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The Executive


Volume 15

No. 3 PP 322210/00016

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Housekeeper Contents 3 Publishers’ Message

Volume 15 No. 3

42 Accompanying guests who request Allergy-Friendly & Chemical-Free rooms 46 Mindful Employer: A SANE approach to mental illness in the workplace 47 Profiles

5 PEHN News

50 Do your Bed Valances fit perfectly?

6 PHAN News

53 Emotional intelligence retains staff


58 Hilton On The Park Melbourne

1 0 FNPHN News 1 2 International News

63 Why use a steam cleaner? Are your expensive chemicals enough?

1 5 Gain Acceptance Respectfully

67 Stress Management

18 Kicking the bleach habit

68 AHS Hospitality

21 Working in Angola with the Express Support Services

70 Put your Guests’ mind to Rest by using true green products

24 Pest Management Partnerships: Many Hands Make Light Work 27 What have you done to my carpet

72 Bed Bug Barrier Bites Back at Bed Bugs

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74 Product News

30 Check out the Mould (Microbial Contamination in Hotels) 36 Online Learning for Housekeeping: A New Approach

Front Cover:

39 Interview with Jenny Goh: Assistant Director Environmental Services, City of Dreams, Macau

Adbourne Publishing 18/69 Acacia Road Ferntree Gully VIC 3156 PO Box 735, Belgrave, VIC 3160 Editorial Consultant Max Agnew Editorial Contributor Thomas Johnson

ADVERTISING Melbourne: Neil Muir Ph: (03) 9758 1433 Fax: (03) 9758 1432 Email: Adelaide: Robert Spowart Ph: 0488 390 039 Email:

Hilton On The Park Melbourne

Volume 15

No. 3 PP 322210/00016

Production Emily Wallis Tel: (03) 9758 1436 Email:

Marketing Tania Lamanna Tel: (03) 9500 0285 Email:

Administration Robyn Fantin Tel: (03) 9758 1431 Email:

SUBSCRIPTIONS Enquiries: (03) 9758 1431 Fax: (03) 9758 1432 Email:

Adbourne Publishing cannot ensure that the advertisements appearing in The Executive Housekeeper comply absolutely with the Trade Practices Act and other consumer legislation. The responsibility is therefore on the person, company or advertising agency submitting the advertisement(s) for publication. Adbourne Publishing reserves the right to refuse any advertisement without stating the reason. No responsibility is accepted for incorrect information contained in advertisements or editorial. (The editor reserves the right to edit, abridge or otherwise alter articles for publication). All original matter produced in this magazine remains the property of the publisher and cannot be reproduced without authority. The views of the contributors are not necessarily those of the publisher.


| Vol 15 No. 3 |

The Executive Housekeeper

P ublisher ’ s M essage


s 2011 begins to draw towards its final weeks the thoughts of many will include Christmas and family, for some it might also include holidays and getting away for a well-earned break. But housekeeping will still go on, as major hotels continue to provide the best service possible to travellers and holidaymakers throughout this busy period.

Mental illness is something one never knows when it might raise its ugly head, as I discovered myself during this past year. Sane Australia is one of the many support services available. Their Mindful Employer program is an excellent resource for employers confronted with staff having mental health issues. It is an article well worth reading.

For us at Adbourne Publishing it is also a time to reflect on yet another year, and again I must sincerely thank all those talented and experienced names in the hospitality industry and those who service it for their splendid and diverse range of features they penned for our readers in 2011. Special thanks to Liz Lycette, Barbara Sargeant, Col Nation and Dean Minette. We would also like to thank Beth Risinger from IEHA for her assistance and all the State Housekeeping Association Presidents. For others that we came to meet along the way, we thank you for your contributions.

Dianne Vidler, previously with Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, in the middle of moving to Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise, made the effort to write for us again, and Bridget Gardner of Fresh Green Clean made an invaluable contribution with her knowledge. This time she talks about a product everyone knows and uses, bleach.

In this issue we present further diversity in the topics featured, from pest management to mould, the use of steam to stress management. Have you thought much about ‘emotional intelligence?’ You might well after reading Rachel Green’s article talking about the importance of this very subject.


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Sandra Lunn from William Angliss Institute recently returned from Angola where she had a prominent role with the Express Support Services Team, helping to raise the standard of housekeeping in that part of the world, she talks about her recent journey in this issue. Adbourne Publishing extends our best wishes to you all for a happy and healthy Christmas, and above all, a safe one to you all. Regards Neil Muir

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PEHNNews Housekeeper’s Forum on Oaks on Market This inaugural event, had been a great success, a lot of good feedback from attendees. Our thanks to Bridget and Maree for offering their time to educate us, and to the attendees who have supported this event, particularly two gentlemen from Century Inn which came all the way from Traralgon. I must thank Pip Casey from for advertising the event in their newsletter which resulted in reaching and attendance from Regional Victoria. Maree de Bondt – General Manager Human Resources AHS Hospitality (Left) Maree is a Human Resources professional with more than fifteen years in leadership, human resources and organisational development roles. Maree’s experience includes a range of human resources and operational roles in the hospitality industry and the private sector. Maree believes that our people are our best asset. Maree spoke about Bullying and Harassment issues – a topic which we always need to be aware of and ensure to act on when brought up by staff – as Maree points out, our responsibility as leaders, is to do something about stopping it and protecting individuals concerned. She brought up the example of 19-year-old waitress Brodie Panlock and the repercussions of this incident to all involved. You can read more about AHS Hospitality and contact Maree on

Bridget Gardner – Fresh Green Clean Director (Right) Bridget Gardner, director of Fresh Green Clean, is considered by many to be Australia’s leading green clean expert and advocate. Her credibility has been well established for her ability to turn factual and complex information into simple, practical knowledge for all to use. Green Cleaning facts and ideas is a passion of Bridgets’, being very sensitive to a lot of chemicals use in the cleaning of linen and the rooms in hotels. She spoke about what is really green cleaning, the effect of some perfumes in the cleaning chemicals and laundry detergents, cleaning with a micro fibre and, how surprisingly, the cost may actually be quite economical if not the same in the long run. What surprised me is the facts on biodegradable bin liners and the difference between that and a compostable bin liner. You can read more about her on Of course, after all the educational business is over, the fun part, networking and enjoying each others company over coffee and quiches. I have attached some photos to encourage all others to come and join us on our next Function which is the AGM & Charity Event planned for October and the Christmas Party check the website for updates on events:


et on 26th October 2011

Held at the RACV Club on Bourke Stre

Lynabel Carreon, Front Row: Marian Stratford, Jocelyn Ng, ndes Ferna Meena Tamang, Margaret Jenny Trimboli Back Row: Karen Bingham, Christina Pak, ni) (Not in Picture Val Harding & Rashmi Tulsia

THE COMMITTEE 2011 – 2012 Marian Stratford (Crown Metropol) President f) Margaret Fernandes (Radisson Flagstaf Vice President Jocelyn Ng (Metwood) Treasurer Rashmi Tulsiani (AHS) Secretary Christina Pak (BlueStone Personnel) Committee Jenny Trimboli (Alto Hotel) Karen Bingham (Crown Towers) y) Lynabel Carreon (Clarion Suites Gatewa Meena Tamang (Cosmopolitan Hotel) ges) Val Harding (International Interior Ima

nt to come and join the network. bers of the housekeeping departme mem staff e urag enco to like ld wou We se check our website events, news articles, hints and tips plea To know more about us and coming .org or check us on, email us at: info@pehn

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PHAN Events Jul-Oct ‘11 It has been a busy few months for the NSW housekeeping community. Firstly, occupancy and activity has been extremely high over the winter months. It seems that there is no longer a substantial ‘low season’, as they say, no peace for the wicked! PHAN has conducted a number of activities which have been well attended by the membership and supported by our sponsors recently.

Innovative products workshop Christmas in July Party What a night it was! Friday 29th July at the spectacular ShangriLa Hotel, 300 guests from the housekeeping fraternity in Sydney ate, drank and danced the night away! The room was beautifully themed and everybody got into the Xmas spirit with their party frocks and even a visit from Santa. This inaugural bi-annual event was deemed a great success. We were able to charge all attendees only $20 per head because of our ever generous sponsors who should be acknowledged, A.H. Beard, Ecolab, Accommodation Linen, Agserve, I.H.S. Swan Services, Frenkel Textiles, the Pillow Cleaner, Challenger, Concept Amenities, Weatherdon, Sealy, Diversey, Australian Weaving Mills, Sleepmaker and a big thank you to the Shangri-La for their fabulous hospitality. The pictures tell the story.

The Radisson Blu hosted this workshop on 9th September from 4 to 6 pm. There were 3 companies showcasing their products and there was a presentation from a charity that the PHAN membership may be able to assist. Firstly AGSERVE presented the latest technology in the battle against bed bugs. They have patented a mattress and bed base encasement. If you install these encasements you can be assured that if there were bed bugs in you mattress or bed base they cannot get out. Alternatively, if there are bed bugs in the room they cannot infiltrate the mattress or bed base. The next product demonstrated was the CDC 3000 Detector. This innovative product is as it says, a bed bug detector system. This piece of equipment mimics a human body. Bedbugs are attracted to the heat and carbon dioxide given off by a person at rest, the bedbugs enter the detector (which looks like a small briefcase) and become trapped. The device is left in a room overnight and hey voila!, if you have bedbugs in the room there will be evidence in the morning. If you have a complaint from a guest who reports being bitten or if you have had a bed bug episode and you want to check if the room is bed bug free, the CDC 300 Detector will provide you with the evidence you require. SOLUCARE is a company that produces chemicals with a difference. The difference is the way they are packaged. No more heavy 15 or 25 litre containers. The products are provided in a fine powder form, they are packaged to suit the individual container whether it be a 500 ml spray bottle or a 10 litre bucket, just drop in the pre-packaged item. Fantastic way to control your chemical usage and save on storage space and OH&S issues. ODOUR CLEANSE presented an efficient method of removing odours without the use of ozone machines. The system is simple to use, place the sachet in the container provided, add water and leave in the area for an hour or more depending on the extent of the problem. A simple method that does not involve expensive equipment. CLOTHESLINE is a Sydney based charity whose mission is to make a noticeable difference to the lives of the homeless and disadvantaged, men, women and children and improve their comfort, self image and employment prospects. Steve Cowie, the founder of the charity gave a presentation on the activities of the organisation and how Sydney hotels could support their efforts particularly with the donation of linen, toiletries and even furniture. The members who attended seemed very keen to assist this charity in its very noble mission. After the workshop the members adjourned for a sumptuous Chinese banquet at a local restaurant.


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The Executive Housekeeper

PINK Breakfast Once again PHAN were proud to support Breast Cancer Research with 34 attendees at a Pink Breakfast organized by Ziva Lavecky of Ziva Corporate on 19th October. We were treated to a fun packed morning with great food, the obligatory glass of pink champagne and what could be life saving information. Paul Judge, Senior Manager from NSW Industry & Investments to open the proceedings. Paul provided the wonderful venue on the 47th floor of the MLC with spectacular views over the city. Dr Lesley Andrews, Clinical Assistant, Hereditary Cancer Clinic, Prince of Wales Hospital Randwick spoke to us regarding hereditary factors and the fact that fathers blood line should be checked as well as mothers. Shula Endrey-Walder OAM, Founder Gift of Life Australia promoted the use of stem cells and cord blood which can save lives.

The fabulous Professor Mason, School of Medical Sciences, Bosch Institute once again attended and spoke to us on the latest updates on Vitamin D, which is so vital to wellbeing. Small amounts of exposure to the sun are recommended on a regular basis to keep vitamin D at the right level. The function ended with the drawing of the raffle handsomely supported by the Sydney hotels with accommodation, dinners and afternoon teas included in the prizes. We are happy to announce that over $2,100 was raised on the day, a great effort for this much deserving charity. The Christmas season is again upon us and from all of the SEQPHA members we wish you all joy, happiness and good health for 2012.

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The Executive Housekeeper


Libby Sharp | President

onjour to all the Housekeepers, Suppliers and Members from around Australia. Well since our last edition in September we held our Trade show at the Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove, the sun was shining and it was truly an amazing day.

I cannot thank all the Suppliers enough for the effort and support they gave at the Trade Show. We had 30 Exhibitors’ and the Prizes that were donated by these people was amazing. There is a lot of work involved when these Suppliers have a Trade Show, but again they were all smiling and doing a marvellous job, and I personally think that our Association has the most wonderful Suppliers who give so much and it is a pleasure to be associated with them all. We had a very special guest also at the Trade Show, Liz Lycette, who gave a wonderful and very interesting presentation. Again so many raffle prizes and all the money raised went to assist some young cancer sufferers. The evening finished off with a cocktail party, which was a lovely finish to a very successful day. A very big thank you to our wonderful Treasurer Melissa Bent who organised the whole event and as usual did a marvellous job. Last edition I spoke about Keanna who has Leukemia and who was treated to some lovely surprises by our association. Since then we have been helping to put smiles on the faces of Billy, Jesse and Danielle. Danielle is 23 and only has a few months to live, we organised a high tea at the Palazzo Versace for her but she was to ill to attend. Billy who is fourteen has a tumor attached to his heart and unfortunately chemo is not working. Billy had a wish to pat the Tigers at Dreamworld and through our contacts this was arranged, he loved his day at Dreamworld. Our other little friend is Jesse who is thirteen and really sick. Last month his father left and his mother wrote off her car, sadly Jesse passed away this week before we could organise his day at SeaWorld. All our members enjoy helping these people but to see such young people dying is so very sad, and my heart goes out to their families who go through so much also. Our next function on 24th November is Breakfast at Jupiter’s which we are all looking forward to with special guest speaker Sandy Sneddon who works with Leukemia patients. Our beautiful Member Erin Coman from ”Hotel Home” has just become engaged with a romantic sunset proposal. Congratulations Erin, you will make a beautiful bride. Everyone keep your fingers crossed that the Gold Coast gets the bid for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, all the delegates have had a wonderful time and I hope they were impressed as this will be wonderful for the Tourism Industry. A big thank you to all our members for their support given to the Association in 2011. The Christmas season is again upon us and from all of the SEQPHA members we wish you all joy, happiness and good health for 2012.

