Take out the Papers and the Trash

Take out the Papers and the Trash

“Take out the papers and the trash, or you don’t get no spendin’ cash”….timeless lyrics from the Coasters’ song ‘Yakety Yak’.

How often do you as a mom or dad find yourself telling your kids to go clean their room or some other household chore? I’m willing to bet you’ve met with rolled eyes and excuses about how long it will take or even better, the statement ‘I need a bigger allowance’. Next time you get a request for a ‘raise’ by the kids for the chores they do, maybe you can enlighten them with a little wisdom from the hospitality industry.

A room attendant at a regular hotel has one of the toughest jobs in the building. They are assigned, on average, 16 guestrooms to clean. Not only do they have to make the room look brand new (as if no one had been in it just the night before), they are required to deliver on any of a number of hotel, brand or company standards unique to that facility.

For example, a room attendant is given just about 30 minutes to remove the dirty linen, make the beds, disinfect and mop the bathroom, scour the toilet, clean the shower or tub, bring in fresh towels and sheets, make the bed, dust from top to bottom, clean the windows and glass, scrub out the sink, vacuum the entire space and then replenish the soap, shampoo and other supplies. Before she leaves, she freshens up the room, positions the towels, adds the VIP fold to the roll of toilet paper, sets the temperature on the thermostat, and edges around the bed. In order to do all this, she has to pace herself. Not all guests check out first thing in the morning either, so she has to keep an eye on the time or she may cause a delay to the arriving guest who cant get into their room.

By itself, this is hard work but add in the fact that she has no idea who was in the room the night before. The occupants may have been a family of four, could have been a rock star partying all night, or it could have been a businessperson who barely touched the room at all too busy getting in for a meeting. The condition of the room changes with each guest. Then one has to factor in that there are different room types; regular rooms with a king bed, rooms with two queen beds, suites and some with sitting parlors attached.

After cleaning that one room, in thirty minutes, to the highest of standards, she still has 15 more to go. Over the course of an 8 hour day, she may have made between 16 and 32 beds (depending on the room layout) with between 48 and 96 sheets, covered and placed between 64 and 128 pillows, spent hours vacuuming and constantly bending and lifting as she worked her way through the room.

All of this pressure with speed and efficiency is then coupled with the fact that the next guest is right around the corner. It has to look and feel like a brand new room. If she succeeds, she ‘met expectations’ but if she fails, the hotel could suffer a disastrous review online.

Cleaning our home offers a relaxed standard that’s good enough for us, cleaned in as long or as little time as we wish to commit and, if we miss a spot, we can skip it and do it later. That model doesn’t work in hotels. So the next time the kids complain about having to clean, remind them there are folks out there working hard every day with a lot of pressure to get it right. If they can clean their room in the same amount of time and do so to a high standard, then perhaps they reach out to me for a job and we can talk about that ‘allowance’.

  • Mary J Rodriguez
    Posted at 02:44h, 15 December

    The sad thing is, the housekeeping dept. is the least respected in the Hotel industry .

  • Michael Waddell
    Posted at 06:24h, 15 December

    Article is exactly on point. Housekeeping for us is one of the hardest and most fast paced jobs on the property. They also have to manage the washing, trying and folding process of the dirty linen to like new after removing from the guest room. Success is all about the process you use in the guest room. If you can develop a predictable, repeatable process of how you do the clean, then you are less likely to miss anything and get it right first time around. That’s how we roll at Maui Sunseeker and the main reason Anthony did not find fault in our guest rooms. Thanks for sharing the article. I am sending it to the whole staff. Michael

  • Sharon Velthuysen
    Posted at 14:06h, 17 December

    I only wish hotel owners and managers would realize the importance of housekeepers, and that if it wasn’t for us, they wouldn’t have a hotel. how about showing some appreciation by giving us a decent hourly wage.

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