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Challenges of outsourcing housekeeping


CH-1 Outsourcing housekeeping

CH-1 Outsourcing housekeeping


The challenge of keeping a mirror finish on the entrance lobby floor so as to have a first and lasting impression on the guests without incurring any extra burden on the already employed and overworked manpower, made the housekeepers look for viable alternatives.

Technical areas like maintenance of marble and granite flooring, carpet and upholstery shampooing, chandelier and glass cleaning (specially for hotels having double insulated windows which are difficult to access for cleaning) and pest management of the entire hotel premises were few of the areas which saw the entry of expert external agencies into the protected world of hotels

1.2Advantages:Some of the facts that worked in favour of outsourcing in housekeeping were:

  • It allowed the housekeepers to concentrate on the core competencies of delivering a well-kept house and keeping the areas maintained as per the standards of the hotel.
  • It allowed a certain level of flexibility of operations in terms of utilising and rotating the manpower to deliver extra on other jobs which needed more attention.
  • Specialised and expert guidance for the maintenance of the areas.
  • Reduced staff problems! Right from recruitment, training, allocation, appraisals, increments to dismissals.

The decision of outsourcing is property specific, but before outsourcing, the executive housekeeper must consider certain key points:

  • Assess what work needs to be done.
  • Assess the workload requirements and prioritising assignments.
  • Prepare a daily, weekly and periodic cleaning schedule for every surface/area.
  • Create frequency charts.
  • Calculate the man hours required for the above frequencies & schedules and the payroll for the same along with other benefits (cost to company of an employee).
  • Calculate the cost of training, equipment and material costs.
  • Obtain bids from different companies either through networking with other hotels who have hired such agencies or through advertising.
  • Check references carefully.
  • For specific tasks such as marble maintenance, the executive housekeeper should ask for a demonstration to measure the company's performance and capabilities.
  • Have preliminary discussions with the companies as to what needs to be done, when, where and how it has to be done.
  • The available manpower with the company (number as well as skill levels).
  • The available equipment with the company and the equipment required to carry out the defined tasks.
  • The coverage of contract with respect to men, materials and machines; clauses for unsatisfactory services rendered and termination of services.
  • In case of cleaning of external glass façade of the hotel, the condition should be put on the company to get the insurance for the staff carrying out the task. Also the company would be liable for safety of the equipment/process being used.
  • Make it clear to the company that all statutory requirements like ESI PF etc. of staff should be taken care of and certificate towards the deposits made should be furnished to the hotel.
  • Both the hotel (executive housekeeper) and the company should reach an agreement as to what the contract would cover before starting with the negotiating process.
  • Ultimately the deciding factor should be 'Value for money' and not the "cost" alone.

1.3Types of outsourcing

Outsourcing in housekeeping is either partial or complete. Partial outsourcing also referred as selective outsourcing, means that the cleanliness, aesthetic upkeep and maintenance of few selected areas or facilities are given to an expert agency that works in tandem with the housekeeping department and receives the directions on the frequencies of cleaning and the standards from the housekeeper. The common areas being:

  • Chandelier cleaning
  • Carpet and upholstery shampooing
  • Floor Maintenance, especially of marble, granite and wood floorings
  • Pest control
  • Laundry
  • Gardening & landscaping


  • Increased security risk as the employees not being screened by the hotel initially
  • Background verification of staff
  • Skilled or unskilled manpower
  • Less control on quality of finished product due to inconsistent performance and lack of disciplinary powers to correct any poor performance
  • Honesty of staff especially when they are being entrusted with the responsibility of cleaning guest rooms wherein they would be having access to guests' luggage as well as any lost and found in departure rooms
  • Motivating the staff as being with an external agency, their increments, bonus, medical costs etc. are to be decided by the agency and not the hotel. So the carrot and the stick policy cannot be employed by the hotel
  • And with all this comes the loyalty of the staff. Needless to say, their loyalties would lie with the person who gives them the salary not with the property where they are working.
  • There is reduced flexibility of operations as the hotel is bound by the contract. So any sort of adjustment or changes is difficult to incorporate. Even if the termination of contract is being considered then too the time factor is important as finding a new contactor at the earliest is a Herculean task at times.

CH-2 Optii Keeper


Technology has brought some relief to the executive housekeepers to monitor guest floor operations. A housekeeping software called The Optii keeper is a housekeeping solution that unites the department to enhance the guest experience while increasing net profits and reducing stress levels in hotels overseas. It is interfaced with PMS of the hotel property. Technology has brought a significant change in efficiency and product quality in the housekeeping department.

2.2 Working of Optii Keeper

Each room attendant and floor supervisor carries a PDA which is connected via wireless technology and interfaced with the hotel PMS system. Room attendants can see in real time the next room to be cleaned and how long it will take. Duration for cleaning is calculated based on the guest and room profile created through ever changing history. Savings in productivity can be made on actual room cleaning times rather than the current inaccurate room credit system. Monthly statistics on average room cleaning time and average quality scores can then be used for focused individual training and counseling. At front office, the dashboard enables front office to see at a glance where the room attendants are and when the rooms will be ready. Integration with the PMS also alerts front office if the room is not going to be ready for the guest’s arrival so quick action can be taken.


Improving room attendant productivity by up to 20 per cent

  • Saves up to 40 per cent of floor supervisor's time
  • Eliminating 80 per cent of phone calls between front office and housekeeping
  • Ongoing optimization of cleaning schedules throughout the day.
  • Allowing a fairly spread workload among housekeeping team members.
  • Improved quality and staff morale.

CH-3Micro fiber


Microfiber has been firmly established in the United States, its use is expanding beyond hospitals, which were the first adopters. Today microfiber is used for a wider variety of cleaning duties and in schools, government buildings, hotels and the food service sector to achieve a greater level of clean. Hospitals embraced the introduction of microfiber cloths and flat mops years ago, having had both the need to control infectious diseases and the resources to invest in new systems and training. When used and cared for properly, microfiber has been successful in controlling the spread of germs and won over cleaning workers in the process. Microfiber has gained momentum in the industry because it is light, reduces risk of worker injury, uses less paper, chemical, water and detergent used during laundering. Also, microfiber is said to have a savings in manpower hours estimated to be 45 percent that of traditional products. Not surprisingly, manufacturers are responding to the growing demand for microfiber products with more innovations in technology, making it even more effective, easier to understand and use and even more affordable. 3.2Expanding Markets

Following its successful inception in health care facilities, other industries have been quick to embrace the technology. In fact, schools have jumped on the microfiber bandwagon. In addition to the health benefits, schools, like hospitals, are also realizing the ergonomic and green benefits — microfiber is lighter weight than traditional products and require little to no chemicals to work effectively. Microfiber supports the push for improved indoor air quality (IAQ) as well, by trapping dust, particulates and allergens better because of its natural static charge. It also can be used, wet or dry, to dust or clean almost any surface, from desktops and countertops to ceiling fixtures, lunch tables and light switches. Ultimately, these benefits will positively impact building occupant health. In recent years, hotels and cruise ships have been plagued by health outbreaks and have turned to advanced cleaning technology as a way to combat it. In addition to preventing illness created by virus and cross contamination, these facilities can use microfiber to effectively address standard cleaning tasks, such as marble or textured tile floors. Microfiber products can also get into the nooks and crannies of non-slip flooring surfaces without scratching them or wearing them down prematurely. Manufacturers also offer deep scrub contour microfiber pads for bonnet cleaners that are effective at cleaning grout lines.

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