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FNPHNNews I t’s hard to believe the year is almost over, we’ve had some very enjoyable meetings and events this year. I would like to thank all the committee members for their time and effort:

THE COMMITTEE President Mike Taylor Rae Read Vice President rne Treasurer Jean Laptho n sso Secretary Vlasta Erik Committee Pat Wilson e Kath Kinnan th lmu Hel ren Lau

Most recently, Friday 21st October saw the FNPHN hold a Networking Breakfast Meeting at the Hotel Cairns where we were inspired by our Guest Speaker, Leanne Paird who is a Social Media Specialist. It was a great way to start the day with such an informative presentation by Leanne. Key notes were “ The purpose of business is to create customers” Only two basic functions meet this criteria, Marketing and Innovation. As quoted by Peter Druker and reinforced by Leanne, Marketing and Innovation produce results and it on this note, we should be aware of how important and the impact of these simple few words. Leanne left us with an important message that we, FNPHN, would like to share with all readers.

Mike Taylor | President

Imagine there is a bank account that credits your account each morning with $86,400. It carries over no balance from day to day, every evening the bank deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day. What would you do? Draw out every cent, of course!! Each of us have such a bank…….. It’s called time. Every morning it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off as a lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to a good purpose. It carries over no balance. It allows no overdraft. Each day it opens a new account, each day it burns the remains of the day. If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours, there is no drawing against tomorrow. You must live in the present on todays deposit, invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness and success. The clock is running, make the most of it.

FNPHN wishes everybody a safe & festive season and a prosperous 2012


| Vol 15 No. 3 |

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UK InternationalNews UK Housekeeper Association meeting in May 2011 at the Mayfair Hotel in London


n May 2011 during a trip to the UK, Liz from Liz Lycette and Associates who is an Associate member of UKHA, attended the monthly meeting of the Association at the Mayfair Hotel in Central London. A record 117 members attended and the evening started with a great cocktail party and networking opportunity. Prolet Gale, the Executive Housekeeper of the Hotel and her team, organised a showing of all the renovated rooms as an extra bonus! In the Mayfair’s luxurious private theatre, the group had 3 outstanding speakers. The first was the Mayfair’s Deputy General Manager, Michael Cheung who gave a preview of the Hotel and presented the 3D Kylie show! (Complete with everyone wearing 3D glasses) The 2nd presentation was CLEAN’S presentation on some of the implications to linen distribution and staffing over the eighty days of the London Olympics next summer. Some quick facts and figures on the London Olympics! The Olympic Games is the world’s biggest event and it will run in the UK from 27 July until 12 August 2012. 203 countries will participate making up the 50,000 strong Olympic Family of 18,000 athletes and team officials, 22,000 media. A total of 9 million tickets will be sold. The Paralympic Games take place two weeks later from 29 August until 9 September 2012 with 170 countries participating including 10,000 Paralympic Family; 6,000 athletes and team officials and 4,000 media. 1.4 million tickets will be sold. There will be a 100,000 workforce including volunteers and 4 billion global audience Road closures and restrictions will undoubtedly result in changes to delivery and collection times for linen, this could well result in disruption to normal/revised deliveries (traffic congestion). Flexibility, communication and co-operation between hotels and linen service providers will be crucial. Staff Implications: at the Stratford Olympic Village there will be 16,000 athletes which = 16,000 beds and housekeeping requirements! There will be a huge demand for agency staff, casual staff and experienced staff. So during London’s busiest period, staff will be at a premium. TSA Chief Executive Murray Simpson described the implications of the recent volatility in global commodity prices, particularly


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cotton. Murray works tirelessly on behalf of the industry, representing hotels at government level, and forging strong relationships with related associations like the UKHA and British Hospitality. For more information on Murray and the TSA visit CLEAN who was the major sponsor of the night, is one of the largest privately owned laundry and linen service companies in the UK. The business was founded in 1886 and has four Laundry plants – Maidenhead, Camberley, Reading and Banbury. CLEAN provides a full range of products and services from standard pooled linen rental to bespoke five star rental, and customer owned goods laundry. In addition our specialised workwear and cleanroom facility at Maidenhead offers full garment rental solutions with total traceability to both the pharmaceutical and food preparation industries. CLEAN has recently invested £12m in a new laundry in Camberley which is claimed to be the most energy efficient laundry in Europe.

USA InternationalNews IEHA Hosts Successful 45th Annual Conference


n 16-21 October 2011, the International Executive Housekeepers Association, held its 45th Annual Conference and Convention in conjunction with ISSA/INTERCLEAN® at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, North America.There were more than 250 registered IEHA members in attendance for a week of education, networking and fun! IEHA hosted several successful events throughout the week, including its pre-Convention Boot Camp, which was held on Saturday 15 October and Sunday 16 October. On Sunday evening during the IEHA President’s Welcome Party, Education Foundation Fundraiser and Casino Night, more than $2,700 was raised for the Education Foundation due to registrants’ generous donations! Money donated to the IEHA Education Foundation is utilised to provide more educational opportunities to IEHA’s members. On Monday 17 October and Tuesday 18 October, IEHA offered over 11 hours of continuing education, provided by IEHA’s very own, knowledgeable members, focused around the themes of continuous improvement and effective management practices. On Wednesday 19 October through Friday 21 October, IEHA registrants attended the ISSA/INTERCLEAN trade show at the Las Vegas Convention Center, where they had the opportunity to visit with more than 700 vendors featuring the newest and most innovative products in the cleaning industry!

Award Winners IEHA distributed several awards during its Business Session on Tuesday morning, 18 October. As part of the IEHA Education Foundation Scholarship, nine IEHA members were given complimentary Professional Education Credentialing Programs (PECP) in order for them to earn their designations as a REH or CEH. IEHA also recognised the first two IEHA members to earn

IEHA’s newest designation, the Master REH. To learn more about IEHA’s PECP, the Master’s Program and scholarship programs, please visit In addition, IEHA presented the Superior Chapter Achievement Award to the top three IEHA chapters who have shown exemplary work in reporting and reaching out to their membership by growing and effectively communicating and involving their fellow chapter members. IEHA’s 2012 Convention is scheduled for 15-19 October 2012 in Chicago, Illinois, in conjunction with ISSA/INTERCLEAN – North America. The International Executive Housekeepers Association (IEHA), is a 3,500-plus professional member organisation for persons employed in facility housekeeping at the management level. The organisation was founded in 1930 in New York City, and is now located in Westerville, Ohio, a suburb of the State’s capital, Columbus. Anyone who wishes to contact IEHA can do so through

The Executive Housekeeper

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Gain Acceptance Respectfully by Dianne Vidler


never thought I would be the person that would leave a job because my learning curve has flattened out, however it turns out I myself crave to learn, I need new and interesting projects, I’ve learnt over time the faster I build up my skills and create expertise the faster you are able to set yourself apart from everyone else. On starting a new role I can’t stress enough the importance of being able to fit in fast, the faster you fit in the faster you can get on with doing what you are employed to do. I’ve been asked a few times what I’ve done to boost my confidence when I take on a new endeavour? I’m tempted to say panic! But having done this on previous occasions I know this doesn’t work, nerves are OK, believe me when I say this, I remember a great trainer that once said to me “the minute you stop experiencing nerves before presenting that’s the minute you’ve lost passion for what you do”. When I start a new job and my nerves start playing up I think back to this saying and take grace in knowing how passionate I am for what I do and how lucky I am to be doing what I love. So my real answer is, it’s not how much you know about the job in the first few weeks you start but it’s the way you go about your job that actually counts, confidence generally arises from acceptance, the below tips point out how to gain acceptance respectfully. 1. Care about people – Caring about others is an absolute necessity. If you don’t care about them, and you’re only in this for yourself, people will know. They can spot insincerity a mile away. If you’re labelled as insincere, it won’t matter how much you do for everyone; they’ll always be assuming you have an ulterior motive, and you’re just trying to work an angle to come out on top. The only way any of this will work in the long run is if you are truly interested in seeing other people succeed, and you do your best to help them along the way. 2. A  lways be honest – This is the second foundational element. The most valuable resource you have with others is their trust, and it’s much easier to lose than it is to gain. This is a lesson we’ve all learned from childhood and up, yet we continue to tell lies or half-truths to make ourselves look better in certain situations. Don’t do this. Ever. If you mess up with someone, and fail to meet a commitment you promised them, don’t try

to make excuses to cover it up. Apologise and ask what you can do to make it right – you’ll be respected for it. Doing anything else will show people that you’re willing to say whatever’s necessary to avoid the consequences of your actions. And if they see you doing that with small things, it’s a solid bet that they assume you do it with big things as well. 3. Speak your mind – If you’re always honest, you shouldn’t have much of a problem speaking your mind when the situation warrants. This doesn’t mean you have to talk all the time, you have to determine when it’s important to talk and when it’s okay to stay quiet. But if you’re always honest, people will know that when you do speak, you mean what you say. You must be aware of the situation when speaking your mind. No one likes to be called out in front of their peers, so if you have criticism to give, do it in private, and be sensitive to the feelings of the person you’re talking to, especially if it’s a high-level leader who may not be used to receiving it. 4. Be respectful – with an edge – You always need to show the proper respect for anyone, be it your boss, your spouse, your friend, or even a stranger. That’s a given. But when you start giving your boss too much deference, and turn him into a god, it doesn’t help anything. He’s just a person who happens to be in a higher position than you. And if he’s the kind of guy who enjoys it when people suck up to him, he’s probably not the kind of guy you need on your side anyway. I’d rather have the rest of the office backing me up in that situation. When you’re dealing with people who are in a higher position than you, remember that it’s not always what you say, but the intent behind it. 5. A  sk for help – If you don’t know what you’re doing in a certain situation, don’t pretend like you do. Admit your ignorance and ask for help from someone who knows what they’re doing. I see two benefits to doing this. First, it helps you learn something new. Second, and more importantly, it makes someone else feel important. Their interaction with you, where they were able to help you out and feel good about their own knowledge and generosity at the same time, may well be the highlight of their day. Give them that gift, and pay attention to the friendliness and respect you’ll get in return. This is especially true if you’re in a leadership position. Never be too proud to learn from anyone else in the company. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that there’s always at least one thing you can learn from everyone you meet – so don’t take anyone for granted.

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6. P  lan to wing it – This sounds a bit contradictory, I know. We usually want to control our circumstances as well as we can to make sure everything works out in the best possible way for us. But the fact of the matter is that we’re rarely as in control as we think we are, and occasionally we’re thrown into complete chaos. In fact, we’re quite often judged more on how we handle the curveballs thrown at us, so it’s good to have a plan in place for dealing with them. People are always watching you, and if you can handle unexpected and difficult situations gracefully and effectively, your perceived value will soar. 7. W  ork hard to help others – Everyone knows that there is incredible value in hard work. But when you work hard to help other people, that value is multiplied. If you make it one of your goals to help others achieve their goals, you’ll go through life being recognised as a great worker, but more importantly, you’ll also be seen as someone who cares about others. This will do wonders for your own attitude and personal satisfaction, but in addition to that, it will cause people to think of you first when they want to work with someone. And having everyone in the company wanting to work with you is a great card to have in your deck. 8. A  sk questions and look stuff up – Don’t be that clueless person in the meeting who just nods like they know what’s going

on. If you don’t understand something, ask a clarifying question... Sometimes I’m ignorant and need to be educated, if you don’t have the confidence to ask the question during the meeting, follow up with the person individually, or look it up on your own. Do not walk away without understanding the topic or being prepared to learn about it. One final thought: when you do look stuff up and learn something, share it with the group. Don’t hoard information. Ever. 9. Get organised – How are you going to do all these great things for everybody if you’re not organised? There are a thousand different ways to do it, and I can’t help you choose the right one. Staying organised makes doing all this extra work a lot easier.  hatever you do, do it with a touch of “you” – Know 10. W who you are, and BE THAT PERSON. If you’re funny, don’t try to be too serious. If you’re serious, don’t try to be too funny. Look for ways that you can work in the things you’re good at, and stay under the radar when you’d be forced to play your weakest hand. Don’t try to fix all your weaknesses – that’s a losing game. Just mitigate any ill effects from those, and then capitalise on your strengths. The point is to be genuine and memorable in a positive way, and you can best accomplish that by doing what you’re good at. n


























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The Executive Housekeeper

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Kicking the bleach habit by Bridget Gardner, Director, Fresh Green Clean


any hotels believe that chlorine bleach is the only product that will remove stains and leave hotel surfaces sparklingly white and hygienically clean. But is it? This article asks whether bleach is as indispensable as we think, and what could be some viable alternatives. Bleach is not a cleaning agent Despite popular belief, chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite) is not a cleaning agent, it simply wipes out the pigment in the soil (and sometimes the surface!). Unless bleach has been combined with a detergent, such as in bathroom cleaner, it will not effectively lift and separate soil from the surface. The floor or basin looks cleaner, but it’s a cheat’s clean because the embedded dirt has become invisible – but not gone. Any dirt you removed from the floor while mopping it with diluted bleach was entirely down to the water, the mop and your elbow grease! This is summed up by a well-worn hospital expression that states: ‘90% of the cleaning action is achieved with the tool, the water and friction. So what about that last 10%? That’s where the cleaning methodology comes in. Cleaning without bleach There are many traditional and new ways to lift and remove soil from a surface, such as: • pH neutral detergent diluted in warm water. Wet-mop heavily soiled floors then repeat with a damp mop • H  eat and pressure via professional steamer equipment that can sanitise and lift grime from crevices such as tiling grout

• Surface friction via professional microfibre technology, scrubbing equipment, or pressure washing • E lectrolysed water that cleans and sanitises by electrically charging water via a plumbed-in unit, hand held device or a scrubbing machine • Bio-cleaners that use friendly bacteria to colonise and ‘eat’ organic wastes (mould, fats, grime etc.) when given sufficient contact time with the surface Hygiene without bleach Now let’s explore bleach’s disinfecting ability. Chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite) disinfects by attacking the protein molecules1 of bacteria. But this germ killing ability is seriously limited if the surface or cleaning tools are dirty. So a surface must first be cleaned effectively


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and all detergent rinsed away before bleach is applied. Next, bleach must remain soaking the surface for at least five to ten minutes before a sufficient number of germs are killed.2 Do your cleaners have time to clean twice, leave a surface soaking ten minutes, before returning to rinse it? The concept of total germ elimination is an impossibility in accommodation settings anyway. The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), stresses that even in hospitals the aim should be to remove (not kill) bacteria through effective cleaning and drying practices. Removing the bacteria’s food source (soil and moisture), will achieve hygienically clean surfaces that germs cannot survive on. An important aspect of building hygiene is the cleanliness of the cleaning tools and water. Sufficient quotas of cloths should be provided and then laundered correctly after use. Mop water or microfibre mops should be changed after every room, and colourcoding tools provided for cleaning different areas to prevent crosscontamination. However in the end, personal hygiene should be encouraged as the number one germ protection policy. Why avoid chlorine bleach? You should already know that chlorine bleach is Hazardous and Corrosive (causes burns), which is why gloves and goggles must always be worn when handling it. But bleach is also a respiratory irritant and may cause occupational induced asthma and other respiratory ailments after repeated and prolonged exposure. Dust masks will not prevent chlorine fumes so good ventilation and safe handling practices (such as avoiding creating mists and spraying directly onto cloths) are essential. Finally, bleach is highly reactive and if mixed with acids (i.e. toilet cleaner) or ammonia (i.e. floor cleaner) it creates toxic fumes. It therefore makes good sense to avoid the use of bleach where ever possible. Because chlorine bleach is highly alkaline, it is inappropriate to use in toilets because the calcium ‘ring’ that becomes stained is alkaline too. That is why toilet cleaners are acidic – to fight the alkaline deposits. Instead, bleach makes the calcium deposits stick like concrete – damaging the toilet and encouraging more stains! Furthermore, its corrosive nature can easily damage softer bathroom surfaces such as fibreglass.

