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Improving efficiency & Managing costs in pandemic: Minar Aliyar

  • It is well known that the tourism sector has become vital for the success of any economies across the world.  However, since March 2020 the Travel and Hospitality Industry is the hardest hit by the COVID19 Pandemic. Occupancies rates plummeted sharply to historic lows, forcing many hotels to adopt drastic cost cutting measures or cease operations entirely. Now those countries are gradually reopening their borders and resuming tourism opportunities, only hotels who cater to post-pandemic guests needs like contactless services and heightened hygiene service standards will be able to capitalize on this restart.

    Housekeeping in particular has a very essential role in improving the efficiency of services in order to regain back the confidence of the demanding guests. We at Accor came up with the particular ALLSAFE program which was created with recommendations from WHO (World Health Organization) that provides clear guidelines on the actions required in order to ensure our guests that their safety is our priority.

    Considering the Costs Housekeeping efficiency can be improved in several ways however, I have highlighted below the most important ones

    • Hotels will have to consider additional Deep and detailed cleaning in guest rooms and public areas to ensure there is no risk of infection in any manner. When increasing deep cleaning the following points to be noted
    • Determine a plan of action for the deep cleaning hotel guest rooms, meeting areas, restaurants, lobbies, recreational facilities and other Public areas.
    • Hygiene protocols established by the local authorities to be implemented , Hand sanitizers to be installed, frequent cleaning of all high touch areas, etc.
    • Other departments as Front Desk, Engineering to be well communicated when planning housekeeping deep cleaning routines. Proper communication can avoid other costs involved such as room moves, upgrades, service recovery compensations, Etc.
    • It is better to invest in cleaning Apps. which is more efficient in proper reminder of cleaning schedules, record keeping, auditing and avoids manual errors. There is an initial cost involved to install these applications but on the long run is more efficient as there will be savings on additional work force and avoiding heavy penalties from service failures.
    • Educate team members on Standard Operating Procedures and best practices for each of their department so that they are fully aware of what they need to do, and don’t have to react with haste.
    • Make sure all team members are empowered to flag all areas of concern and have a common space to log in necessary information’s.
    • Post pandemic is also a good time to take a look at all the Housekeeping checklist to identify any additional precautionary steps that may need to take place. Clearly document all cleaning processes and its ideal that the approved biocide also be mentioned on the checklist for any future audits by the authorities.
    • Due to bulk purchase and high consumption, creating contracted prices for such items whether individual properties or as a group is ideal cost wise. Some of these items or services include PPE., mandatory external contractor disinfection services for guest rooms or areas occupied by confirmed Positive guests (as per local country laws), local municipality approved Chemicals / Biocides, Etc.
    • Proactively ensuring proper sanitization through out the Hotel to prevent the spread of virus is no exception. At AccorHotels the ALLSAFE program provides the necessary training all staff member needs to undergo and clear tasks involving various departments of the hotel, each area has its own designated daily, weekly and quarterly tasks. This can be easily audited daily using the I-audit Apps. which is implemented in all Accor properties. A particular property cannot operate under the Accor brand unless certified ALLSAFE. It is ideal for all team members to be provided with few additional responsibilities as this is the best way to optimize productivity with the existing manpower resources. Lean Management practices and Outsourcing when possible especially with certain Services, Linen & Manpower is another long-term cost saving solution that can be looked into especially considering the fluctuating occupancy levels and reduced room rates. With outsourcing, there is clearly a grip with spending only on the number of rooms that is occupied.
    • Whether of Green efforts, Loyalty initiatives, or bottom line cost saving measures depending on the property and its star category, rating an Opt-out or On-call service can definitely work in both ways. Offering room cleaning or turndown service upon call minimizing the contact between guests and staff is good for both the safety of the guests and staff members’ as well. The cleaning time for a particular room has increased due to the additional sanitization processes involved, for example the disinfection of all touch point surfaces, Fogging, etc. Guests are also encouraged to stay outside the room while the room is being cleaned to ensure that social distancing norms are not overlooked especially in small standard rooms. As you are reconfiguring the property SOP these adjustment with cleaning measures can be considered provided the guest is also well informed about all the new service measures implemented in place. Instead of daily room cleaning an option of daily room checking by a group of team members designated with their respective areas can be ideal in order to ensure guest requests are delivered daily and maintenances are noted for rectification. The introduction of ancillary services such as additional deep cleaning to generate new revenue in the future.
    • It is also good to have a look at the guest room standard set up considering the time and cost involved in disinfecting or replacing it. For example cost wise it is suggested the removal of all Paper collaterals, Stationery items, Mini bar items, Tea coffee set ups, Bed decorations as Cushions Bolsters Runners and providing them upon request is better than having the unused discarded replaced or sanitized 

    Finally, besides all the efficient cleaning practices It is always recommended to have a proper Contingency plan with all major top management team members involved on steps that need to be taken in case of a major outbreak of the contagious viral disease throughout the hotel property. In this environment, taking early action to gain a precise understanding of the budgets and best business strategy required to manage the extensive operational changes necessary will be absolutely imperative for financial survival. Smart deployment of technology to effectively manage labor will be also critical said Minar Aliyar exclusively to Hoteliers Web.

    About Minar Aliyar:

    Minar Aliyar is a Professional Housekeeper with 18 years of experience with various reputed international 5-star Hotel chain properties. More than a decade of experience working in India, Qatar, Kuwait & U.A.E in individually managing the Housekeeping & Laundry operations successfully comprising teams of diverse nationalities. An expert in Hotels Re branding, Renovation, Refurbishment & Pre - Opening projects.

    AllSafe Officer - Designated safety and hygiene controller (Accor certified individual property specific)

    About ibis Styles Dubai Airport:

    Located in Dubai, 8 km from Grand Mosque, ibis Styles Dubai Airport Hotel has accommodations with a restaurant, free private parking and a garden. Among the facilities at this property are a concierge service and a tour desk, along with free WiFi throughout the property. The property provides a 24-hour front desk, room service and currency exchange for guests.

    The rooms come with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, an electric tea pot, a shower, a hairdryer and a desk. Rooms are complete with a private bathroom equipped with free toiletries, while certain accommodations at the hotel also feature a seating area. All rooms have a closet.

    Continental and buffet breakfast options are available each morning at ibis Styles Dubai Airport Hotel.

    About Grand Mercure Dubai Airport Hotel:

    Set in Dubai, 4.3 mi from Grand Mosque, Grand Mercure Dubai Airport Hotel offers accommodations with a restaurant, free private parking, a fitness center and a terrace. This 4-star hotel offers a kids' club, free extra beds for kids during their stay, a concierge service and free WiFi. The accommodations provide a 24-hour front desk, room service and currency exchange for guests.

    The units come with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a kettle, a shower, a hairdryer and a desk. At the hotel every room includes a wardrobe and a private bathroom.

    Grand Mercure Dubai Airport Hotel offers a continental or American breakfast.

    The accommodations also provide a business center and guests can check the newspapers or use the fax machine and photocopier at Grand Mercure Dubai Airport Hotel.

    Dubai World Trade Center is 5 mi from the hotel, while The Dubai Fountain is 7.5 mi away. The nearest airport is Dubai International Airport, 3.1 mi from Grand Mercure Dubai Airport Hotel.

    About Hoteliers Web:

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