Housekeeping in Hospitality
Housekeeping in the hospitality industry is a service offered by professionals who take responsibility for maintenance and cleaning of hotel facilities. The primary responsibility of housekeepers is to keep the hotel in a presentable manner at all times. A housekeeper’s duties may include cleaning the interior of the rooms, maintaining the kitchen, bed making, organizing the hotel, laundry, and occasional childcare. Housekeeping does not usually depend on specialized education. Other required skills include time management, honesty, tact, and organization. The rest can be acquired through hands-on in service training or instructions that are given at the hotel. For example, hotels offer safety training for all housekeepers. However, acquisition of employees that meet the high standards is getting more difficult. Consequently, hotels are forced to outsource housekeeping services in order to reduce the number of employees needed in the housekeeping departments. Housekeeping departments, therefore, opt to contract other companies or persons who are more specialized in particular functions to perform it.
The areas, which are usually outsourced, are wet management areas which include gym maintenance, swimming pool region, kitchen stewarding, laundry services, façade cleaning, carpet care, horticulture, exterior window cleaning, marble polishing, pest control, public areas, garden maintenance, and floor care. In these areas, there is normally no direct contact with individual guests.
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Advantages of outsourcing of housekeeping
Outsourcing of housekeeping services is beneficial in terms of both staff and equipment costs (Sisodia). Outsourced specialists deliver quality according to the standards required by the hotels; however, they are not enlisted as hotel’s employees like the health department or inspectors. Furthermore, in some areas of hotels, special equipment and skills may be required to perform tasks. However, it is quite expensive venture to hold the special equipment in the hotel’s inventory. Therefore, outsourcing of housekeeping services helps the hotel cut down costs associated with buying and maintaining equipment as well as with providing necessary training on operating machines. For example, pest control requires highly specialized equipment and manpower. When they outsource pest control, the service comes with specialists who have the knowledge and necessary equipment.
Outsourcing is also highly cost effective. It makes better sense for businesses and meets the demand and quality standards at the same time (Sisodia). When hotels outsource, all services are provided up to the standards required. Consequently, they do not have to incur extra costs spent on machinery that is used once in a while. For example, buying of equipment needed for cleaning exterior of windows may not be cost effective for a hotel. This equipment is not needed daily. The hotel cuts down on investment in the machinery that is not frequently used. Outsourcing, therefore, reduces the cost of services needed to keep the hotel in the business.
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Disadvantages of outsourcing of housekeeping
Outsourcing is hugely popular but, it cannot be used in the core areas of housekeeping where service and security are of paramount concern. Such areas include room maintenance, guest room cleaning, laundry and delivery. These services require consistent quality service, dedication, honesty and sincerity (Sisodia). In these sectors, outsourcing is not effective because those from outside do not feel a sense of belonging to the organization and do not render quality services. It is usually difficult for those outsourced to understand the daily routines of the hotels. This is because they are not well versed with the culture and philosophy of the hotel. For example, outsourced housekeepers at times steal from the guests because they do not have knowledge on the terms and conditions of work at the hotels. This can damage the reputation of the hotel.
Contract housekeepers have a lot of issues with handling hotel’s property. Hotels incur a lot of loses at the hands of outsourced housekeepers. Majority of contracted housekeepers do not handle the property of the hotel properly (Sisodia). This is because they perceive jobs at the housekeeping departments as short lived, and there is no need for them to keep an outstanding reputation. For some tasks, hotels prefer developing the in-house staff to undertake operations because it proves to be highly economical and beneficial to the organization in terms of both saving and performance.
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The success of hotels depends on both outsourced specialists and in-house professional team. Together they can succeed in creating and maintaining the desired top notch quality. At the end of the day, it is the top quality service with motivated, trained and intelligent staff, is what matters to keep a hotel on top.