also the place to detail how that relationship works, any special instructions from your provider and the steps for successful pickup and delivery.
Perhaps most importantly, your orientation and manual are the chance to drive home your customer service philosophy. If you want your property and your staff to be known for going above and beyond, your staff needs clear direction on how guests are to be greeted and treated when they’re onsite.
Thoughtful hiring will provide you with great people, and the training will help to bring out their best.
Don’t Just Tell the How, Provide the Why
Your hotel housekeeping checklist should be as detailed as possible, with illustrations of guest room layouts and easy-to-follow instructions.
In addition to the tactical information about making up rooms and good par level management, also include context for every step of the process – the why and not just the how. Stress that the work they do in turning rooms has a direct impact on guests and guest satisfaction.
Work that’s hurriedly done or lacks the proper care or attention not only affects the quality of a guest’s stay, it negatively impacts their opinion of your property. Your checklist, then, isn’t just a list of tasks, it’s a way to build, in staff’s minds, the invisible line between what they do and how your guests feel.
Training Holds the Key to a Good Night’s Sleep
It may sound like a stretch, but good training in housekeeping can lead to better sleep for your guests and better guest satisfaction overall.
You’ve likely invested wisely in your hotel linen supply, researching the best manufacturers and fibers, looking for both luxury and durability. To get the most from that investment and to ensure your luxury hotel bedding stays both soft and strong for its full lifecycle, your staff need to be well-trained on proper care.
If you have an on property laundry, the commercial laundry machines that care for your linens should be easy for staff to use and maintain, cutting down on the required training.
For both OPL operations and for properties that outsource their laundry, housekeeping training should include:
- How to spot heavily soiled materials
- The process for setting aside soiled materials for special treatment
- Details on how to conduct regular checks of equipment to make sure there are no loose or greasy parts that may snag or stain linens
Hold Up Your End of the Bargain
Once you’ve set clear expectations for housekeeping staff about the tactical and customer-driven parts of their jobs, they’ve entered into a pact of sorts with you: You’ll both do whatever you can to ensure guest satisfaction.
Effective training is one part of the pact for you, but there are ongoing activities and approaches you should also build into your management routines.
Management’s role includes:
Being mindful of par level management: You should always be aware of how many pars you need to operate at full capacity and consistently have them on hand to reduce stress on staff, guests and your linens. The recommended par level is four: one in the guest room + one in storage + one being removed from a guest room + one in the laundry.
Providing the right tools for each job: Your housekeeping staff are resourceful people, and if you don’t give them the tools they need – from cleaning rags to buckets – they may turn to your guest towels and other items to get the job done. Consistently giving them adequate resources means you won’t put your linens or guests at risk.
Making training an ongoing activity: While it’s important to train new staff as they come on board, training shouldn’t be a one-time event. All staff will benefit from ongoing training, and there will always be issues that a training refresher can address.
If you outsource to a commercial laundry service, have a representative come in periodically to talk to staff about any issues they notice or to answer questions. Keeping the lines of communication open will also keep the information fresh in everyone’s minds.
Better Training, Happier Guests
Your housekeeping training isn’t just about preparing staff to perform their jobs, it’s about equipping them with the tools they need to create exceptional guest experiences.
Whether it’s as hands-on as how to store linens or as from-the-heart as directing guest interactions, your training should provide staff – and therefore guests – the full package.