However if the surface has been compromised, the rusty pipes are causing unsightly stains, or the grout has an immovable five-o-clock shadow (mould stains) and you find bleach indispensable, try minimising the frequency with which it is applied to weekly or fortnightly use. For fabrics, try oxygenated bleach (hydrogen peroxide) as it is generally far less hazardous. Finally, plan your next renovation around a different colour scheme other than white on white, replace tiles and grout with glass or solid planes if possible and improve ventilation. In the case of bleach, prevention is far better than the cure. n References: 1. 2. w 3. w Practices_&_Gen_Requirements_v88.pdf Bridget Gardner is director of Fresh Green Clean, providing consulting and education in sustainable cleaning and hygiene. She is considered by many as Australia’s leading independent expert in the field. For more information contact Bridget via www.

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Working in Angola with the Express Support Services by Sandra Lunn


have just spent five weeks working in Angola with the Express Support Services (ESS) team to train their staff.The workforce of Express is 94% Angolan. A project like this has never been undertaken in Angola and it is the intention to get all 2500 staff a qualification over the next 4 years commencing with Certificate I in Hospitality. Due to an intense civil war from 1975 to 2002 a lot of Angolans have little or no education. Angola, officially the Republic of Angola, is a country in Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city. Cabinda (northern Angolan province) has a border with the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Angola was a Portuguese colony from the 16th century to 1975. The country has vast mineral, oil and gas reserves. Angola is remote and undiscovered with little or no tourism. It is an eye opener with extreme poverty, corruption, poor infrastructure and is incredibly expensive (in Luanda four tomatoes were $US24 and a rockmelon $US80). I worked in two sites in Angola: Soyo and Malongo (Cabinda) staying in the ALNG (Angola Liquid Natural Gas) camp in Soyo and Chevron camp in Malongo. I also managed to fly via helicopter to an oil rig 70 kilometres off the coast of Angola and Congo. The travel door to door, between Soyo and Malongo was about 5 – 6 hours but only a 12 minute flight. As Cabinda is landlocked you can only fly in and out. It can be a very frustrating process going through security to get in and out of the camps and airports. The Soyo camp at capacity has 6000 residents, coming from 54 nationalities and 1200 Express staff. The Malongo camp has 1500 residents and 1098 (including 617 sub-contracted) Express staff. There is also about 350 staff based in the capital Luanda and off shore on the oil rigs. Working with the Housekeeping teams across both sites was both fascinating and challenging, due mainly to the language barrier and cultural differences. Staff are very grateful to have a job. This is a breakdown of both sites Housekeeping departments: Soyo Approximately 291 staff including management and: • 175 cleaners • 91 laundry attendants

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Approximately 6,500 beds (6,552) divided into blocks:  Block (for visitors and senior managers) • A – 11 blocks x 24 rooms = 264 rooms. 1 person rooms with private bathroom • B  Block (for managers) – 11 blocks x 48 rooms = 528 rooms. 1 person rooms with shared bathroom • C  Block (for supervisors and foremen) – 16 blocks x 24 rooms = 384 rooms. 2 person rooms with bathroom. Total capacity of 768 persons • D  Block (for all other workers) – 39 blocks x 32 rooms equals 1,248 rooms. 4 person rooms with communal bathroom. Total capacity of 4,992 persons. Laundry department consists of: • 3 x 24 hour laundries in camp • Clean 30 tonnes of laundry per week Laundry services for camp including: • L aundry of client and staff items (3 kg per person) on designated days and will depend on which block you stay in • V  IP’s and visitors have daily laundry service where it is picked up from your room around 7 am and delivered back same day Malongo • Accommodation Services has approximately 112 staff including 90 cleaners who clean external and off shore sites • 1 18 cleaners (on site) with approximately 35 cleaning staff used on a daily basis to clean 1,510 beds • L aundry has approximately 55 staff including 51 laundry staff • 9 8 janitorial staff that are used to perform general cleaning duties Malongo camp is full of monkeys and you have to be careful not to leave food out or have things hanging around your neck as they will take them. They are all over the camp. There was a lot of wildlife in this camp such as impala, wild dogs, snakes (cobra and black mamba) and cats. There is


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also the largest colony of bats in the world in the camp and it is phenomenal to see the damage they have caused to the trees. You have to be very careful not to be bitten by monkeys, cats or bats and other animals due to many diseases especially rabies.

picture in time. In the laundry women have a more traditional role with them doing the ironing where men tend to do the heavy lifting. In rooms again women tend to do the cleaning where men do the more heavy tasks or have senior roles.

The cleaning performed is of a high standard. The rooms are very basic but spotlessly clean. The American clients are very pedantic about standards with beds to be made to exact measurements. In Soyo the room cleaners use no trolleys, work in extreme heat in summer and have to carry some supplies up steep stairwells and with no cover. In rainy season there are very heavy rains which cause issues with mud and just getting around the camp, which is not sheltered apart from inside the buildings. They work in teams in each block so tend to leave their cleaning supplies on the landing half way up the stairwell. The clients only have Sunday off so are generally out of their rooms by 5 am each day. Each block has bed linen change days where they place a large trolley outside the block for dirty linen collection.

The Angolans learn best using music and dance as this is an important part of their daily lives. Express hold a safety workshop, with a selected topic, once a month where they ask all staff and they encourage community attendance. Everyone gets a can of Coke on entrance and it is like walking into a night club with music blaring. The topic when I was there was personal hygiene. It was nothing like I have seen before where the Express OHS team start with a song that they have written called “Safety, Safety, Safety Number One”. Everyone knew the words and everyone was dancing and singing. Then they do a 10 minute play, there is more music and safety and employee awards are handed out. It was a big deal to win an award where there were big celebrations. There were about 350 people there all laughing, dancing and singing. It was wonderful, very motivational and that song is still in my head.

All client clothing that gets processed through the laundry is individually tagged with a number and your items are placed in a bag that has your room number. They have a staff member that looks after the pickup, processing and delivery for a block. I was staying in A block and in one day the A block laundry processed around 4000 items of clothing. Some of the challenges Express face is cultural with women in their communities carrying everything on their heads. The company has strict OHS policies with manual handling and will not allow this practice. So the company has ongoing training programs and tries to educate their staff on safe work practices. The issue is that carrying everything on their head is natural to them and when they go home each day this is what they do. I saw many cleaning staff carrying all sorts of different things on their heads. The most unusual was a packet of 100 toilet rolls which was perfectly balanced on a ladies head. Unfortunately I didn’t get a

This was an amazing experience and one that I will never forget. I met some lovely people, saw some amazing sites, ate interesting food like kudu and impala and I was looked after incredibly well by everyone. We had a little saying over there “TIA TIA”. When things didn’t quite work as we wanted them to, which often happens in Angola, we would just say “TIA, TIA: this is Angola, this is Africa”. It somehow made it okay. n

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Pest Management Partnerships Many Hands Make Light Work by Patrick Copps


erhaps more than in any other profession, housekeeping profes­sionals know that there is a lot of truth to the old adage, “Many hands make light work.” Whether it’s making beds or sweeping floors, the more everyone works as a team, the better job you’ve done for a building’s occupants. The same holds true for pest management. A successful Integrated Pest Man­agement (IPM) program hinges on the partnership between you, your staff and your pest management professional.

IPM seeks to reduce chemical usage by limiting conditions con­ducive to pest infestations. This consists of proactive sanitation and facility maintenance to restrict pests’ access to possible sources of food, water and shelter. Since your pest management professional isn’t at your building 2417, he or she must rely on the housekeeping staff to help keep the place pest free. Housekeeping staff are on the frontlines of a building’s operations so they’re able to quickly observe and report pest sightings – or conditions that could lead to pests. Let’s take a look at the signs of a pest infestation. The first sign of a pest problem is sighting an actual pest. Work with your pest management pro­fessional to place sticky monitoring boards in out-of-the way nooks and crannies like janitorial closets. These will help trap crawling pests – alerting you to the presence of insects, like cockroaches. Fly lights draw flying pests to a sticky trap by using UV light. These should be installed inside near entrances to food prep areas and exits to waste disposal areas. Position fly lights facing into your building – you don’t want the unit to be visible from the outside, which could inad­vertently draw pests inside. Another sign of pests is what they leave behind – droppings. Cockroach droppings look like black pepper grains. Mouse droppings are the size of a grain of rice, and rat droppings are the size of a raisin. While you might not see the actual pest, droppings are a sign you’ve got an issue in your build­ing and can actually help a pest


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management professional identify what type of pest is lurking in the area. In addition to droppings, some pests, like cockroaches, leave behind cast skins as they grow and shed their exoskeletons. Also, rodents leave behind greasy rub marks as they travel along walls and baseboards. In addition to detecting pest signs, housekeeping staff are an integral component of reporting, and controlling, conditions con­ducive to pest infestations. Pests are in your building for three main reasons – food, water and shelter. Limiting pests’ access to these three things is the core of an effective IPM program. Here are some common ways in which housekeeping staff can help: •F  ighting Food Sources: Pests aren’t picky about their meals – they only need crumbs to survive, so maintaining supe­rior sanitation is vital. Clean all surfaces regularly with a vacuum cleaner that is fitted with a HEPA filter and be sure to vacuum cracks and crevices where debris can col­lect. Cockroaches can make a meal out of almost anything-including dust and the glue that holds card-board boxes together. Frequent cleaning and removal of dust and food particles can help to deter pests looking for their next meal. •M  anage Moisture: Like food, pests don’t need a lot of moisture to survive. Some culprits to look out for are leaky vending machines and HVAC units. Clean up spills immediately and report any leaks to the facility maintenance depart­ment so they can make repairs. Watch out for dripping mops and wet buckets placed in janitorial closets as well.

• Shutdown Shelter: The opti­mal temperatures in your building attract pests. However, they won’t always use the door to access your building. Cockroaches only need a sixteenth of an inch gap to enter a building, so fill any cracks and crevices with weather resistant sealant. Install weather stripping around doors and windows, and put door sweeps on the bottom of doors. Rodents need a bit more room, but not much – mice only need a hole the size of a dime and rats a hole the size of a quarter. As long as the rodent can fit its skull through, it can manage to squeeze the rest of its body in as well. Since rodents like to gnaw, in­corporate copper or stainless steel mesh into sealant when possible to prevent rodents from penetrating your repairs. Clean up clutter in the building, especially in storage areas. Cockroaches like to hide in the corrugated part of cardboard boxes since it allows all sides of their body to be touching a surface. ClearchoiceEnzymeWizardAd 17/11/11 Rodents like clutter as well since it provides nesting material.

Make sure you and your man­agement team respond quickly to the housekeeping and mainte­nance staff ’s reports on pest sight­ings, and follow up on the repairs they suggest. If6:29 management isn’t1responding, the staff PM Page will stop reporting. Set up a station where staff members can document their sightings

so your pest manage­ment professional can review them during his or her next visit. Ultimately, a partnership between your staff and your pest manage­ment provider can save you money and protect your reputation. n

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The Executive Housekeeper

What have you done to my carpet? by Colin Nation

This article is about things that go wrong, how to prevent them and how to deal with some of them. As a trainer in the carpet cleaning industry and my work as a WoolSafe Registered Inspector, I come across a lot of problems with carpet and upholstery. Some of these we can fix, but many we simply cannot fix. I have chosen a few common problems that will highlight a few of the more common problems. Hopefully this will help you save some money and heartache.

Case number 1. The case of the pink patches The picture opposite came in as I was about to write this article. This is a fairly new wool carpet. You will notice the large pinkish area in the centre of the picture. I have yet to investigate this problem, but I have seen similar cases in the past, especially on fabric upholstery with natural fibres such as cotton and linen. To me this looks like a loss of blue dye. This can happen when the acidity or alkalinity (pH) of the cleaning agents fluctuates during different stages of the cleaning process. Some carpet detergents

Photo 1

are quite caustic which is not a problem on some synthetic fibres, but alkaline (pH 8 – 14) detergents can affect some of the dye components, especially when the pH is lowered (below pH 7). This results in the loss of blue dye leaving a pinkish look. The second photo is a test on a fabric to demonstrate the pH effect on dyes.

Photo 2

The prevention in this case is to use a WoolSafe Approved detergent. These have been independently tested to ensure they do not harm wool carpet or it’s dyes. The rectification of this problem involves either re-dyeing the carpet or replacement of the carpet. Unfortunately we don’t have a re-dyeing solution for most fabrics.

Case number 2. The case of the wriggly line This is an example of a condition called “reverse pile shading” sometimes called ‘pooling’ or ‘watermarking’, although it has nothing to do with water. See photo number 3.This carpet was in an upmarket hotel in Sydney.This ugly wriggly line detracts from the general appearance of the room which was otherwise quite appealing.The problem here is that the pile of the carpet is lying in different directions.The lighter colour is where the pile leans away from you and has more surface area on the sides of the pile.The darker area is where the pile leans towards you and you are looking at the very ends of the fibres which appear dark by comparison.

Photo 3

Unfortunately there is no fix for this problem. Photo number 4 shows a couple of sections where I have tried to reverse the pile with a steaming treatment to demonstrate the effect. It is common with any cut pile carpet or fabric regardless of the fibre. If we try to correct it

Photo 4

with steaming the problem will simply re-occur in the same pattern within a few weeks.The solution is to buy a highly patterned carpet to hide it, or choose a loop pile carpet which doesn’t tend to show the problem as much.

