Hotel Industry Comes Clean on Cleanliness
Hotel Business Review|January - February 2020
One of the top priorities for general managers and department heads of a hotel is to maintain cleanliness and hygiene, ensuring guest satisfaction in all areas of the property extending from entrances to workout facilities. This enables the property to get positive comments on review sites, which in turn ascertains increase in business. Further, positive customer experiences result in repeat business. Irrespective of the size of your property, it is necessary to maintain a high degree of cleanliness and hygiene – not only in the hotel but also in F&B outlets of the property. Ashok Malkani examines of how the cleanliness and hygiene standards are maintained.
Ashok Malkani

One thing that attracts a customer to Hotels is the fact that, irrespective of them being luxury or economy, they are clean. Extending from the lobby to the rooms they have a stamp of neatness and sparkling cleanliness. New research commissioned by P&G Professional (the away-from-home division of Procter & Gamble), shows 78% of hotel guests believe cleanliness is the most important factor affecting their choice of where to stay. The study reveals dirty bedsheets (71%) are most likely to make a guest walkout, followed by a disgusting bathroom (69%) or a smelly room (65%).

The importance of cleanliness can be gauged from the fact that guests would walk out if they find that the hotel is messy. That is one of the reasons why even the exteriors of the hotels are cleaned at regular intervals.

Whether you are responsible for maintaining a budget hotel or a five-star facility, your task to live up to guests’ expectations should not be underestimated.

Ayesha Sehgal, Executive Housekeeper, Hilton Mumbai International Airport, states, “Cleanliness is one of the key factors for selecting the hotel. Guests check the website and may be lured by the ambiance and décor to book a room. Repeat visits would only happen if the desired cleanliness levels are maintained by the property. With the onset of many contagious and viral diseases, one needs to ensure that the hotel booked is matching the cleaning and sanitation levels. Asthmatic guests are allergic to dust so they would always choose a hotel that is clean. To state an example, linen may look clean but could have germs. So washing it at 80 degrees Celsius would ensure that the linen and towels in the guest room are definitely sanitized.”

Sandeep Naik, Director of Housekeeping, Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel & Lakeside Chalet – Mumbai, Marriott Executive Apartments, declares, “For any traveler, there are a few mandates which they consider prior to traveling to any destination. One of them is the property where they would stay. Digital platforms have become the base for reviews, research, and feedback, it has thus become crucial to maintain the perfect level of hygiene and cleanliness around the property. While the sensory organs are elevated and the first thing that gets activated at any new location, our prime focus is to keep these considerations in mind before planning around the elements in the hotel. A few grounds on which guests check cleanliness standards in a hotel room include the smell of the room and bathroom, the colour of the water, the freshness of the amenities placed.”

Leena Mandal, Executive Housekeeper, The Leela Palace Chennai affirms, “Hygiene and cleanliness is one of the most basic yet the most important expectation of guests at a hotel. Although factors such as price, location, and facilities play a vital role in guests selecting a hotel for a stay, research shows that 4 out of 5 guests cancel their stays due to hygiene and cleanliness issues. Hence, clean and well-maintained rooms, public areas, restaurants, and rest-rooms are rudimentary elements in the process of hotel selection.”

Soma Chowdhary, Executive Housekeeper from Novotel Bengaluru Outer Ring Road adds, “Guests feel extremely comfortable staying in hygienically clean rooms and dining in spotless restaurants. It is extremely important to make guests feel at peace and provide them with a comfortable homely environment.”

Kunal Agawane, Housekeeping Manager, Marriott Pune Chakan, says, “Hygiene and cleanliness is the main criteria for any guest to stay in the hotel. Many luxury hotels have shut down or paid hefty charges for not maintaining the level of hygiene. Having a clean hotel is one of the most important factors in gaining customer loyalty.”

Jerson Fernandes, Executive Chef, Novotel Goa Dona Sylvia Resort, declares, “Cleanliness and hygiene are two key parameters most guests across the globe follow whilst choosing a hotel. These two factors are directly responsible to the wellbeing of guest and staff. If they are not in place it might lead to major health and food hazards.

Yogesh Deshmukh , Housekeeping Manager Hyatt Regency Pune states, “When a guest selects a hotel for his/her stay, cleanliness and hygiene is the topmost priority. Nobody wants to stay in a hotel that is not clean or well maintained. Guests demand and expect a clean bed (particularly when it comes to their linen), a spotless toilet. It is necessary for the restaurants and other public spaces that they use to have a high level of general cleanliness.”

Cleanliness & Hygiene essential in all Segments

To attract guests to their hotel, all segments of accommodation providers – from luxury hotels to wayside inns – have to pay heed to the fact that, for the guests, cleanliness and hygiene are the most important factors affecting selection of accommodation.

Leena disclosed, “In today’s digital age, 67% of guests go through reviews on various platforms before making a reservation; hence, it is imperative for all segments of hotels to maintain the highest standards. Although the cleanliness standards for all hotel segments are similar the practices and maintenance process may vary.

“We, at The Leela Palace Chennai, work with the motto of “Atithi devo bhava” (Guest is god); therefore we create an experience and atmosphere for guests right from the arrival through the entire stay. With signature fragrances in public areas, to clean restrooms with signature amenities, tidy and well-kept guest rooms, laundry services and restaurants we ensure our guest the highest standards. Upkeep of every area is done through standard practices and checklists. We ensure the proper usage of cleaning chemicals, regular carpet dry-cleaning, marble polishing, and systematic deep cleaning of rooms which entails pest-control, cleaning of fixtures, through check of wooden floors and panels. These thorough practices not only help us maintain the hotel but also ensure that guests are provided the best in terms of cleanliness.”

Yogesh states, “Cleanliness and hygiene are the most critical aspects of a hotel, no matter what the size or type is. Cleanliness for our hotel, Hyatt Regency Pune, is the most important aspect for us as a team. Considering the volume of business, the size of the hotel and the clientele, maintaining highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene is a non-deviating standard. The teams are allocated with responsibilities and equipped with required resources to ensure there are no compromises on ensuring a clean and hygienic hotel. Constant checks and regular audits of the areas are put on schedule so that there are stringent controls on the work being done. Not only rooms and the linen, but also the public areas/ guest common areas are maintained properly.”

Sandeep avers, “While the cleanliness standards remain constant across all hotels, the standard varies as per each brand with respect to the brand guidelines that they follow. The inventory of each hotel and the geographical location, in terms of the grading of a city, also plays a major role in terms of the standards it follows. Be it a luxury hotel or a mediocre hotel, the products and the skill-set of the employees hired are also imperative. For instance, Ecolab and Johnson Diversey are key chemicals used in 5-star hotels and primarily this differs from other hotels, varying with the category.”

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