Avoiding the Empty Threat

To those who wash their hands correctly, there can surely be nothing more irritating than an empty product dispenser in the washroom.

Lack of a suitable product – soap, disinfectant or sanitiser – makes it near on impossible to wash your hands effectively. This can increase the risk of spreading infections, either through hand-to-hand contact or by contaminating objects or surfaces that are later touched by other people.

In settings where people are already ill or vulnerable – such as hospitals, care homes or schools – improper hand hygiene can present an added risk to their safety. Illnesses that are little more than an inconvenience to a fit and healthy adult can present greater challenges to people in these settings.

Maintaining product availability is the basis of good hand hygiene. It is imperative that those responsible for looking after dispensers check them regularly to make sure they contain enough of the right product and are working correctly. 

Modern dispensers usually allow a visual check of product levels without touching the unit. The use of product cartridges or pouches ensures empty and full containers can be swapped in just a few seconds. There should be no excuse for a dispenser being empty. 

The latest generation systems such as Diversey’s IntelliCare go further. They issue alerts when they are nearly empty or when their batteries are running low. That allows housekeeping, building care and cleaning teams to respond even more quickly to ensure the continuity of product that helps maintain high levels of compliance.

Refreshing and Sustainable Room Care

Diversey’s updated Room Care Pur-Eco range for hotels includes a complete set of products with EU Ecolabel certification covering all daily cleaning tasks. Devised with help from housekeeping professionals, the range comprises Pur-Eco formulations for daily cleaning that are at least as effective in terms of performance and fragrance as the standard Room Care range used by the majority of large UK and global hotel groups.

The range has been reimagined with the addition of key products designed to enable a full housekeeping solution, including: a lactic acid-based cleaner, disinfectant, descaler and deodoriser in a single ultra-concentrate product for guest bathrooms; heavy-duty ultra-concentrate toilet bowl cleaner that is ideal for hard water areas; Pur-Eco cream cleaner; and grout cleaner for mould and mildew.

Research conducted by Diversey in partnership with Hotelschool the Hague revealed 41 per cent of guests said cleanliness is the most important factor when recommending a hotel. The cleanliness of bathrooms and bedrooms influence guests the most when they form their all-important first impression. The improved Room Care products help housekeeping teams make the right impression and keep these and every critical area of their hotels clean and fresh.

Improved sustainability was another key objective for the reformulated Room Care range. By replacing ready-to-use product with ultra-concentrate pouches in Diversey’s DQFM or Divermite dilution control systems, where water is added at the point of use rather than the place of manufacture, facilities can reduce the amount of plastic used by more than one kilogramme per room and greenhouse gas emissions by more than 90%.

Odour plays a significant role in perceptions of cleanliness and the Room Care range meets this challenge in three major ways. First, innovative formulations with unique active ingredients ensure areas are cleaned and potential sources of odours are removed effectively. Room Care R5 & R5.1 incorporate Diversey’s patented Odour Neutralising Technology (ONT) to break down organic residues and eliminate the food source for bacteria that cause malodours. Second, the choice of two latest-generation fragrances with high levels of perfume allow the hotel to personalise their guests’ experience. Finally, to remove stubborn and lingering odours, the new Good Sense aroma diffuser can remove even the hardest to kill odours like food smells and smoke and refresh a room in just 30 minutes while other rooms are being cleaned. This layered approach to fragrance helps to create the right first impression and remove evidence of previous guests.

The Room Care range also offers excellent cost-in-use through the use of innovative formulations with excellent dilution rates. One case of Room Care R1 Plus Pur-Eco, for example, can produce the equivalent of 200 ready-to-use trigger bottles. This reduces overall costs but also minimises storage, transport and handling burdens. The DQFM system ensures solutions are prepared accurately to reduce wastage and cut costs. Consistent solution preparation also helps ensure cleaning is completed correctly first time, with no need for time-consuming and expensive repeats.

Studies conducted by Diversey with leading major hotel groups suggest Room Care Pur Eco ultra-concentrates used with standard set of TASKI’s Nordic Swan-certified housekeeping tools can, after suitable training, reduce the time spent cleaning a room by one minute in a budget hotel and up to five minutes in a luxury hotel. This makes team members more productive so that they can clean more rooms each day – up to eight hours are saved for every 100 rooms cleaned. Alternatively, housekeepers can use the time saved to focus on additional detail cleaning that is noticed and appreciated by guests.

Diversey supports the new Room Care range with its Guest Training Programme which comprises comprehensive training videos for each housekeeping task with a set of training aids, user guides, wall charts, videos, safety sheets and other documentation. Few, if any, other major suppliers can offer this level of support for their products.