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Case number 3. My carpet is coming apart at the seams Again there can be a number of causes for seams coming apart. In this photo the seams are simply delaminating. This was due to the carpet layer not using a seam sealer and poor quality adhesion between the two layers of the carpet. It was not the fault of cleaning. In fact the carpet was only a few months old. This was a warranty issue.

Seams may come apart during cleaning. These can be unsightly or even dangerous as people can trip on the lifting edges. Is it the fault of the cleaners?… Rarely. A well made seam on a carpet should actually be stronger than the surrounding carpet. If a seam lets go during the stresses of cleaning then it was probably due to a breakdown of the old seaming tape or the glues were not bonded effectively when they were first installed. If a seam comes apart in a heavy walk way such as an entry area or bar area then it is most likely that the old tape has simply given up with time and use.

Photo 5

Photo 7

Case number 5. Another brown mark? In this case, no. this mark was discovered when some furnishings were removed. The carpet has simply faded around the statue’s base. What is the cause of this? This is very much like the colour loss in case number 1, but in this case it is called ‘fume fading’ as it is gasses involved. The blue dye is simply fading away faster than the red or yellow dye which is usually the case. The darker section is the original colour of the carpet, and this was supposed to be a fade resistant carpet. This is more common in areas where sunlight is fairly strong, especially in Queensland. It doesn’t even require direct sunlight as it is the ozone gas that is created by strong sunlight that wafts across the carpet causing a bleaching action. Re-dyeing will be pointless as it is likely to do the same thing again. Moving the furniture frequently will even out the colour loss, and try to decorate with colours that will match the carpet as it loses blue.

Case number 4. What is that brown mark? A brown mark that looks like the ‘high tide’ mark on a beach could be the affect of a water leakage. In this case it was a leak from a bathroom on the other side of the wall. Many carpets have jute fibres in the backing construction of the carpet. It is there to provide strength and stability, but it is never meant to be wet. When the jute backing fibres get wet, they release a tannin type chemical from the jute. This is similar to the way coffee beans release the brown tannins into hot water to make a refreshing cup of coffee. In this case the water simply evaporates away leaving the big brown stain in a similar way to a coffee spill. In the case of carpet we can spill pure water and the brown mark appears in a few days time as it dries.


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By applying some white vinegar to a wet stain such as this you will go a long way to preventing the mark in the first place. Make up a mix of 1 part white vinegar and 10 parts of water and keep it in a labelled spray bottle. Blot up as much of the spill as possible using paper towel or an extractor Photo 6

if you have one, and then spray on the white vinegar mix fairly heavily so that it penetrates. Blot or extract off the excess. So if you ever see these tell tale brown marks, you might need to investigate what might be leaking before it gets worse.

Case Number 6. Why didn’t the red stain come out?

Photo 8

The colouring used in some drinks such as red cordial and the popular mixed drinks, especially the brightly coloured ones are coloured with standard artificial food colourings. These food colourings are made from coal extracts and are used to make a wide variety of dyes. These same dyes are used to dye both wool and nylon carpets. So when someone spills these drinks on your carpet you now have a new coloured pattern on the carpet that will resist even the most vigorous attempts at cleaning. You now have three choices. Choice 1, splash around some more red drinks and make a patterned carpet. Choice 2, lash out and buy new carpet. Choice 3, get a professional carpet stain remover to remove the red cordial spill by de-colouring and spot dyeing.

Photo 9

If you are based on the Sunshine Coast then this is not a problem, as this is what I do for a living. If you are based elsewhere you can contact WoolSafe Australia for a recommendation or simply visit and click on the map on the home page and find someone in your area who may be able to help. This is an example of what can be done with the right chemistry equipment and experience.

Whatever your problems are with carpet or upholstery, there are often solutions that can help, if not directly, then indirectly through training, consultation or enlisting the service of external contractors. The WoolSafe Certified Operator network is a network of Australia’s leading carpet cleaning experts, many of whom have specialist cleaning and or stain removal and installation expertise who can assist you. If you have your own carpet cleaners on staff then you might like to consider some specialised training for them.You can contact me at Nation Training on 0408 966 500. There may even be some government funding available for some eligible staff who may want to do a Certificate III qualification in Asset Maintenance – Carpet Cleaning operations. n

About the writer Col Nation from Nation Training and ABBsolve Services, is a cleaning industry trainer with a long history of experience, especially in the field of carpet and upholstery technology and maintenance. Colin is a contract trainer with the Daniels Associates of Australasia Pty Ltd and until recently was Australian director of the international WoolSafe Organisation which is a certification body for the carpet industry. The Daniels Associates conducts training in Hospitality with a focus on cleaning for health. Check out for more information on training options. can provide a list of highly qualified carpet cleaners that can provide a range of services to both domestic and commercial carpet owners.

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Check out the Mould (Microbial Contamination in Hotels) by Jeremy Stamkos Mould contamination in hotel


rooms is not only unsightly

Common sense says that visible mould growth in a hotel room is not good for business. As most people associate visible mould growth with uncleanliness, it is advantageous for hotel management to deal with mould issues in a timely way. Guests have a minimum expectation that the room they have paid for will be presented as clean and tidy and will not be a risk to their health.

but can have a negative impact on both staff and guest health, as well as causing extensive property damage. Over the years, there has been a growing awareness of the affects indoor mould contamination can have on occupant health as well as the significant costs it can cause businesses. Unfortunately, due to the design and use of hotel rooms, mould contamination can be common especially in hotels that are located in tropical and sub tropical regions. For maintenance and housekeeping staff, cleaning and preventing mould contamination in hotel rooms can be a difficult challenge that can sometimes be more of an ongoing management issue rather than simple eradication. Armed with a better understanding of how and why mould growth occurs, hotel staff and management will be better equipped to prevent or manage mould growth issues.


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The reality is, whether it’s a three or six star hotel, no one wants to stay in a mould-contaminated room. From a business perspective, unsightly mould growth gives a poor impression of the hotel standards to paying guests. Along with extensive health concerns to both staff and guests alike, the damage bill can be quite costly for remediation and repair work to damaged surfaces. Due to the hazardous and destructive nature of mould, the number of successful litigation cases is on the rise. Ignorance and complacency are no longer excuses and allowing visible mould to be present within the built environment presents unacceptable risk to occupants, business owners and employees. The key to properly preventing, managing or eradicating mould issues in the built environment is knowledge and the right solutions aren’t always difficult or expensive to implement.

Top: fungal growth on high wall split fan Middle: fungal growth in petri dish Bottom: fungal growth & bacteria on plate

Some basics on mould

To start off with, mould spores (basically seeds released from mould) are pretty much everywhere and in the air we breathe. Spores are microscopic (between 5-20 microns) which makes them easily transferred by air movement both inside and outside of buildings.

To better understand how to deal with mould issues, you first need to know a few things about mould and why it grows indoors.

Unless a building is specifically designed to prevent or reduce normal airborne particulate such as dusts, pollens, spores etc.

Bookcase mould

Desk mould before

Desk mould after

from entering, some level of mould spores will always be present within the building.

The opening of doors and windows as well as the operation of a building’s heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems can all allow airborne mould spores to enter a building.

At “normal” concentrations, the average person in generally good health will not be affected by airborne mould spores.

Even within buildings such as hospitals, clean rooms, laboratories, food manufacturing facilities etc. that require a higher than normal cleanliness level, mould spores, at some level will always be present.

It’s when abnormally high levels of airborne mould spores and actual visible mould growth are present that risks to health and property damage are greatly increased.

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The Executive Housekeeper

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asthma attacks as well as allergic type reactions. Prolonged exposure to some mould may have much more severe and permanent consequences. When highly susceptible patients in hospitals with compromised immune systems are exposed to certain mould spores, they can become infected and have fatal ramifications from mould spore exposure.

From Spores to Visible Growth

Under desk mould before

For mould spores to turn into unsightly fungal growth, the spores need to be viable (alive). Like seeds from plants, not all spores released from mould growth are viable and do not have the ability to grow or vegetate. Generally less than 30% of the spores are actually viable and able to grow. When viable mould spores have settled on a surface, growth can only start if sufficient moisture and a nutrient (food) source are present. This does not mean that a surface needs to be dirty and wet for the mould to start growing.

Under desk mould after

Mould is also destructive by nature and will help decompose whatever surface it grows on leading to costly or irreparable damage to that surface. At the end of the day, because of the risk to health and property damage, visible mould in the built environment needs to be dealt with accordingly.

Mould Species & Toxicology

A surface that looks clean (and by all means is “clean”) and does not appear wet or even damp can still have sufficient moisture and nutrients to allow mould to start growing. Mould growth is when you start to see mould colonies forming which are generally grey, green, white or black in appearance. When there has been a specific ingress of water such as a flood event or water leak, if the water is not removed and affected area dried quickly, mould growth can appear within a very short period of time.

There are thousands of species of moulds and some of the most common moulds found indoors can negatively impact people’s health depending on the species of mould, the extent of contamination and the susceptibility of those exposed to it.

What is more difficult to understand is when mould grows occurs in rooms where there has not been a specific water ingress event and there are no obvious signs of moisture.

Some of the more common species found in hotel rooms have names such as aspergillus, cladosporium and penicillium and many of them release toxins called mycotoxins.

A room may look clean and the humidity or moisture levels in the room may seem “normal” but sometimes mould can simply appear on desks, cabinets, walls, doors, lampshades or almost any surface in the room.

These mycotoxins can cause a range of health concerns including triggering

When this occurs, it is generally caused by the moisture content in the air or when


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relative humidity levels within the room, reach levels that provide enough moisture for mould to start growing. Relative humidity levels within a normal building are expected to be around 55% mark for your everyday household room. When Relative Humidity goes over 65%, some mould species can start growing however most mould spores will start their growth at the 70% relevant humidity mark. Mould can also grow on surfaces when there is a significant relative humidity and/or temperature difference between adjoining rooms or rooms above or below.

Hotel Room Air-conditioning When hotel room air-conditioning systems are operating, they will generally remove moisture from the air that passes through the cooling coil which is the cooling component of the system. The moisture removed from the air passing through the system is condensation that the air-conditioning system is supposed to drain away. The problem with many hotel room air-conditioning systems is that due to poor design, bad installation and lack of maintenance, this captured condensation is not properly drained away. The undrained condensation that remains in the air-conditioning unit provides the ideal conditions for mould growth to start within the AC unit. Once a higher level of humidity occurs within the room as a whole,

Mould under carpet

then mould growth will occur in surfaces of the room. A mould contaminated air-conditioning system holding excessive condensation is a “breeding ground” for mould growth, spewing out millions, billions and even trillions of viable spores into the hotel room. All that is required for further mould growth to occur is an increase in the rooms humidity.

Identifying Contaminated Hotel Room Air-conditioning System Unless you are a qualified air-conditioning contractor or ventilation hygiene specialist, it can be difficult to know if the airconditioning system is contaminated with mould. A simple inspection that can be done without shutting down or opening the air-conditioning system, is to look just behind the supply air vent that delivers the conditioned air into the room.

If you can see past the louvers of the supply air vent into the duct, you may be able to see the inside of the duct that runs from the actual air-conditioning unit to the vent. If a system is contaminated, this is the most likely place that mould growth will be visible. Without having formal training, qualifications etc. it should not be presumed that mould growth is present simply if it looks like it. If you suspect mould growth to be present, raise the issue with hotel management and/or hotel maintenance. They may seek professional advice from suitably qualified persons or arrange for some testing and verification to be done.

Special Note on Mould in AC There are specific Australian Standards (AS/NZS 3666.2) and industry best practice guidelines that set out minimum maintenance activities and cleanliness requirements for air-conditioning systems

specifically written to help prevent microbial contamination. If mould contamination within the airconditioning systems is suspected, it’s a good idea is to consult with the hotel’s maintenance staff regarding the issues. Be aware that sometimes those responsible for the maintenance of the air-conditioning may be a bit perturbed about the questioning of the cleanliness of the air-conditioning systems as this can be implied that they are not conducting proper maintenance. A certain amount of tact is usually a better way forward here. If they ignore or disregard your concerns and the mould growth issues continue, the issue may have to be raised with the hotel management.

Preventing Mould Growth The best way to prevent mould growth in hotels is control of moisture and relative humidity within the building.

our success stories

our news

our clients

IHS has provided Housekeeping services to the hospitality industry for the past twelve years. We are extremely proud of our commitment to service standards which continue to make us a leader in outsourcing.

IHS is proud to have recently launched its new integrated Quality, Environment, and Health and Safety Management System. This system streamlines all of our systems and processes and IHS are confident that they will achieve certification to all three Australian standards in November 2011.

Over the last 12 years our client base has steadily grown to our current portfolio of well-established hotels, a testament to our ongoing delivery of superior marketleading management solutions.

The key attributes for this success include: • Organisation • Support • Flexibility • Good resources • Years of experience • Passionate management Ralf Bruegger, General Manager of The Observatory Hotel Sydney says; “International Hotel Services (IHS) is a very professional organisation that I have had the pleasure of working with and as such have no hesitation in recommending them. The company’s strengths include their transparent working ethic, their high level of integrity, their level of care for their team, and in general their willingness to embrace their clients goals, philosophies and expectations.” “Most importantly the management team of IHS are responsive to any issue that the hotel may raise and this is essential if we are to maintain the very high standards that our customers demand of us.”

They include: • Amora Jamison Sydney • Parkroyal Darling Harbour • Intercontinental Sydney • Four Points Sheraton • Four seasons Sydney • Grand Hyatt Melbourne • Hilton On The Park • Urban Sydney • The Mansion Hotel & Spa • Park Hyatt Sydney • The Observatory Hotel • Balgownie Estate Yarra Valley • The Star • Sydney Marriott Hotel • Mawland Quarantine Station

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In a closed and well-sealed building, this can generally be achieved by proper operation of the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems. Controlling relative humidity within hotel rooms can be difficult especially when the rooms have doors and windows that can be opened by guests allowing un-conditioned or humid air into the rooms. To reduce relative humidity within hotel rooms, it is suggested that hotels prevent the opening of external doors and windows during seasons of high relative humidity. Knowing that this is not an option for many hotel facilities, it is extremely important that hotel room air-conditioning systems shut down when external doors or windows are opened for extended periods of time. The introduction of unconditioned outside air into a hotel room may not only dramatically increase the running costs of the air-conditioning system but if the outside air is highly humid, this will increase the risk of moisture activity and mould growth within the room. Whilst operating hotel room airconditioning continuously may not be energy efficient, it is sometimes the only way that a hotel can effectively reduce the indoor relative humidity levels to a point where mould growth is not a problem.

