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How technology can improve housekeeping operations

Executive housekeepers of famed hotels in Bengaluru discussed how tech-driven housekeeping operational techniques like using RFID tagged linens, etc, has helped them save costs, ensuring higher efficiency. By EFH Staff

On the last day of EF&H Expo Bengaluru 2019, housekeeping experts including Jharana Pandya, EHK, JW Marriott Hotel Bengaluru; Ramakrishna Chintala, EHK, Conrad Bengaluru; Susan Varghese, EHK, The Zuri Whitefield, Bengaluru and Nishant Saxena, EHK, Gokulam Grand Hotel & Spa – a Preferred Hotels & Resort Group member, spoke about how technology has slowly made its way into housekeeping operations too. However, the panelists agreed that housekeeping has always been and in the long run will remain a human-driven job, for personalised guest services can only be delivered by humans.

Susan Varghese

Starting the panel discussion, Pandya stated, “At Marriott, we have the GXP – Guest Experience Portal to which all associates have access to the various guest requests such as a hard mattress or anything else – everything is taken care of with a personalised note. Hence technology is helping in making housekeeping operations more personalised.”
Chintala spoke about how over the past 17-18 years, a lot has changed in terms of technology in hospitality. Technology is definitely helping the hotels in easing operations. “Considering the world, we are catching up a lot. Optikeeper is real-time information providing app which could reduce the work while increasing efficiency,” he added. Saxena said that technology helps them communicate with their guests with much more ease thus making housekeeping operations more efficient. Varghese pointed out that technology is helping housekeeping, but both tech and human touch are required in housekeeping operations to keep it seamless.

Jharna Pandya

“Technology alone will not help. Technology has improved over the past years in order to collect the guest’s data about their likes and dislikes and it is improving in accuracy with time,” added Varghese.
When queried about the trend of using robotics in driving housekeeping operations, Pandya replied that in Sheraton hotels abroad, robots are usually used for the housekeeping operations but in India, the infrastructural issues actually curb their application here. Furthermore, she feels that robotics is still far-fetched in housekeeping because a human housekeeper has a better connect with the guests and not robots. Chintala agreed with Pandya reiterating that personalised touch has to be there in housekeeping operations.

Nishant Saxena

Moving ahead, the panelists voiced their views on the new innovative tech additions that have advanced the monotonous work of housekeeping like manually counting the linens, etc. Chintala informed that there is an app already for inventory management. Pandya positively said that RFID tagged linens have given good results, to which Chintala added, “Yes, rotations are recorded and quality is maintained with the use of RFID tagged linens.”

“RFID tagged linens help us to do the count quicker and also tracking quality, etc, becomes easier and transparent,” reiterated Saxena. Likewise, Varghese too said that RFID tags help in knowing the life of the linen, misuse or theft.

Housekeeping as a career
Housekeeping as a career is a demanding job and often includes long hours and manually driven tasks including refreshing the guest rooms, board rooms, meeting places, etc. Hence, until now, not many aspired to get into housekeeping operations, but the trend h

Ramakrishna Chintala

as turned its course and now more and more people are passionate to take it up as their long-term career, opined the panelists. Jharana informed that with the use of technology, as it cuts the monotonous work, the associates are now wanting to join the department and are also going an extra mile to do the job. Chintala mentioned that growing up the ranks is time-consuming in other departments of a hotel, however, that is not the case in the housekeeping department.
Varghese said that it depends on the likes and dislikes of people, whether to join housekeeping or not. “Unless you have a passion for housekeeping, it is difficult for you. It is a long-going learning process which never ends. We still find staff who are passionate about housekeeping,” she added.
Interestingly, to bridge the gap between institute training and onsite job profile of a housekeeper for the aspiring students, Saxena explained, “Being a part of iPHA, we have got PHA Yuva, wherein the aspiring students get to know what actually goes into housekeeping, which is imparting of practical knowledge on the sidelines of studies. We are associated with various colleges and their students having discussions about housekeeping operations. It was a cumbersome process earlier, but now it is easy and we are promoting it more for the students. If we create more awareness, it will be better for us.”

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