Challenges Facing Housekeeping Managers Today

Published on January 17, 2019

Housekeeping is the forgotten hero in the hotel, they are key. Click To Tweet They ensure rooms are clean, well presented and that details are not forgotten. In the age of online reviews and Instagram, everyone visiting must have the best possible experience. Returning clients and personal recommendation are key to growing and maintaining a business, your housekeeping staff are precious jewels.

Typically managers see challenges in reputation, health, and safety, recruitment and retention of staff, environmental sustainability and security. All of these areas can be address through training your staff so that they have the necessary skills to succeed.

Hotel Reputation

A positive experience creates loyalty and repeat customers. A happy customer will talk about that experience and recommend you. Unfortunately, this is also true for someone who has a negative experience they are likely to talk about you to their social network too. With digital social media, one person’s influence can now be really surprisingly wide-reaching, so it is extremely important that housekeeping is at the top of their game.

Thoroughly training your staff, demonstrating to them how they should be cleaning and giving them a chance to practice with support.

Ensuring everyone has the same training and understanding is vital, starting with the basics. This will ensure standards are kept high. It should not matter who it is servicing a room or area, every guest should have the best possible experience. Supporting your team with clear procedures and standards will enable them to consistently provide guests with great service.

Health and Safety

Housekeeping is an area where members of staff are performing physical tasks continuously. They have great stamina, but are physically lifting, making beds, moving furniture.

In 2016 30.8 million working days were lost in the UK alone due to musculoskeletal problems including back pain, neck, and upper limb problems according to a report from the Office of National Statistics (ONS). Mix lifting in with the fact that housekeeping staff are using cleaning products continually any number of which used incorrectly can be dangerous and hazardous, health and safety can feel like a giant headache.

Training your staff to lift correctly and carry out tasks in the best possible manner will help prevent injury, repetitive strain and pain. Prevention is always better than a cure, if your staff are correctly trained then you will have less injuries, fewer absences from work and a happy healthy workforce.

Evaluating all the tasks carried out by housekeepers you can minimise risks through simple things such as rearranging cupboards and storage. Reducing the distance things need to be carried or the height at which they are stored. Smart thinking may be all that is needed alongside staff who are trained and have an understanding of why they are doing that way, safe guarding themselves.

Understanding clearly how to use the cleaning products provided, what quantities they should be used in, for which tasks and any precautions that should be taken when using them. By including this knowledge in your training you can dramatically reduce accidents, spillages, and injuries. Knowledge is power and by training your staff you are giving them the power to protect themselves and each other.

Recruitment and Retention of Staff

Your housekeeping staff is important. Without them, bathrooms don’t get cleaned, beds aren’t changed. They are precious jewels and investing in retaining them is vital.

  • Ensuring you have a clear plan of progression for staff can really help. Understanding where you are heading and achieving milestones along the way can be highly motivational to people.
  • Investing in training your staff regularly and providing new training relevant to that progression is important. Staff turnover can be high so ensuring your staff feel valued and have pride in their work will help in the retention of staff.
  • Providing a positive team working environment where staff understand their value and importance within the whole organisation will also help.
  • Organisational knowledge should be a part of basic induction training along with company values.

Interviewing new staff for a position can seem a daunting task for someone who has no guidance. Managers should be trained and supported in the process to ensure they can spot the best candidates for their team. Managing a team does not always come naturally either, creating a strong team environment is vital so investing in training for the management team will pay dividends too.

Environmental Sustainability

You can not fail to notice the signs in the majority of hotel bathrooms asking you to leave the towels you would like changed on the floor and those you are happy to reuse on the rail. As we move forward into a more environmentally conscience world where single-use plastic is frowned upon and we are more aware of the chemicals we are putting into the environmental sustainability becomes ever more important.

Training your staff to clean with the least amount of product and showing them how to get the best from an environmentally friendly product will ensure any changes you make do not impact on standards of cleanliness experienced by a guest.

If you are looking to bring in new protocols such as signs guests can place on the bed if they wish the linen to be changed more frequently than normal everyone should be thoroughly briefed and trained.

All housekeeping staff should know where in the room the sign should be left for the guest to see at the start of their stay, where it should be placed during the stay and where it should be placed after a linen change request has been made. This will ensure signs are not lost too frequently with a need to be replaced or a guest is frustrated when their linen is not changed because they could not locate the sign.


Housekeeping staff are the eyes and ears of the hotel, often they are witness to guests most personal habits and discretion is key. Equally, it is important to train housekeeping staff to analyse and flag unusual or suspicious circumstances. They should understand what is suspicious and be confident they know who they should report any concerns to how ever small.


Training is the Divulgence of Knowledge and Knowledge is Power

Knowledge is power and by training your housekeeping staff to be confident and knowledgable in what they do you are powering a whole host of benefits. Keeping them healthy and safe, holding on to your staff long term, helping to make your hotel more environmentally sustainable and safe for everyone. All these things feed into your reputation and if your staff are well trained they will know how to provide the best possible service to all your guests.

Polo & Tweed can offer training tailored to your own hotel’s needs for the whole housekeeping department, for room attendants through to management. We can help you with the development of basic housekeeping procedures and processes all the way through to managing a departmental budget. If you would like help conquering any of the challenges discussed in this article, get in touch now and speak to one of our specialist training advisors.

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