Removing Mould

undertaken by specialist contractors or staff who are certified, trained and insured for conducting mould remediation. As long as the mould growth has not been left to grow for a long time, most minor levels of visible mould growth on hard or non-porous surfaces can readily be removed by most general cleaning procedures. There is much debate about whether or not a disinfectant should be applied to the affected surface so professional advice should be sought if the mould growth reoccurs. For situations where there is significant mould contamination, only persons or contractors that are trained in mould remediation should attempt decontamination and remediation of the affected area. Professional contractors will use a range of specialised equipment and techniques to safely clean the area without spreading contamination.

Mould prevention If mould growth reoccurs in a hotel even after all design, maintenance and cleaning issues have been addressed, there are a number of antimicrobial products commercially available that can provide residual protection against mould growth.

If a hotel has mould growth issues, the ability to effectively clean the affected surface will heavily depend on the extent of the mould growth and the surface it is growing on.

Some of these products are designed to provide residual protection for several months whilst others are designed to protect against mould growth for some years or even the life expectancy of the surface it has been applied to.

As mentioned earlier, many of the common indoor moulds are toxic and if correct safety measures are not adhered to, staff and guest health can be adversely affected as well as spreading contamination to unaffected areas.

When choosing any residual antimicrobial treatment, consideration must be given to the potential toxicity and exposure to people that may come in contact with that surface.

Before considering a mould-cleaning job, the question must first be asked if the attempted cleaning has been approved by the hotel management as they may have specific policies for dealing with mould growth issues. Cleaning of any significant level of visible mould contamination should only be


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Mould growth on air conditioning Fan

There are residual antimicrobial products designed for both porous and non-porous surfaces but all of them can fail miserably if the required pre-treatment conditions have not been properly addressed. Application of many of the commercial grade antimicrobial products can only be through mould remediation contractors so it always pays to consult a professional.

Bookcase mould

Summary The eradication and prevention of mould contamination in the built environment can be a complex issue with the key to success being knowledge. No matter what level or extent of mould contamination may be present in a hotel room, if not dealt with correctly and in a safe manner, there are considerable risks to health as well as property damage. If significant mould contamination is present or is an ongoing issue, it is advisable to engage a suitably qualified professional, specifically trained in mould and moisture investigation and qualified to provide advice. n The Author Jeremy Stamkos is a Director and Principle mould & moisture investigator for Mould ID Pty Ltd, a professional mould investigation and consultancy business operating throughout Australia.



100 year s of s ye 1 eravrs of 0 s 0

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year Prou year year s of s dly s s of s ervic celeb of servic ervic ratin e e e g 100 year s of

serv ice e

We make what we sell.

W.H. Amad, a family owned business, was established in 1910 as manufacturers to the hospitality industry. W.H. Amad is a vertical operation (possibly the last genuine one in Australia) specialising in hotel refurbishments including the manufacture of curtains, bed linen, quilts, bedspreads, bed throws, cushions, quilted valances and more.

Pictured above: Luxurious All Cotton Trimmed Quilt Cover Sets, Marco Polo 600gsm Fitted Mattress Toppers and Sateen Stripe Bed Linen.

As all manufacturing is done under one roof, we are able to meet special requirements such as irregular sizes, ID threads, special constructions, critical delivery schedules etc. With a combined total of over 100 years experience in the industry, our highly trained staff can assist in all facets of product development, enabling you to have a totally individual look for your establishment. We have an extensive range of fabrics to choose from, or you can specify your own designs and fabrications. Together with our extensive range of bed linen, towelling and associated manchester products... W.H. Amad is truly a one stop shop.

W.H. Amad / Bill Christopher Textiles Phone:

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Online Learning for Housekeeping A New Approach by Liz Lycette, Director Lycette & Associates


n the last year Lycette & Associates has embarked on a new approach to education and training – elearning! Elearning is a term used for computer based, web-based learning, using mobile technologies and digital communication in a virtual classroom environment. By keeping up with technology and understanding that elearning is becoming an integrated component of corporate expertise and employee development, L&A has incorporated its Finance for

Housekeepers Course into its main stream training and courses as a part of the overall education for Housekeepers in the hospitality industry. Compared with faceto-face courses, elearning has the capability of building knowledge and developing skills while keeping the training related costs down. Elearning in hospitality has been expanding rapidly and is predicted to grow considerably over the coming years. Integrating elearning into Housekeeping offers the industry a new way to improve efficiency, quality and standards.

L&A’s online course “Finance for Housekeeping Managers” has now been available to Housekeepers worldwide since the beginning of 2011. As the year is drawing to a close almost 4 courses have been completed with successful attendees enrolling from all over the globe including Hong Kong, Germany, Malta, Indonesia, India, China, USA, Singapore, Ghana, The Czech Republic, Bulgaria and of course Australia. The online course “Finance for Housekeeping Managers” is interactive and engaging and can be undertaken in the participant’s own time at work and/or at home provided there is access to a computer, high-speed internet and printer. The programme is constructed in 3 modules which are scheduled over a 3 week period, followed by 2 substantial work based practical assignments which require a further 3 weeks. The overall facilitated course is to be completed in 8 weeks. The participant’s commitment is expected to be approximately 20 hours with the majority of time required in the first 3 weeks of the course. Although the online programme offers maximum flexibility for each learner, it is recommended that participants allocate some time each day to move through the course comfortably as a group with other learners. We asked several participants for their feedback on elearning and got many diverse responses; Does your company have available on line courses or elearning opportunities for either you or your housekeeping team?

Pilot participants at Four Seasons


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Larger organisations such as Marriott have great programmes such as “Passport to

Success” for Managers to complete on line; although not specifically housekeeping related, the material is perfect for an overall grounding in Management skills. Smaller hotel companies may not have a dedicated elearning network or university online however they are affiliated to organisations such as Hostec in Australia for elearning, Harvard in the States and Hotel School in The Hague, The Netherlands. Some of the other courses our Australian participants have undertaken include Induction, OH&S, Revenue 101, Certificate IV on Front-line Management and Diploma in Hospitality. For the international participants courses included Diploma level Rooms Division through HCIMA and Hotel Management through Cambridge University in the UK. When we asked whether participants found online learning experience more effective than face-to-face learning we got a range of interesting responses • It’s easier learning online earlier in ones career as there is more time, now the demands are greater and time for training and study is an issue

The team from Hospitalit-E

• It’s easy to contact the tutor for one on one personal advice • T  here are simple communication lines for a quick response and quick feedback.

• Online is easier than face to face as you don’t feel the pressure of someone watching you

What about the negatives?

 e can ask more questions on line if • W we don’t understand and get a quick response. With face to face we may feel shy or afraid to ask questions

• S ome computer/IT difficulties in the process

• Y  ou have to be more focused and selfdisciplined for online learning. With face to face once you are in a classroom environment you are there. What are the positives of learning on line? • Flexibility • Y  ou can choose the environment to study (at home) in private  ou can choose the time to study • Y (print something off and take it to the beach to read for example!)

 e are unable to discuss problems face • W to face with other students

• If there is no one to guide you, you can lose track • It can be lonely when there is nobody to discuss things with straight away • O  pportunities to network and chat online takes more effort than in a face to face environment. (However, we have found that the younger generation is more accustomed to communicating with others online) Most of the participants were able to get their employer to pay for the course however some did pay themselves.

• Y  ou can study online in your own time, anytime of the day

What kinds of learning activities lend themselves more to elearning?

 ou can retrace steps and when there • Y are challenges, skip ahead and come back later

• Induction, tutorials, OH&S, emergency and evacuation procedures • A  ny learning activity can be turned into elearning

Are there any other words of wisdom for someone embarking on an elearning course?  ou need to be committed and schedule • Y the time in your diary • Just do it! In today’s world we need to keep up to date, elearning enables us to do that with flexibility both at work and at home  ell your colleagues you are participating • T in elearning for Housekeepers! Some other quotes worth sharing • Most of the exercises relate to our daily housekeeping operation, this has shown me new ways to solve problems • I did not really understand how to read a P&L – after this course, I found it much easier to understand our P&L  makes my job more measured • This and focused • Sharing information with others helped me in my operation • I learned from my co-learners and didn’t feel alone • I enjoyed being able to do the course at my convenience Upcoming Courses in 2012 Hospitalit-E Finance for Housekeepers courses in 2012

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Course 1: 20th February – 15th April Course 2: 23rd April – 17th June Course 3: 20th August – 14th October Course 4: 22nd October – 16th December Investment: $550 (+ GST in Australia) About Hospitalit-E “Finance for Housekeepers” course For many years Lycette & Associates has been at the forefront of new technology in Housekeeping and has successfully delivered many different training programmes around the world. These workshops, courses and programmes have always been in a face-to-face environment, but now the first course ‘Finance for Housekeeping Managers’ is available online. This project, Hospitalit-E, was a collaboration between Lycette & Associates, Balfour College and PHAN (The Professional Housekeepers Association NSW). The course has been financed through a grant awarded under the Australian Flexible Learning Framework. The aims of the course are to empower and up-skill Housekeeping Managers in financial management competencies. The units of competency are as follows: • S ITXFIN003A – Interpret financial information • S ITXFIN004A – Manage finances within a budget • S ITXFIN005A – Prepare and Monitor budgets The course has been divided into three modules and the design includes a range of delivery strategies and learning activities. Assessment is undertaken through online and work-based tasks. The course enables participants to use current work examples for learning and assessment, improving work performance and enhancing computer skills at the same time. In December 2010, the Hospitalit-E project “Finance for Housekeeping Managers” was showcased at the Framework’s annual conference. The course then went even further and won an award at the Australian Regional Finals for 2011 “Learning Impact Awards” L&A is very proud of this achievement! n

About Lycette & Associates 
 L&A specialises in all aspects of Housekeeping Management including on-site consulting, training and development workshops including assistance with initial set-up of housekeeping operations at pre-opening. The Company also undertakes customised operational reviews of existing housekeeping operations identifying and further improving the effectiveness and efficiency of current departmental procedures. For more information visit or e-mail


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The Executive Housekeeper

About Liz Lycette Liz Lycette, founder of Lycette & Associates was born in New Zealand and is a graduate of École Hotelière de Lausanne, Switzerland. She started her career in the hospitality industry in 1981 and at the age of 23 became Executive Housekeeper for the grand opening of Mandarin Oriental in Macau. She subsequently held this position at The Conrad Hong Kong, Mandarin Oriental Jakarta, Le Meridien Hotel, London, and The Regent Hotel, Sydney. Liz was also Project Manager for the opening of 3 properties in China for Harbour Plaza Hotels and Resorts. Liz established Lycette & Associates in 1999 and has since undertaken hospitality consulting assignments and training both in Australia and overseas including work for Moevenpick Middle East, Taj Hotels & Resorts in India and Australia, Marriott Hotels India, Hong Kong Hotels Association, Langham Hotels & Resort,Venetian Macau, Hotel Nikko Bali, Galaxy Macau and Westin KL. Liz’s extensive international expertise and considerable Housekeeping knowledge, has given her a truly multi-cultural approach and a wide range of diverse contacts throughout the industry. Her excellent organisational skills, adaptability and integrity enable her to complete any assignment with energy, efficiency and positive results.

Interview with Jenny Goh Assistant Director Environmental Services, City of Dreams, Macau by Liz Lycette, Director Lycette & Associates


ycette & Associates was on another assignment in Macau recently and met up with the City of Dreams’ Assistant Director Environmental Services, Jenny Goh. The City of Dreams, widely known as COD or COD Macau in the industry is an integrated entertainment resort in Macau with

entertainment, nightclubs, a diverse array of accommodation, regional and international dining, shopping and 2 casinos. The City of Dreams is situated along the Cotai strip and opened its doors in 2009. The resort comprises 3 hotels Crown Towers Hotel (300 rooms), Grand Hyatt Hotel (800 rooms) and Hard Rock Hotel (300 rooms)

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Liz Lycette caught up with Jenny for an interview. Here Jenny tells us about her experience at the City of Dreams.

How many staff are you responsible for?

What is your cultural background, where were you born and where did you grow up?

EVS (Environmental Services) – 371 Macanese, Vietnamese, Malaysian and Filipino

I am a Malaysian, Chinese; I was born in Malaysia and grew up in Kuala Lumpur.

Kid’s City – 26 Macanese, PRC and Vietnamese

What was your career path to date? My first taste of the hospitality industry was working at Melia Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and my first job there was as a Housekeeping Coordinator. Having never before worked in hospitality, it was quite an interesting and challenging role! I spent nine months working as a coordinator and then was promoted to the role of Public Area Supervisor, which was really tough and a good change. I was responsible for maintaining public areas to the highest of standards in line with company benchmarks. I had to ensure all staff members were trained to deliver a superior cleaning service in rooms and all public areas as outlined in SOP’s. I was really lucky to have had a wonderful superior, who shared with me all her years of knowledge. Her departure opened the door for me to be promoted to the role of Assistant Housekeeper. From there I moved to Director of Housekeeping, which is where I am today. What was your first role as Executive Housekeeper? My first role as a EH was with the Pan Pacific Johore Bahru, I joined them as an Assistant Executive Housekeeper and was promoted after eight months to Executive Housekeeper. What are your current job responsibilities at your hotel? I am responsible for the effective management of the Environmental Services Department, which includes property presentation, Waste Management, Pest Control, Employee Wardrobe and Kid’s City. I am in charge of quality control to maintain the five star standards and achieve its annual EBITDA budget by developing and implementing short and long-term strategies. This also involves entertainment departments such as The House of Dancing Water and Bubble Show cleaning operations. It is my job to come up with a succession plan for the whole department, to develop and implement a quality assurance program, cost control, review the quality of all uniforms and replace progressively as they complete their life span and another responsibility is to increase Kids’ City visitation and revenue.