Saving Time & Money for Room Care

Time is money in any business, but hotels face extra pressure to complete housekeeping tasks quickly and efficiently. Minimising the housekeeping period cuts costs, minimises disruption for existing guests and allows new guests to check-in earlier, all of which is good for business.

It’s a general rule of thumb in the industry that a housekeeper will spend around 20 minutes on average cleaning and preparing each room. That’s three rooms an hour or 21 during a normal seven-hour shift.

Studies conducted by Diversey with leading major hotel groups in the UK, France and Malta suggest that adopting ultra-concentrate cleaning products and using them with a standard set of housekeeping tools can, after suitable training, reduce the time spent cleaning a room by between one and five minutes. One minute per room equates to 20 minutes saved each day by a housekeeper responsible for cleaning 20 rooms in their shift. In other words, they save enough time to finish one more room – a five per cent increase in productivity. In Diversey studies, the average increase was even higher at nine per cent.

Every hotel is different but in any given setting the tasks needed to clean each room will be more or less the same. Switching to ultra-concentrates helps because cleaning solutions are prepared quickly, accurately and consistently, which cuts wastage and costs. This also improves cleaning performance which reduces the need for repeat cleaning, which saves more time. Further savings are made by standardising processes and using an integrated set of housekeeping products, tools and equipment. Training is the final part of the jigsaw because the best results are achieved when housekeeping staff know and understand the processes required and the tools they use. In short, processes are simpler and can be completed more quickly.

The one-minute-per-room saving is a significant efficiency boost that can be achieved with no extra effort from the housekeeper and relatively small investment from the hotel that shouldn’t be hard to justify. Clearly, there are even bigger gains to be made if housekeepers can save two, three, four or five minutes a room.

Some hotels may prefer to use the time saved in other ways. Housekeepers can spend the newly freed time on other value-adding tasks, such as further detail cleaning. These little extra details are often noticed by guests as much as the bigger picture. They can make all the difference in the perceptions they form about the hotel and the recommendations and reviews they give. As research from Diversey showed, 41% of hotel guests said that cleanliness was the most important factor when making recommendations.

Reducing Plastics for Room Care

Sustainability has emerged as one of the biggest issues facing society. Hotels are playing their part by making their operations more sustainable and demonstrating progress to their guests. This is important because industry research has shown that three of the biggest sustainability factors that influence guest satisfaction are when the hotel:

  • uses sustainable products and supplies
  • employs water-saving devices in public spaces and guest rooms
  • has a recycling policy

One of the simplest ways to promote sustainability in housekeeping is to replace traditional ready-to-use and bulk chemical products with ultra-concentrates in conjunction with a suitable dosing or dilution control system. With these systems, water is only added at the point of use, rather than the place of manufacture, which leads to a number of sustainability benefits.

For hotels, Diversey offers its ultra-concentrate room care ranges with the Divermite dosing control and DQFM dilution control systems. Products are supplied in self-contained pouches that are placed in a wall-mounted unit. With Divermite, pushing a button on the unit dispenses a predetermined amount of product into a spray bottle or bucket containing water. DQFM mixes the product and water automatically. Each pouch contains more active cleaning product than a similarly sized traditional alternative. Another way of looking at this is that fewer pouches are needed to support a housekeeping team’s weekly, monthly or yearly cleaning requirements.

The first result of this is a reduction in plastics consumption. Depending on the product and system used, ultra-concentrates can reduce packaging material by up to 98% compared to ready-to-use products. One pouch of DQFM ultra-concentrate can replace around 280 ready-to-use products for the same job. This saves over 40kg of plastics that no longer needs to be manufactured, transported, stored or recycled. In a typical hotel using our latest systems, our trials showed that this would save around one kilogramme of plastics per room per year. On top of this there is a 98% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions associated with production and the supply chain.

The second advantage of using ultra-concentrates is cleaning consistency. We found people overuse chemicals by six times the recommended dilution rate when using open ‘glug-glug’ containers. With ultra-concentrates, solutions are prepared simply, quickly and accurately and there is no wastage of water or product, which reduces costs. Preparing solutions to the manufacturer’s specification in this way ensures ideal cleaning performance. There is no need for time-consuming and expensive repeat cleaning if solutions are too weak or additional rinsing and wiping if they are too strong. Water and product consumption is reduced and cleaning is faster and better.

With Diversey’s latest systems all of the packaging is recyclable. That makes it much easier for hotels to adopt a recycling policy and tell their guests about it. Manufacturers are constantly improving designs to make packs easier to recycle. However, recycling is dependent on local infrastructure to collect, sort, and recover packaging materials. These localised limitations mean no manufacturer can guarantee its packaging materials will be recycled everywhere.

