Housekeeping technology has an important role to play within hotels because it can assist the housekeeping department with its core tasks, while also allowing the team to improve efficiency and track and report progress. In this article, you can learn all about the latest technology being used within the field of hotel housekeeping.
- What is the Hotel Industry?
- What is the Housekeeping Department?
- The Importance of the Housekeeping Department
- 7 Housekeeping Technologies You Should Know About
- Tips and Tricks for Effective Hotel Housekeeping
What is the Hotel Industry?
Before delving into the topic of housekeeping technology, it can be useful to fully contextualise things by defining precisely what the hotel industry is. This refers to the component of the service industry that centres on guest accommodation and lodgings intended for short-term, overnight stays.
Despite the name, the hotel industry actually encompasses not only hotels, but motels, resorts, hostels, inns, bed and breakfasts, guest houses, and many other forms of temporary accommodation. The main criteria are that the accommodation needs to be short-term and suitable for overnight stays, with guests paying for the service. The hotel industry forms part of the wider travel and tourism industry, which focuses on travel to different locations, as well as the hospitality industry, which focuses on ideas of leisure and customer satisfaction.
For a more in-depth look into the hotel industry, read the “Hotel Industry: Everything You Need to Know About Hotels!” article.
What is the Housekeeping Department?
The housekeeping department of a hotel is responsible for maintaining the cleanliness, tidiness, and maintenance of the hotel, including public indoor spaces, guest rooms, staff areas, and the immediate surroundings. As a department, it is concerned with providing guests and employees alike with a safe, clean, comfortable and appealing environment.
This includes overall hotel upkeep, cleaning surfaces, vacuuming floors, ensuring public spaces are pleasant, and taking steps to remove possible hazards and eliminate health risks. It may also include utilising the right housekeeping technology to carry out necessary tasks, and track progress.
One of the biggest responsibilities of the housekeeping department involves the upkeep of guest rooms within a hotel or similar property. This includes changing sheets, washing sheets and towels, cleaning bathrooms, and replacing complimentary items in the hotel room. Guest rooms should be cleaned not only between stays but also during a guest’s stay. Housekeeping should also keep public bathrooms clean and well-stocked too.
The Importance of the Housekeeping Department
The housekeeping department within a hotel has one of the most important roles, especially when it comes to ensuring the property lives up to customer expectations. In general, hotel guests want to stay in clean, comfortable, aesthetically appealing environments, which are organised in a logical way.
Housekeeping staff are responsible for the overall upkeep of many parts of the hotel, and their work is largely what guests will rely on to form their first impressions and lasting opinions about the hotel itself. The work of the housekeeping team also goes a long way to ensure the property is a safe environment to stay in.
In addition, the housekeeping department needs to keep up with the latest hotel trends. The COVID-19 pandemic was a good example of this, as housekeeping staff needed to adapt to shifts in expectations related to hygiene. The same principle applies to the use of new housekeeping technology and the emergence of new hotel standards.
7 Housekeeping Technologies You Should Know About
The core duties and responsibilities of the housekeeping department are varied, ranging from the restocking of necessary items within hotel rooms, to the provision of sale, clean and visually pleasing environments. In busy hotels, the numerous tasks that need to be carried out can become overwhelming if the right steps are not taken.
One of the ways the burden on housekeeping employees can be reduced is through strategic adoption of the right housekeeping technology. There are many different technology solutions that can help hotels by improving the effectiveness of processes, boosting housekeeping efficiency, or identifying specific customer needs.
Below, you will learn about some of the main solutions that hotel management should know about and invest in.
1. Housekeeping Software
Housekeeping software is one of the most important examples of housekeeping technology within hotels. In most cases, this will form part of a property management system (PMS) or front desk software package.
In general, this software can be used to manage housekeeping activities and monitor the overall progress of the housekeeping team. As an example of this, housekeeping managers can create a list of tasks that need to be completed on a given day, or allocate the responsibility for cleaning specific rooms to individual employees.
Details for individual housekeeping employees can be stored and managed on the software, and this can potentially assist with scheduling and payroll. Beyond this, housekeeping employees may be able to connect to some software solutions via a tablet or mobile device, and this allows for real-time updating of progress.
2. Air Purifier Technology
The quality of air within a hotel has always been an important consideration, and this makes the acquisition of air purifier technology beneficial for business leaders and housekeeping departments.
There are many different air purifiers available, so it is essential to take the time to fully research this housekeeping technology. HEPA filters are likely to be the best option for most hotels, and these purifiers have the ability to remove more than 99 per cent of pollutants and impurities from the air.
With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of air purity within hotels has only increased and guests are now more aware of this issue than ever before. This means that housekeeping departments need to place a greater focus on delivering in this area, and need to invest in high-quality solutions.
