• Cyril McAree

Thoughts On Accommodation

'The work of accommodation is not only garnering much publicity but its importance as a discipline is being recognised', a leading consultant has said.  

Mary Hall of Hallmark Training says that there is no doubt that the current hotel landscape is most challenging.  We are facing into such unknown territory.  Potential guests are afraid to travel, are stressed or are worried lest COVID-19 is lurking in any hotel in which they might stay.  Brands are therefore correct to reassure these guests. The public need to be told what measures the industry is taking to keep their guests and employees safe' .'This is where the newly launched “Hygiene Assured Certificate” merits serious consideration'

Mary Hall says that research also suggests that hotels should pare back on the 'extras' such as pillows-leaving just one pillow per bed space, bed throws, decorative cushions, bathroom amenities etc.' While this will certainly aid room cleaning the question it poses is… at what cost?  Would your typical guest or target market be prepared to pay full price for a trimmed down service?'  Will guests want to stay in a hotel that has eliminated all of life’s little luxuries.  This is the dilemma facing many hoteliers'.


'No doubt many accommodation managers are wondering why it took a pandemic for others to realise their worth.  A quick trawl through the reassurances of the international brands include:


·         Best Western’s Programme of Enhance d Cleaning Standards


·         Hyatt’s Global Care & Cleanliness Commitment to Boost Guest Safety


·         Hilton’s CleanStay –a collaboration with RB & Mayo Clinic


·         Marriott International Elevates Cleanliness Standards

 At a recent international Zoom meeting the suggestions discussed included:


·         Wearing full hazmat gear


·         Separating those staff that clean departure rooms from those that clean occupied/stays


·         Offering a very limited service to staying guests or having occupied rooms serviced only by special request


·         Constant temperature controls of all who enter-guests & staff


·         Segregating staff into small teams who work & eat together in an attempt to reduce mass infection, absenteeism and to aid tracing.


·         Replacing all duvets on departure rooms.


·         Having a designated person

·    sanitising rooms prior to being cleaned


·    stripping all beds & taking to laundry


·    chemically disinfecting all cleaned rooms 


 Whatever decisions are made, cleaning a room thoroughly has never been more important or more costly.  In the past it was possible to clean a typical hotel bedroom to a visually clean standard in 30 minutes minimum.  Larger hotel rooms or hotel suites often demanded much, much more.  Today when we expect everything in that room-all 100 plus touch points, to be not only visually clean but hygienically clean or contaminate free, the demands on time will be greater.  And that’s before any decision is made in relation to the provision of PPE.  Is each item of PPE disposed of after servicing each individual room? This puts a huge onus on each house-assistant and supervisor.  It will change forever how rooms are cleaned and checked.  Supervisors will not be able to micro manage as in the past lest they undo the good work of the cleaning undertaken.  They will however have to ensure that staff:


·         know how important they are to the success of their hotel and to the wider  tourism industry


·         have been given the required training & know what to clean, why and how


·         are provided with all the necessary cleaning materials and equipment in order to comply with all protocols


·         are allocated sufficient time to adhere to & achieve required cleaning standards


Accommodation staff are now to the forefront in facing this pandemic.  They have always been the unsung heroes working in the department that generates the highest profit per euro of sales.  I salute them all as they face their biggest challenge to prepare and welcome guests and assure them of an enjoyable and very safe stay.   




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