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The Executive Housekeeper

A total of 465 staff

Wardrobe – 38 Macanese, PRC and Vietnamese Courtesy Team 14 PRC, Vietnamese and Filipino Cloakroom 16 Macanese and Filipino What would your typical day be like? I start my day on my computer and follow up on emails. My communication is usually done via email. I am usually ‘connected’ 24/7 and I’ll respond to work emails within an hour (during the weekend as well). It gives my guests or colleagues the support they require. They appreciate the extra attention and I don’t mind giving them that extra support. Then I meet all managers, supervisors and staff for the morning briefing, discuss with the overnight shift manager any follow up, special cleaning or staff issues. Next I prepare for subsequent meetings, follow up with suppliers, external / internal departmental meetings, staff meetings. I spot check on garment quality being delivered from the vendor, inspect EVS areas such as lobby, casino, toilets, exterior and HOH areas. Review all reports for budget, approve stock for the day; follow up with other departments on any outstanding issues. I visit the Kid’s City and tour the area and find out what business issues we are dealing with. What are your top three challenges this week? The biggest issue for me and for Macau in general is the high turnover of staff. Inadequate wage levels lead to employees moving to competitors regularly. There are no other major challenges at the moment. How did you choose those managers under you? I will usually look for a team player. The person we choose doesn’t have to be very experienced but they do have to have positive qualities. We also look for a willingness to adapt to change and someone always prepared to go the extra mile to achieve better results. To be frank I don’t like lazy people in my team!


How does pre-opening work compare with working in an existing property? What are the top 3 challenges in an opening? Initially I was working as a Project Manager in Shenzhen; I did the opening for a Resort Spa and managed that after opening.

is not just Black and White

The main goal of the pre-opening team is to build on experience and create excitement about the Hotel grand opening. The most important challenges are:• Meeting datelines • Expectation/Goal Achievement • Staff Relationship/Connection • Communication What are your top 3 tips for success in Housekeeping Management? • Understand the job description • Have a positive attitude • Knowledge • Micro-management/leadership skill If you had to do it all over again what would you do differently? I am most appreciative of all the opportunities I have had. Doing it over again, I would remind myself about the wonderful things in my life. For me personally I find that working on making each day a happy day is more sensible than trying to come up with a two or three year plan. I am always open to the opportunities that are presented to me. My philosophy is “Quality is more important than Quantity”. What advice would you give someone starting out in housekeeping?

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• They need to learn from the bottom up • They need to learn the importance of departmental operational processes • They need to be open to change • They need to set high performance goals What do you do for fun? • Karaoke • Listening to music • Yoga How do you think housekeeping management has changed since you started? The Housekeeping has had significant changes, especially in the area of productivity; we now have systems in place to measure this. Technology in this area has really taken off. When I started in housekeeping we only had basic reports from front office and basic communication, now we are able to manage the department using different technologies and improve communications. Where do you think it is heading? In the future we will have more technology and more systems to tackle the running of the housekeeping department with more precision. n

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Accompanying guests who request AllergyFriendly & ChemicalFree rooms by Brad Lucas


ncreasingly, guests are demanding allergy-friendly or chemicalfree rooms. Few hotels have solutions to address the need of this growing segment. Many feel it is too expensive to have allergy-friendly or chemical-free rooms. However, with the low-cost required to meet this need, there is little reason that all facilities cannot meet the needs of allergy – and chemical – sensitive guests. Many facilities are uncertain what is required, while others believe it may be too costly. How does one define an allergy-friendly or chemicalfree room? What are the costs? Many executive housekeepers assume it


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will require multiple products and services that are too costly to meet the need. With the growth of the Internet, guests now have multiple resources at their fingertips to help them find allergy-friendly and chemicalfree rooms. The good news is that now at least properties get a premium rate for these rooms. Articles have been published that guests are willing to pay a premium for allergy-friendly and chemical free­rooms. Creating an allergy-free or chemicalfree room can be any­thing from an allencompassing program requiring certification by a third-party to ensure the room is meeting requirements, to simply providing

the guest with a feather-free pillow. Costs range from a couple thousand dollars per room to just several dollars for new encompassing pillowcases and bed coverings. But chances are, guests requesting chemicalfree rooms will want something more substan­tial than a couple of new pillowcases and bed casings. There is a middle ground for executive housekeepers that can be implemented with little cost. First, allocate some rooms for chemical-free cleaning only. In addition to using feather-free pil­lows, incorporate hypoallergenic bed and pillow covers. The use of sealed HEPA vacuums in these rooms also helps. Also, use ozone generators to kill pathogens in the air and aqueous

ozone cleaning products to clean and sanitise the rooms without chemicals. Many properties already have ozone generators that turn smoking rooms into non-smoking rooms. Simply employ that same device to further sanitise an already smoke­free room. Ozone machines that guest room attendants use to replace cleaning and sanitising chemicals are economical to the point that many properties are cleaning and sanitising all their rooms without chemicals. The fact is that chemical-free rooms can be just as inexpensive to maintain as rooms cleaned with conventional chemistry. For example, many HEPA vacuums can be purchased now at the same price as a conventional vacuum. Chemical-free, aqueous ozone machines replace glass cleaners, bathroom sanitisers, mould removers and other chemical-based products. Remove all those items off the housekeepers cart and you can see how the costs fall. As an additional benefit,

ozone sanitises as it cleans. So, now that bathroom mirror is not only clean – it’s sanitised. From economical motels to highend resorts/spas and college dorms, this concept is gaining acceptance at a rapid pace. The largest properties in the world have seen the benefits of offering a chemicalfree alternative to the point that they have employed the program to all rooms. One of the most important points often overlooked is to make sure you acknowledge your guest’s request by leaving them a simple note or tent card in the room that their room was cleaned chemical­free. Guests appreciate that their request was addressed and as a result, are more likely to re-book at the same property. Be sure the front desk and reservation depart­ments know that the property offers chemical-free rooms. Too often, uninformed reservation and front-desk clerks simply forward these requests to the housekeep­ing department. It is much more effective if the guest’s

request can be answered the first time they ask. The guest will feel reassured if their request is addressed at the time of booking and acknowledged with a tent card or note when they check into their room. Executive housekeepers would better serve their guests if they of­fered chemicalfree, allergy-friend­ly rooms. It’s a request properties already get on a weekly basis and the costs are low. We are in the service business so why not give the customer what they want? And the costs are so low there is no reason why every property cannot answer the need. n

Brad Lucas has 25 years experience in the sanitary maintenance industry. He may be reached at


future of

window cleaning

When most people think of window cleaning they imagine a man with a ladder, a squeegee and a bucket of soapy water. However, like so many other industries window cleaning has moved on. Today windows can be cleaned using a specialised waterfed pole and pure water. From the safety of the ground, using no chemicals or detergents, windows, glass, sills, frames and building facades can be cleaned safely and efficiently. Pure water means you can clean up to 8 stories from the ground and your glass will dry sparkling clean and spot free. Call Ionic Systems Australia to find out more today

The Executive Housekeeper

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Hotel & Resort Foyers

Hotel & Resort Rooms

Hotel & Resort Kitchens




Mindful Employer: A SANE approach to mental illness in the workplace


ow many Australian workers know how to respond if a colleague or employee discloses they have a mental illness? If worried for an employee’s mental health, do you as managers know how to ask ‘Are you OK?’ Do you know the rights and responsibilities in regards to disclosure or workplace adjustments?

• A  dvice on how colleagues can support an employee in the workplace, who has a mental illness or is caring for someone with a mental illness.

With 45% of Australians experiencing a mental health problem in their lifetime, and 20% affected every year by conditions such as anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, it is likely that at some point, all workers will be impacted, either directly or indirectly. While businesses can have the best intentions, if their employees don’t know how to respond, the end result can be confusion, doubt and ineffective responses.

The training is delivered online via a secure web portal that can be customised. Training resources include three 30-minute eLearn courses, Mindful Employer Tip Sheets – covering key workplace issues such as Legal Rights and Responsibilities, Disclosure and Workplace Adjustments – and SANE Factsheets on a wide range of mental health topics – such as Depression, Anxiety, Treatments and Support for Family and Friends.

It is not just people managers that can benefit from a working knowledge on how to manage mental illness in the workplace. Those with a mental illness, their families, friends and work colleagues too, can all benefit. Research suggests Australian businesses lose up to $6.5 billion every year by failing to respond appropriately when employees experience mental health problems. One driver of this cost is absenteeism. A 2006 Government report estimated that around 18 million absentee days annually are attributable to untreated mental health problems. There is a lot to be gained by up-skilling a workforce so it can respond effectively when mental health problems arise.

• T  raining for managers and supervisors on how to respond effectively to mental health problems at work and how to support an employee who has a mental illness.

The Mindful Employer program is the result of SANE Australia’s discussions with a wide group of businesses across Australia, and with successful mental health programs overseas. Utilising educational tools such as eLearning courses and Tip Sheets on how to respond to mental health problems in the workplace, the program provides answers to important questions such as, what are the signs of a mental health problem, what to do if you are concerned for a colleague or employee, and how to manage reasonable workplace adjustments. Mindful Employer provides managers and employees with mental illness awareness training and the skills to work with, and support an employee who has a mental illness. The training increases a persons’ confidence and ability to work with a person who is affected, directly or indirectly, by a mental health problem. The training covers three core areas: • Information on the different types of mental illnesses, including the signs, symptoms and treatments. Helping to reduce stigma and change attitudes towards mental illness.

By becoming a Mindful Employer both employers and employees can improve their knowledge and skills in working with, and supporting, others who have mental health problems. With the right knowledge and advice a business can avoid potential productivity losses, while also providing understanding and support – two things that can make all the difference when someone is affected by a mental illness. n

If you would like to find out more, contact Mindful Employer program Manager, Charmaine Smith at visit or call SANE on (03) 9682 5933.

SANE Australia is a national charity working for a better life for people affected by mental illness – through campaigning, education and research.


| Vol 15 No. 3 |

The Executive Housekeeper


Azra Kolak


zra Kolak is the Executive Housekeeper at the Sofitel, Melbourne on Collins, a 363-room five star hotel set over fifty floors. Azra’s career has taken her full circle to return to where she “fell in love” with Housekeeping starting her career in hospitality as a room attendant at the then Regent Hotel in January 1995. In July 1996 the Regent Hotel became the Hotel Sofitel and Azra stayed on, later being promoted to Housekeeping Co-ordinator. In 2001 she returned after ten months maternity leave to take up a position as a Housekeeping trainer at the Sofitel Academy, training both staff and students to Certificate Level III. Later in 2001 she accepted a position as Senior Supervisor at the newly opened Mansion Hotel at Werribee Park, a 92-room hotel which was closer to home. She was promoted to Housekeeping Manager when the incumbent left in 2003. The Mansion Hotel was soon to be managed by the ever expanding Accor group as Sofitel Mansion and Spa Hotel. She enjoyed the challenges and learning opportunities that this smaller property presented to her, as she found she had to be more hands on not having the resources of a Purchasing or Human Resources Manager. When the hotel was sold, Azra was offered the position as Executive Housekeeper at the prestigious Sofitel Melbourne on Collins in February 2010 – back where she had started her career 15 years earlier. She hopes to stay in her current role and says she could not see herself working anywhere else as she enjoys encouraging her team to maintain high standards whilst trying to embrace the French culture of Accor.

immigrating to Australia in 1994. Whilst she has never used her degree in the business world, the knowledge she gained helps her to manage payroll and other costs. Azra enjoys her job and she loves working with people of different cultures. She welcomes new challenges and constantly works on Sofitel standards offering to hotel guests “Magnifique experience”. She loves to motivate her staff to maintain fitness by conducting warm up exercises each morning. Accor Brand has a recognition and rewards system for ambassadors where they can be awarded luxury points for exceptional service. With these points Sofitel Ambassadors can access the world’s most diversified Reward Gallery to redeem the points for goods on line. The hotel also has an Employee of the Month award program which is presented at an afternoon tea as well as a General Manager’s monthly lunch where several ambassadors are nominated to sit down and chat with the General Manager in a relaxed environment. To make Sofitel a better place to work, Sofitel Worldwide organize the annual Ambassador Engagement Survey when all ambassadors are asked to answer a questionnaire in order to identify areas for improvement. Azra’s personal cleaning tips include always working in an organized manner, the use of a doodlebug on bathroom walls and floors and also using of hot water for cleaning mirrors. Away from work, she enjoys music, zumba classes and decorating cakes for all her childrens’ friends’ birthdays. She has 2 children and 1 grandson. n

Back in her homeland of the former Yugoslavia, she studied and gained a Bachelor of Economics degree before

The Executive Housekeeper

| Vol 15 No. 3 |



Mike Taylor President Far North Queensland Professional Executive Housekeeping Network P: 0418 236 249 or 07 4041 0478 E:

New era for housekeeping network For many years Mike Taylor has been supplying cleaning products and equipment to housekeepers across North Queensland. Now Mike is switching sides to promote the housekeeping industry as President of the Far North Professional Executive Housekeepers Network (FNPHN). It’s a unique twist for the Network as Mike is its first Presidents without a housekeeping background. “It’s a bit different so I’ve needed to re-think from an Executive Housekeepers vision and develop trust in this highly worthy position. We share a lot of the decisions as a team, right down to things like drafting letters”. It goes without saying that Mike has huge respect for Executive Housekeepers and the ‘enormous roles’ which they play. “They manage budgets and rosters, they manage dispute resolution, they act as confidants to their large number of Room Attendants, the list is endless. Good reception service is always nice, but if a room isn’t nice then it hits you in the face like a brick bat.The buck really stops with Housekeeping”. Mike’s initiative, with the fantastic support of his committee for 2011/2012, is focusing on the development of a training program which promotes housekeeping careers to new workers in the industry.The program will work in collaboration with industry-based training organisation ‘Skill360’ at Cairns’TAFE campus. “Most people see housekeeping as only a job and not a full career,” Mike says. “We want to teach room attendants the right procedures and make them proud of their work so that they can move up to Supervisor and Executive Housekeeper roles. Especially as outsourcing becomes more common, housekeepers are having more opportunities to move around, which is exciting for those in the industry”.


