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.