3. Housekeeping Technology for Training
Hotels tend to have high levels of employee turnover, and the work can often be seasonal, with the housekeeping department particularly affected. For this reason, the training of new recruits is a major expense within many properties and housekeeping technology that is designed to assist with this can be extremely advantageous.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning, along with facial, speech and motion recognition technology, can all be utilised to make training activities more efficient. When cameras are deployed within training sessions, and when computer systems use this technology, the response to training material can be accurately monitored.
This means, for instance, that training providers can receive real-time feedback on how engaged the audience is, or the levels of confusion that are likely to exist in the room, allowing sessions to be adapted based on the specific needs of employees. Cloud technology, meanwhile, has also made it much easier for hotels to be able to provide digital learning materials, which can be accessed by employees from home, using their own devices.
4. Sustainable Cleaning Products
The issue of sustainability is more important than ever within the hotel industry. As issues surrounding climate change and the use of resources are better understood, travellers are increasingly concerned about ethical tourism. There is also a growing percentage of a hotel’s potential customer base that actively avoids companies that do not behave in a responsible and sustainable way, in order to limit the negative consequences of travel.
This need for sustainability extends to housekeeping technology, as well as hotel technology more generally. Vacuum cleaners should be energy efficient, as should items that housekeeping may be responsible for replacing, such as light bulbs within hotel rooms, and any other items used by or given to guests.
Heating systems and air conditioning should be optimised for energy efficiency too, not only to appeal to guests but also to reduce running costs. Moreover, cleaning products should minimise the use of harmful chemicals, and it can be a sensible idea to limit the use of technology that unnecessarily utilises water and other natural resources.
5. Apps and Voice Control Communication
A growing number of hotels are starting to understand that housekeeping efforts need to be customer-led, rather than business-led. This means the priorities of hotel guests and the priorities of the housekeeping department need to be aligned, and investment in housekeeping technology should be geared towards improving the guest experience.
Apps have the potential to put guests in contact with housekeeping staff in the event that they need new supplies, or want their room to be cleaned. Additionally, smart devices within rooms can potentially be controlled by an app, and housekeeping employees can potentially fix some problems remotely.
Smart speakers and similar devices within rooms allow guests to control aspects of their room using basic voice commands. This same technology can be used to send voice notes to the housekeeping department. Ultimately, this all results in a more inter-connected experience, with housekeeping staff and guests collaborating for the guests’ benefit.
6. Robotic Housekeeping Team
An emerging housekeeping technology that is gaining popularity involves the use of robotics to assist the housekeeping department. This can help to alleviate much of the pressure that is on room attendants and other housekeeping employees, and robots have a number of additional benefits too.
On the more basic end, the use of robotic vacuum cleaners is gaining traction within the hotel industry and among consumers as a whole, allowing for the cleaning of floors to be carried out without human intervention. This technology is only going to improve in the years ahead, as artificial intelligence and machine learning evolve.
However, robotics can potentially go much further than this. Some hotels have already started to experiment with cleaning robots that can carry out a wider range of tasks, and some businesses are starting to use robots for data gathering purposes too. These robots can be used to make more informed decisions about which tasks should be carried out, what the order of priority should be, and when the best time to perform those tasks would be.
7. Artificial Intelligence Use Case
Many of the emerging housekeeping technology solutions rely on artificial intelligence to automate predictable tasks and reduce the burden on employees. The Internet of Things (IoT) and IoT devices can also play a crucial role in helping the housekeeping department to utilise their time effectively too.
For example, one of the biggest problems housekeeping staff often face involves cleaning rooms that are occupied by guests. Housekeeping staff try to time their cleaning routines so that they do not disturb guests while they are in their rooms, but this can often result in trips to rooms where guests are still sleeping.
IoT devices and AI can solve this problem by alerting employees to rooms that are empty. Artificial intelligence can also pick up on wider patterns, helping employees to know the probability of rooms being occupied or empty at any given time. This technology can also anticipate the usage of resources in rooms too, including toiletries.
Aside from the strategic investment and usage of housekeeping technology, there are many other tips and tricks that can assist hotel housekeeping teams with their efforts to provide a pleasant environment for guests. Optimising work in this area can also have a huge bearing on overall guest satisfaction and your hotel’s wider reputation.
Read the “Hotel Housekeeping Guide; Tips and Tricks to Clean Hotel Rooms” article for a complete breakdown of ways to boost the effectiveness of a hotel housekeeping department and ensure you meet the expectations of visitors.
Hotel housekeeping is essential for providing guests with a pleasant and safe environment to stay in, and the effectiveness of housekeeping efforts can make or break guest accommodation businesses. The best hotels will make intelligent use of housekeeping technology to ensure they meet and exceed customer expectations in this area.