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The Executive Housekeeper

Mike understands that social events in the industry will help to retain members of the housekeeping industry, which is why he and his committee worked hard to hold the 1nd Housekeeping Olympics in 2010. “We had over 60 spectators for some events. We’re hoping to challenge the Melbourne Housekeeping Association at some point in the future”. “We also take the room attendants and housekeeper’s on bus trips to different hotels to see how they present their rooms, which gives all attendee’s some really good ideas to take back to their respective workplaces. We go out to lunches, hold networking events and hold trade shows, we encourage interaction amongst all members and suppliers to give Executive Housekeepers every opportunity to know what’s new, what’s coming up and where they can procure it”. Mike’s found his first job in 1979 when at cleaning equipment supplier Hire Kingdom Wholesale selling equipment such as commercial/ industrial vacuum cleaners and Carpet Extraction machines to various industries.This experience was valuable to Mike when he opened his own business, North Queensland Pressure Cleaners, in 1987. This venture allowed Mike to head back to Cairns where he had grown up.The business thrived until Mike sold it 14 years later. Mike’s next move was into a totally different field as a real estate agent. “Someone should’ve slapped me. I soon realised that the days of long lunches just weren’t for me”. His life then took another wild turn when he moved to Lae, New Guinea, to run a factory producing goods for the hospitality industry such as toilet paper, kitchen towels and paper products. Despite starting strongly, the factory ran into serious trouble mainly with local staff going “walkabout” for long periods of time”. When New Guinea floated (their currency) the Kina, it was devalued on the international market. All of the import /export businesses

such as mine were losing lots of money quickly, so I decided to uproot again and move back to Cairns”. It was a hard choice for Mike. “New Guinea is an amazing country. It’s exotic, dangerous, vibrant, full of colour and some absolutely amazing food markets”. He did manage to use his contacts however to set up a company exporting vanilla beans sourced from New Guinea to countries including Japan, the United States, Mexico and Germany. Mike later got a job at Swedish company SKF Bearings, although he admits: “I’m not an engineering person! Just was not where I was meant to be in life!!”. He didn’t enjoy his time there so two years down the track he used his networking skills to secure a job at Campbell Brothers selling commercial dispensing equipment for restaurant kitchens and laundries.This was in conjunction with cleaning products. He received little training but relied on his product knowledge from previous experience helped him to manage his role. In November 2010, the company was bought out by Ecolab and Mike now works in the company’s Commercial Hygiene Systems division. It was during his time at Campbell Brothers in 2004 that Mike joined the FNPEHN as a supplier member. He soon joined the committee before being elected Vice President in 2009 and finally President in 2010. “It was a great personal challenge for me. My background in sales positions helped me to boost the Network’s membership being able to travel around in my day to day activities and lobby prospective members”. He also attributes it to his passion for public speaking. Mike mentions that he somewhat regrets not entering into a hotel management role when he was younger. However, his enthusiasm leading the FNPHN suggests that his time with the industry will almost certainly be successful and enjoyable. n

The Hotel Bed Valance by


Picket Quilted Valance “Siam” Pewter

The one product that can spoil “Bed Presentation” in the best Hotels around the world is the “Bed Valance” HotelHome has perfected the Bed Valance with the 4 sided Picket Quilted Bed Valance that fits perfectly every time. Manufactured in Australia from heavy duty, fully washable HotelHome fabrics, this long lasting very affordable product has proven to be a necessity with discerning Housekeepers and Hotel Management in Australia’s leading properties.

Picket Quilted Valance, “Max” Putty Runner & Porto Cushion, “Simoni” Gatsby Blue

A U S T R A L I A 1800 HOTELHOME (1800 468 354) Picket Quilted Valance, “Siam” Black Runner & Bel-Air Cushion, “Fiddlesticks” Dalmatian

The Executive Housekeeper

| Vol 15 No. 3 |


Do your Bed Valances fit perfectly? 

by Gary Coman

Most hotel housekeepers from all parts of the world have had “the horrors” at some stage, having to deal with “ill fitting” and shabby Bed Valances. It is the one Bed Covering product that can continually upset housekeeping staff, hotel management and most importantly the paying guest.


Why is it, this seemingly basic bed furnishing product can cause so much grief to so many and bring down the overall presentation of a hotel room?


Too many people involved in some form of supply to this industry, do not understand what is required to produce a properly fitting Bed Valance, using the correct fabrics which must give many years of hassle free neat and stylish bed presentation. Some of these people do have a certain amount of textile experience, however the hotel Bed Valance has almost nothing in common with the cheaper retail style of product and it can


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The Executive Housekeeper

be an expensive mistake in more ways than one, when not chosen correctly. Decisions on hotel room decor quite often involve a whole series of people. These can include architects and specifiers, interior designers, FF&E operators, hotel management and executive housekeepers. In most cases the housekeeper personnel know more about the requirements of the Bed Valance than all of the aforementioned people. However, fabric choice and product design are most often decided by people that are after a look and sometimes a price, without fully understanding the function of the product.

Fabric The fabrics chosen are very important because they perform a different function to most fabrics used in hotel furnishings. The fabric must be heavy duty with a tight construction and it should have a high abrasive resistance to cater for pull along luggage and foot traffic. It should also be washable for boot polish scuffs and to reduce maintenance costs, whilst also being FR where applicable and non creasing for that perfect presentation for every guest.

Four sided Picket Quilted Bed Valance

Style The older style pleated Bed Valance is not so often seen in recent years. One of the negatives with this style was its inability to always sit evenly on the bed base and if it were pulled slightly to one side or end, it would then become caught in the bed castors during the cleaning process. This would eventually shorten the life of the Valance and cause it to look drab and “ill fitting� in too short a time, not to mention the extra time wasted by housekeeping. The Picket Quilted Valance style is becoming the standard for discerning Hotel properties. This simple, yet very neat finish fits in with almost any hotel room decor, from semi traditional to ultra modern commercial and anything in between. A Picket Quilted Valance, when manufactured correctly and properly colour coordinated, should be that silent well tailored bed accessory that tastefully

blends in with the whole hotel room decor and not stand out like white socks exposed with short dark suit trousers.

The bed base deck lining should never be exposed, even when guests draw back the bed covers, so a courtesy flange minimum

8 cm wide in the matching Valance fabric is always included. The Valance height should cover half of the castor for ease of floor vacuuming and bed mobility. This automatically takes the eye off the fully exposed castor which is a trait of beds with covered bases that in most cases, are not trying to compete with Hotels requiring the more professional look of a proper Bed Valance. The Picket Quilted style is only made four sided, to ensure a snug fit (not tight) because the quilting has a degree of give which helps the Valance slide over the base and stay there at all times, even during sheet replacement. Housekeeping staff are under enough pressure to keep to a time limit on room maintenance, a shabby Bed Valance is not something that can be made to look good, no matter how much extra time is wasted on it. Hotel guests are definitely more discerning today, with much higher expectations of presentation and cleanliness in their choice of properties they wish to stay in. Something very obvious like a shabby Bed Valance can be the catalyst for them to be looking for other areas in the room and maybe the whole Hotel, where they can be more critical of the standard that is not up to scratch and thus another customer is lost. Hotel management are easily frustrated with the knowledge that their hotel standard and overall room presentation is being let down by something as simple as the incorrect choice of Bed Valances and the associated costs in replacing them. They are also very aware of the expectations of hotel guests as per the above. n

The Executive Housekeeper

| Vol 15 No. 3 |


| Analysis






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| Vol 15 No. 3 |

The Executive Housekeeper

F F (02) (02) 4958 4958 8877 8877 W W

Emotional intelligence retains staff By RACHEL GREEN Delivering a high standard of hotel accommodation involves more than managing the physical characteristics of rooms and buildings, or purchasing goods and services; it’s also about managing and retaining a dedicated team of excellent housekeeping staff. Executive Housekeepers have the difficult balancing act of managing, training and retaining staff while also meeting the high expectations and demands of their guests. This article illustrates how emotional intelligence can help Executive Housekeepers do this. It explains what emotional intelligence is and isn’t, and how emotions drive the way managers, staff and guests behave. Practical steps are included for implementing emotionally intelligent strategies when managing staff to maximize the chance of retaining good ones. Issues specific to a predominantly female workforce are also considered. It will become clear that emotional intelligence is a vital set of skills impacting on work productivity and success in the housekeeping departments of the hospitality industry.


was presenting to a group of people recently when I had the opportunity to chat to audience members over coffee. “How long have you been working here?” I asked the gentleman I was standing next to. “Just over a year.” “How is it?” “Great, they’re a supportive group to work with. I don’t get paid as much as my previous job but it is better working here.” “Why did you leave your last job?” “It was a good job, technically more challenging than here, but the manager was a prat. It got to the point that, even though I loved the work and was really good at it, I couldn’t stand working for her or with her any more.” “What did she do to annoy you so much?”, I enquired, curious to get his definition of a “prat”. “She was mean spirited and could never find anything good to say about her staff. And moody too. She’d be happy to pick me up instantly for any faults I might have or mistakes I might have made, but she was unable to praise anyone or to acknowledge any of the good work I did. I think she wanted to keep the glory to herself. She’d also challenge everything I’d say without even letting me finish; it felt like I was under attack all the time. It just got to the point where I could not face her for one more day so I quit and came here. Here they appreciate what their staff do.”

What do we have here? Emotions. This technically minded person left his job not because of wanting to advance his technical skills, not because of more pay, but because he wanted a different emotional outcome from his day-to-day interactions with his manager. In fact he wanted a more emotionally intelligent manager. This kind of scenario is played out every day in organisations across Australia, including in the hospitality industry, and amongst some hotel housekeeping staff. Feelings and emotions drive behaviour Emotions are relevant to the running of every hotel. Why? Because feelings and emotions shape the behaviour of your workforce, male or female, young or old, senior or junior, experienced or new. This means that if someone behaves in your housekeeping department in a certain way the behaviour is often driven by emotions. Thus, if you want to influence or change people’s behaviours then look for and manage the emotions under their behaviour. For example, if your housekeeping staff feel determined, motivated, and enthusiastic about achieving the highest possible standards when cleaning their rooms, it would impact positively on work output, wouldn’t it? Similarly, standards may not be as high or the rooms may not be ready on time if your staff feel complacent, apathetic or disinterested in their work, or if they

personally feel humiliated, unimportant or discouraged. How you interact with them and what you do for them has a big impact on how they feel. What impact do you have on your staff after you have passed them in the corridor, spoken to them, or had a meeting with them? Do you know? Even if you don’t know, they will. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou. When you want to get your whole team pulling in the same direction and consistently maintaining the same high standards, emotions matter. How you relate to your staff is also influenced by how you feel. Emotions influence your behaviour as the Executive Housekeeper, even when you are not aware of it. Research by Joseph Forgas, from the University of Wollongong, shows that thought, memory and emotion are inextricably intertwined, and that even mild shifts in feelings influence memory recall, judgment and behaviour, whether you realise it or not. Self-awareness can be a big help here! Being an Executive Housekeeper is not just about managing rooms, budgets, rosters, time, VIP guests, and similar housekeeping matters, but also about managing the

The Executive Housekeeper

| Vol 15 No. 3 |


emotions of your staff and guests. Many a manager has moaned to me about people problems, and how they cause them more angst than any technical issues they have to deal with. Emotions are at the core of people problems, that’s why emotional intelligence matters. Your level of emotional intelligence influences how well you manage your emotions, and those of your staff.

3. Emotional awareness of others: The skill of perceiving and understanding others’ emotions.

What is emotional intelligence?

5. Emotional self-management: The ability to manage your emotions.

The very essence of emotional intelligence is emotions. Dr Ben Palmer and Professor Con Stough from Swinburne University in Melbourne, define it as, “The skill with which you perceive, express, reason with and manage your own and others’ emotions.” Their Genos emotional intelligence model covers seven dimensions: 1. E  motional self-awareness: The ability to identify your emotions. 2. Emotional expression: The ability to express your emotions clearly.


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The Executive Housekeeper

4. Reasoning with emotions: The skill of utilising accurate emotional information in decision-making. (This is not the same as making emotional decisions.)

6. Emotional management of others: The skill of influencing the emotions of others. 7. Emotional self-control: The skill of effectively controlling strong emotions. There are many different skills involved and everyone is likely to be more or less skilled in each dimension. How skilled are you at each one?

As Aristotle said, “Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.” This applies to performance reviews, doesn’t it? Before further explaining the value of emotional intelligence, it is important to say that EI complements IQ; it doesn’t replace it. IQ is still important, as are technical skills. In addition, people’s personalities, cultural backgrounds, life experiences, ages, religious beliefs, gender and luck also contribute to their success. What emotional intelligence isn’t There has been a lot of hocus pocus written about emotional intelligence so I also want to clarify what it isn’t. At many of my presentations I get predictable remarks, such as “We’re in for a group

hug are we Rachel?” and “Are you going to make us warm and fuzzy?” No! this isn’t what emotional intelligence is about. There is nothing warm or fuzzy about feeling angry, anxious, resentful, frustrated, scared, intimidated, cheated, lonely, or powerless; yet these are all emotions, and all emotions that may occur in hotel staff. Emotional intelligence involves the full range of emotions, not just so-called “positive” ones. Similarly, emotional intelligence is not about making people happy, or saying “yes” to people. Nor is it about being emotional. Being emotional may be no more intelligent than ignoring or repressing emotions. Can emotional intelligence influence your bottom line? Yes! Recent Australian research has shown that the more emotionally intelligent managers and leaders are, the more likely they are to be successful. This applies to you and the managers in your hotel. In fact, research by Palmer and Stough has found that emotional intelligence accounts more for managerial and leadership success than IQ does, although both are important. Also, there are increasing amounts of economic data that demonstrate that people with higher levels of emotional intelligence (EI) economically outperform those who have lower levels of EI. I don’t just mean in terms of their pay packets, but also in terms of annual business turnover, increased sales, customer loyalty, etc. For example, David Rosete, from the University of Wollongong, found that, “Executives who achieved superior business outcomes scored higher on the EI ability test. The ability measure of EI predicted effective leadership over and above wellestablished workplace measures such as reasoning ability and personality…”. And does it matter how emotionally intelligent your staff are? Yes! Further research conducted by Palmer and Stough has found that employees who have higher levels of emotional intelligence are more likely to cope with organisational stress, have less absenteeism and higher job satisfaction. In other words, people with lower levels of emotional intelligence could be having a detrimental effect on your bottom line. How much does absenteeism cost

your hotel and add pressure to your housekeeping team? Employee engagement and staff retention are also influenced by emotions. Disengaged staff are less productive, they may not be absent but they may not be present either. Do you have disengaged staff? Also, each time a member of your staff leaves it costs your hotel money. Staff quit, just like the gentleman in the opening scenario, when they feel demoralised, undervalued or undermined. Emotions influence the success of your department and hotel in retaining staff. Employees are far less likely to seek alternative employment when they feel valued, proud of their work, and excited about working for you, aren’t they? Which emotions you recognise, acknowledge, manage and foster in yourself and others could make a big difference to the ease with which your housekeeping department functions.

