Whether you’re travelling for business or for leisure, when you book a hotel there’s a good chance you book for the location or price, but stay for a good night’s sleep in a comfortable room.
It’s funny that regardless of where a hotel is located or what facilities it offers; the most basic aspect of its business – offering somewhere to relax and sleep while away – makes the biggest difference to guests. A recent study found that sleep quality is still the most important factor in whether you’re able to offer a positive guest experience or not. It’s also why you need to invest in supporting your housekeeping team.
How to help your housekeepers work more efficiently
Providing effective housekeeping services is a challenging prospect. Unless told otherwise, your team has to cover every guest room in the hotel. Once they have access to a room, your team has to create a spotless environment. And with an entire property to get through, they don’t have much time to spend turning down each room ready for new or returning guests.
Thankfully, there are plenty of emerging technologies and innovations that can help your housekeepers work more efficiently. Here are five innovations you should implement in your hotel:
1. Build smarter processes with Management & Mobility
Efficiency is vital to an effective housekeeping operation. Making the most of your time is essential if you want to create the right atmosphere and deliver the highest-standard of guest experience - mobility technology is the way forward.With their smartphones in hand (or even using wearables), your team will have a clear idea of progress wherever they are in the building. They’ll know which guests have checked out and which rooms need new laundry. They’ll know which rooms are already done because they’ll have the ability to tap a button and let other team members know. You’ll even be able to give your guests the option of a digital ‘do not disturb’ sign, with housekeepers automatically updated with which rooms to avoid.
Overall, connecting your team with a Management & Mobility solution is a simple way to drive efficiency across your property. It can certainly save you plenty of time and effort compared to current manual processes.
2. Start building your robotic housekeeping team
Once you’ve streamlined the deployment of your housekeeping teams, you’ll want to make sure they have all the support they need to turn down each room as efficiently as possible. One way you can do this is to give your housekeepers a robotic partner to help them complete their different tasks.
The first step on this journey is to introduce robotic vacuum cleaners. These are growing quickly in popularity across the consumer market but have been slow to see extensive use in many hospitality settings. However, this will change in years to come as effective and intuitive machines designed specially to adapt to hotel environments become available.
These robots will go beyond simple carpet cleaning duties and will be able to gather data on your property that allows you to be proactive in driving a positive guest experience. Want to know where the Wi-Fi dead spots are in your hotel? Or catch instances of mould before they cause a problem? Housekeeping robots will be able to do this and more.
3. Let AI tell you which rooms to turn down
Much of the conversation around artificial intelligence (AI) in hotels and hospitality has been around front-desk activities like digital check-in and chatbots. However, there are also a number of ways that the technology can help your housekeeping teams carry out their duties.
Just imagine how much time each day, or each week, housekeepers spend knocking on doors to check that guests are in or not. Each instance won’t account for much, but once you add it up, it’ll soon look like time better spent on actual housekeeping tasks. This is where AI, backed up by the Internet of Things (IoT), can make a difference.
Smart sensors around the hotel can let your teams know when guests have checked out – linking with your Management & Mobility system to update staff. This cuts down on the time, effort and cost of turning down the rooms across an entire hotel, but that’s not all. You can also use the technology to alert teams to empty room service carts that are ready to be collected or even stay on top of maintenance issues.
4. Connecting with guests through apps and voice control
Improving your housekeeping operations (and the guest experience) isn’t just about putting new tech in the hands of your teams, you have to make it available to guests as well. This is all set to be a natural next step for many hoteliers as the digital aspects of a hotel experience become less of a differentiator and more of an expectation.
Hotels around the world are already introducing features like apps that allow you to check in, check out and access your room via your smartphone. The next step is to make it simple to interact with connected objects around the room (close curtains, switch off lights etc.) or connect to hotel staff at the tap of a button – or, as is likely to happen, using voice commands.
For your housekeeping team, this makes their jobs more collaborative. In making it easier for guests to make requests or ask for help, your teams are able to respond quickly to situations that might otherwise have gone unnoticed or been much more difficult for guests to ask for. There’s a growing market of apps that can connect your guests and your teams, allowing you to deliver a much-improved guest experience.
5. Making laundry more efficient
Laundry might be one of the less exciting additions to this list, but it’s a huge part of housekeeping. Who doesn’t look forward to getting clean bedding and towels when they return to their room? The challenge for hoteliers is find ever-more cost-effective ways to work through huge amounts of laundry.
Much of this effort is focused on machines and detergent. In particular, chemical providers are continually finding new ways to deliver quality wash cycles while using less detergent, less water and at lower temperatures. Not only does this help your housekeeping team keep costs down and maximise their time, it plays a key role in allowing hoteliers to display their sustainability credentials.
Discover the future of housekeeping
Driving high housekeeping standards doesn’t have to be such a challenge. Using the latest technologies and innovations, you can turn the most essential of your operations into an area that really drives positive guest experiences.