All of these benefits are enhanced even further when the product itself is formulated and manufactured to meet the highest sustainability standards. All of our products are designed and manufactured to support improvements in sustainability. This includes making the product safer and simpler to use, reducing the amount of energy or water it consumes, reducing associated CO2 emissions, better packaging design and reduced raw materials use, and the ability to recycle more easily after use.

We were the first commercial cleaning product supplier to sign the voluntary, independently certified AISE Charter for Sustainable Cleaning. This demonstrates high levels of sustainability within our own operations as well as the products we make. Many of our formulations – including our latest products for housekeepers – are certified to international EU Ecolabel sustainability standard.

Manufacturers and hotel groups often work together to devise more sustainable processes. Many are adopting lifecycle thinking into their analysis to help minimise potential negative impacts associated with packaging. This includes utilising sustainability scorecards or similar techniques that identify opportunities to improve packaging during material selection, manufacturing, use, and eventual recycling.

Fragrance Makes a Difference

We naturally associate bad smells with something being wrong. Smell is part of our built-in defence mechanism and there is some evidence it was the first sense developed millions of years ago by the earliest living creatures from which we all evolved. It is hard-wired into our brains so that we can detect and react quickly to potential dangers. But we also associate pleasant fragrances with nice things, perhaps because our senses also adapted to detect safe environments and good sources of food. No wonder we react so positively and negatively to good and bad smells.

But what does this mean for hotels? Well, it’s clear nobody likes a bad smell so if we detect one in a hotel room we might suspect something is wrong. We could think the room wasn’t cleaned properly or that the hotel doesn’t care about its guests. And nobody likes to see any evidence of a previous occupant, even though we know someone else was using the room last night. Those first impressions can be hard to shake off which is why guests tend to give negative recommendations and reviews if they experience an unclean room.

Research conducted by Diversey with Hotelschool the Hague demonstrated this. It revealed 41 per cent of guests said cleanliness is the most important factor when recommending a hotel. The cleanliness of bathrooms and bedrooms influence guests the most when they form their all-important first impression. Reviews and recommendations – and even cleanliness ratings – are now key parts of online travel, tourist and booking sites which means there is a direct link between cleaning and business performance.

Good cleaning and pleasant smells should go hand in hand. And responsible hotels put a lot of time and effort into making sure they do. So what can cause bad smells and what can housekeepers do about it?

The first, and most obvious, is that there are plenty of things to be found in bedrooms and bathrooms that will immediately smell bad to us. No surprise there, which is why regular cleaning carried out properly should be part of the daily housekeeping routine.

The next step is to remove potential sources of bad smells. Organic deposits left uncleaned in bedrooms and bathrooms can be a source of food for bacteria. As they digest and decompose the deposit, the bacteria emit gases containing sulphur or other compounds that our senses interpret as a potential danger. Regular cleaning should remove most but sometimes a little extra help is required. Drains and plug holes can be a particular problem. Diversey has developed special products containing enzymes that break down deposits in a different way so that bacteria have no food source and cannot produce the bad smells. These products can be used diluted for daily cleaning or undiluted for pouring into sinks, drains and urinals.

Other sources of bad smells can include strong foods and tobacco smoke which can linger in rooms, even if guests are not supposed to have them there. The reason our brains interpret some smells as bad is that the shape of the molecules that cause them can lock perfectly into sockets in our noses known as receptors. In fact, all smells are detected like this and it’s the same principle as a hand and glove, two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle or a nut and bolt fitting together. It follows that changing the shape of a smelly molecule should stop our noses from detecting it. Diversey has some clever products that do just this. We call this Odour Neutralising Technology and it’s included in a number of cleaning and hygiene products.

So, after all that cleaning, what about providing the aromas that make a room smell nice and create a great first impression? Cleaning alone is rarely enough so most products contain fragrances which are released as they are used. Suppliers – including Diversey – go to great lengths to get these fragrances right. Many of them work with specialist “fragrance houses” who develop new perfumes. These fragrances need to be strong enough to do the job but not so much as to be overpowering because that would give the wrong effect. Including the right amount of a similar fragrance in different products can produce a layered effect which works well. Recent advances in technology mean that fragrances are released gradually to provide a longer-lasting effect.

Fragrances also need to be the right type. Apparently, our favourite smell is that of freshly baked bread but that’s not really suitable for a hotel room. Instead, oddly enough, we prefer to be reminded of the great outdoors when we stay in hotels – so many products incorporate fragrances that hint at flowers, plants, forests or oceans.