Bob Cotton OBE, has spent a lifetime in the hospitality industry and is a member of P&G Professional’s Expert Advisory Council.
New research commissioned by P&G ProfessionalTM (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 walk out, followed by a disgusting bathroom (69%) or a smelly room (65%).
I am constantly reading reports on the importance of cleanliness in hotels. The evidence is overwhelming. Guests demand and expect a clean bed, particularly when it comes to their linen, a spotless toilet and bathroom and a high level of general cleanliness in their room.
Why is this happening and what can be done about it? In my experience many of the problems in this area relate to the people we are employing. Have they been sufficiently trained? Are they properly supervised and managed? Do they have sufficient time to spend cleaning each room? And do they have the correct materials and equipment to do so? Investment in professional cleaning products, that are simple, trusted and effective, like those in the P&G Professional range, deliver quality results quickly.
These are all management issues and must be addressed.
Just as important is setting up a proper monitoring system. How often are complaints being made, how quickly are they being addressed, and are the number of issues reported gradually reducing as a result of your improvement efforts?
As part of this process, I would advocate regular mystery hotel guest visits, tasking them with staying one night a month and submitting a comprehensive report for management. Housekeepers and hotel managers should sleep in their hotel as often as possible to understand the guest experience. And it’s not about reserving the special suites for themselves – they should stay in all types of rooms available.
Above all else, remember the importance of key front line staff on whom we depend to deliver high standards of cleanliness. Recruit the best, train, develop and motivate them to encourage retention and ensure a reduction in cleaner “churn”. Instilling confidence in employees helps improve efficiency, productivity and loyalty. Simple to use products like those in the P&G Professional range include clear instructions with icons and symbols to streamline training to help ensure they are used correctly. With proper training and the right equipment and products, employees can complete their job in less time, with less elbow grease. Tools like these help give lower skilled employees the ability to do a great job, which can improve their capability to complete daily tasks impeccably first time, every time.
The financial success and reputation of a hotel depends on these vital staff members. Give them the respect and attention they deserve and your hotel will flourish. Those who ignore this advice will fail and ultimately close -sadly, no more than they deserve.