Suffice it to say, ignoring emotions may be possible, but there are negative consequences if you do, such as less buy-in on decisions, more conflicts and misunderstandings, and diminished levels of staff retention. What does an emotionally intelligent Executive Housekeeper look like? Here are a dozen features that an Executive Housekeeper with high levels of emotional intelligence may display. Use this as a quick self-test and tick off those that may apply to you and give yourself a score out of twelve. I have used the female gender pronoun, as it is less cumbersome than she/he. Men please feel included; emotional intelligence is important for you too, this is not a “girly thing”. • Cares about emotions in herself and others, rather than thinking emotions are just a nuisance.  atches for emotions in herself and • W others, and knows how she and her staff are feeling.

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• Is able to listen to staff, including those who are complaining about her, without becoming defensive, angry or demeaning. • Validates  others’ feelings rather than dismissing, trivialising or ridiculing them. • Does not take things personally. • Deliberately goes out of her way to foster positive emotions in her team. • Takes responsibility for her own emotions without blaming or dumping on others. • Has a high level of self-awareness and understands the emotional drivers of her own behaviour. • Nips in the bud any negative emotions and behaviours in staff, rather than ignoring them or hoping they will go away. • Doesn’t put off difficult tasks such as performance reviews because of uncomfortable emotions, e.g. anxiety, fear of upsetting people, or awkwardness. • Is emotionally honest to her staff about how she is feeling. • Helps staff feel appreciated and proud of their work and personally expresses such feelings to them. Practical applications of emotional intelligence for managing female staff Executive Housekeepers, in many hotels at least, have a predominantly female workforce. Are there issues specific to women that relate to emotional intelligence and staff retention? Yes! Women may be emotionally aware and know when they feel jealous, resentful or hurt, but if they don’t have high levels of emotional intelligence they may find it difficult to manage these emotions openly and fairly. As a result bitching, back-stabbing and mean behaviours may occur if things are not going well. Why is this? Because women may place emphasis on the need to maintain a harmonious and conflict free workplace. When uncomfortable emotions arise they may therefore avoid any direct expressions of the emotions because they are uncomfortable with conflict and “don’t want to rock the boat” or “hurt people’s feelings”. Many women have been brought up to be conciliatory and not to be combative.


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Nice girls aren’t meant to get angry, apparently! However, in response to suppressed emotions women may become vicious. Men may become violent.

If you alter how your staff are feeling you alter the drivers of their behaviour

Managing staff emotions becomes even more important under these circumstances. Let’s apply the principles of emotional intelligence to a situation with two female employees.

1. Role model emotionally intelligent behaviours. The more you role model these behaviours the more likely it is that your staff, colleagues and guests will adopt similar behaviours. Walk the talk of emotional intelligence. Do not propagate the commonly held management strategy of “Do as I say and not as I do” when it comes to emotions.

I once helped a manager who had two women at work who weren’t talking to each other. He’d called them into his office and laid down the rules about workplace communication and what he expected of them. In other words he gave them knowledge. Their behaviour didn’t change. I helped him plan a meeting with them to talk about the feelings that were going on underneath their behaviour. It turned out that one of the women had held an afternoon tea in the staff room, and had not invited the other one. His first step was to ask the woman who was not invited, “How did you feel?” She had felt slighted, ignored and hurt. Unable to tell the other woman this she had instead fallen into resentment, sulking and back-stabbing. The second question the manager asked was, “How would you like to feel?” The woman who had felt ignored said, “Included”. This is logical. Research shows that emotions are not the unpredictable mess that many of us have been brought up to believe. The third question the manager asked was, “What can be done to help you feel included?” Between them they came up with some practical solutions. The problem was solved. No, the manager hadn’t become a counsellor, he had merely used emotional intelligence skills to get the two women to sort out the problem and improve their behaviour. People issues always involve emotions – to be able to manage people you need to be aware of and able to manage emotions, yours and theirs. By being aware of how you and others feel, and managing these feelings well, you have more choice and control over how effective you are as the Executive Housekeeper.

Five steps in applying emotional intelligence skills in your department:

 onitor your emotions in 2. M interactions. When you are approaching people to talk with them, especially on difficult issues, monitor your own emotions. Are you in the right emotional space to have this discussion or is it best that you first manage your own emotions so you are in the right emotion for the task? 3. P  redict emotional consequences. Choose how to inform people of your decisions using accurate predictions of how they will feel on hearing your news. Communicate the information in the way that will best help people hear and act on your information rather than their becoming defensive or resentful. 4. Express a wide range of emotions clearly and safely. Express your emotions clearly and safely so people know what is going on in you and don’t have to guess. If you don’t explain, people may misunderstand you badly. Women may sometimes take things personally, but you may reduce this possibility by informing them of how you feel first. For example, I have been heard to say to my staff, “I’m really tired today as I didn’t sleep well last night, so if I seem less enthusiastic about something you suggest please know it’s nothing that you’ve done or said, just that I’m tired”. If you do explain honestly and carefully then you may build trust between yourself and others. 5. Self-reflect. At the end of the day reflect on how you felt that day, what did you do well and what could you have done better? Ask yourself, “What did I do or not do today, either accidentally or on purpose, that may have left my

staff feeling unappreciated, frustrated or slighted?” Similarly ask, “What did I do or say today that will have helped my staff feel important, confident and appreciated?”. Use this information to help you be even better the next day. Conclusions Emotions drive behaviour. Your skills in managing your own emotions and those of the people around you can influence the outcomes you achieve, the impact you make,

and your abilities to inspire, influence and negotiate. The more able you are to help your staff feel appreciated, enthusiastic and heard the more likely you are to retain them – and that could save you a lot of time in staff selection and training, couldn’t it? There are benefits of being skilled in each dimension of emotional intelligence, what are you doing to foster the emotional intelligence skills of yourself and your staff? There are ways to develop each of the

About the Author Rachel Green is an emotional intelligence and engagement specialist and award-winning communication consultant. She has qualifications in psychology, speech pathology, adult education and the Feldenkrais method. Rachel provides keynote speeches, seminars and 1-1 coaching in emotional intelligence to professional and business people, and works and stays frequently in hotel accommodation. In 2010 she was awarded the highest level of accreditation in the professional speaking profession: Certified Speaking Professional. She is the Founding Director of Confident Woman Australia, Australia’s only national organisation devoted exclusively to self-esteem and self-confidence in Australian women across the life span. Their website contains many free resources: She also has an extensive website on emotional intelligence:, a YouTube channel on emotional Intelligence: RachelGreenEI, and a Facebook page: “Emotional Intelligence: Putting it to work”. She has recently produced a series of videos on emotional intelligence in the workplace. Contact her on: or 08 9390 1188.

7 dimensions to a higher level. Bring your emotional intelligence to your hotel with you and develop it to its full potential. Everyone will benefit when you do. This is only a brief overview of emotional intelligence. There is so much more to say. There is a lot more information on emotional intelligence on my website for you. You are welcome to visit it or send your staff there: n References 1. C  iarrochi Joseph, Forgas Joseph & Mayer John. (Eds) Emotional Intelligence and Everyday Life: A Scientific Inquiry. Psychology Press. New York. 2nd Edition 2006. ISBN: 1-84169-028-7. 2. Palmer B. R. et al. “Genos emotional intelligence inventory: A measure designed specifically for workplace applications.” In the book by Stough C., Saklofske D. and Parker J. (Eds.), Assessing emotional intelligence: Theory, research and applications. Springer, New York, pgs 103-118, 2009. 3. Rosete D. “Does emotional intelligence play an important role in leadership effectiveness?” PhD thesis. University of Wollongong, 2007.

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Hilton On The Take advantage of the great location at the elegantly






Melbourne. From the hotel it’s a leisurely walk through the historic Fitzroy Gardens to the Paris-end of the CBD, and literally a kick away from all the action at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Rod Laver Arena, and Melbourne Park (home of the Australian Open tennis tournament). With an extensive, lightfilled conferencing and events floor, a brand new spa – eforea, the iconic and recently refurbished (March 2011) Park Lounge bar, and informal dining at Gallery Restaurant the hotel is a destination to be enjoyed.


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Park Melbourne

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Global guest amenity supplier unveils

bold new branding & Company vibe

“At the heart of our mantra is our brand essence,” says Michael Matulick, CEO at Concept Amenities. “It expresses our brand values and our view of the world that drives us day in and day out. It also expresses the way we strive to make a positive difference in the lives of each other and our clients.”


oncept Amenities, a global leader in the supply of environmentally responsible guest bathroom amenities, has a refreshing, new look. It’s all part of a rebranding campaign that puts a new face to a company whose cutting-edge concept, driven attitude and eco-crusader philosophy remains as constant as ever. But there’s more to Concept Amenities’ rebranding effort than just the lush new colours and sleek minimalistic style of everything from product packaging to promotional materials. “At the heart of our mantra is our brand essence,” says Michael Matulick, Chief Executive Officer at Concept Amenities. “It’s a single thought that encapsulates the soul of who we are. It expresses clearly what our brand stands for in a simple and powerful manner. It underpins our fundamental promise to clients. And that brand essence is – creatively inspired sensory indulgences.” For nearly 30 years, Concept Amenities has been an innovator in providing the hospitality industry with the best of both worlds – environmentally responsible products and amenities that entice and delight hotel guests. But according to Matulick, guest amenities can be so much more than just toiletries: “We’re not just a supplier to the hospitality industry. We’re a trusted partner who plays an integral role in shaping our customers’ brand experiences. We are intrinsically

[ADVERTORIAL] 60 | Vol 15 N 3 | The Executive Housekeeper o.

linked to the creation of memorable guest experiences.”

Packaging is constantly reviewed to ensure it is as eco-responsible as possible.

Matulick points to rising customer expectations and the quest for more indulgent pampering as something that inspires Concept Amenities to continually innovate its products and services: “Whether its evocative new fragrances, sensual textures, exotic tastes or engaging sounds, we consider everything that can enhance our bath and body products to create unique and desirable experiences.”

“We are decreeing a bold aspiration for the Concept Amenities brand,” says Matulick. “It expresses our brand values and our view of the world that drives us day in and day out. It also expresses the way we strive to make a positive difference in the lives of each other and our clients.”

And, in keeping with Concept Amenities’ brand values, an environmentally sensitive approach extends to every aspect of its products. Soaps are moisture rich and formulated from vegetable-based ingredients. Liquids are blended from high quality biodegradable ingredients and enriched with natural and organic extracts.

To that end, Concept Amenities recently introduced several new brands to its extensive range of quality products. These include Pure Beach, Linden Leaves, Australian Organics and The Luxury Collections comprised of the aforementioned brands, plus established brands French Connection, MOR, V!VE and Jean-Michel Cousteau by Marcoid.

Linden Leaves With a strong sense of guardianship of their pure New Zealand environment, Linden


Leaves recently embarked on a journey with Concept Amenities to create a pure and natural, comprehensive range of guest amenities. Drawing on the benefits of essential oils, plant-derived exfoliants, natural moisturisers and a unique New Zealand heritage, the Linden Leaves collection is a spirited range of natural body care products with unisex fruit and plant-derived fragrances to care for the skin and delight the soul. Formulations include unique oils and extracts; pure ingredients, natural botanicals harvested by hand. With a soft palette of earth tones that easily blends with any room decor, the range includes shampoo, conditioner; shower gel; body lotion in 45 ml bottles; bath and body soaps in 20 gm and 40 gm sizes; dental kit; shave set; vanity kit; sewing kit; nail file; shoe mitt; shower cap and loofah. A matching amenities tray also compliment the line.

Australian Organics World-renowned for their bold eclectic colour palette and delicate blend of native Australian wild-harvested and organic botanicals formulations, retail brand Australian Organics has partnered with Concept Amenities to launch a collection of uber-eco guest amenities to the hospitality industry.

The innovative collections of hair and body care guest amenities contains no synthetic fragrance or colours. This unique sulfate-free collection is infused with native botanicals, antioxidants, vitamins and pure essential oils to delicately cleanse and nourish the hair and body to improve moisture levels. Free from parabens, PEGs, phthalates and GMOs, this natural formulation is infused with a combination of Lavender, Lime and Clary Sage essential oils. With colours that easily make a statement on any hotel vanity, the range includes nourishing shampoo, conditioner; hand and body wash; hand and body lotion in 30 ml and 60 ml bath and body soaps in 20 gm and 40 gm sizes; dental kit; shave set; grooming kit; sanitary bag and shower cap. A complementing amenities tray also accessorizes the line.

care products for planet-savvy hotel guests across the world. This marine-themed, branded collection – Jean-Michel Cousteau by Maricoid – is inspired by the beauty and wonders of the oceans and reflects Cousteau’s life-long commitment to the environment. The line contains a 100% organic seaweed extract from pristine Tasmanian waters. The comprehensive line of liquids, soaps and accessories contain distinctive features including paraben-free formulations with 100% organically certified Seaweed extract and vegetable-based soaps with raw materials sourced from established plantations. Moisturising lotion features grape seed oil and organic aloe vera extract and fragrance notes include traces of tropical coconut, apple, and sweet florals. n

JMC Famed ocean explorer, environmentalist and filmmaker Jean-Michel Cousteau is partnering with Concept Amenities and Maricoid to introduce a carefully crafted environmental collection of bath and body

For more information head to

| Vol 15 No. 3 | 61 [ADVERTORIAL] The Executive Housekeeper

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The Executive Housekeeper

Why use a steam cleaner? Are your expensive chemicals enough? by Steve Robards

Do your tiles and grout look a little tired and worn?

How do you clean around your taps and sinks, toilet hinges and showers? Can you clean your upholstery, curtains and carpet and leave them dry?

Are you prepared for your next attack of bed bugs? Instantly! Without chemicals.


he benefits of steam have been well known across Europe now for many decades now. A steam and vacuum cleaner can be found in most homes and business particularly in France and the home of steam Italy. Australians had been slow to embrace the new technology, but now steam cleaning machines are being widely accepted in all areas in the hospitality and accommodation industries. Steam cleaners have come a long way over the last decade and the range and types have increased making them a versatile cleaning tool for many industries. Nearly all steam machines now come with highly efficient wet/dry vacuum cleaners built in that utilise water for filtration and this eliminates those messy dust bags. Some also incorporate a Hepa filter that can capture dust mites down to 4 micron in size. Many of the mid to high range models also provide a detergent tank that applies small quantities directly into the steam. Controlled testing of steam has found that with the correct application a 98% kill rate in less than two seconds can be achieved

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Clinical studies on Bedbugs have found that adults and their eggs can be killed when exposed to temperatures over 55 deg C. All modern steam cleaning units are all capable of attaining temperatures of almost double this at the application tip and with the correct procedures will break the Bedbugs breeding cycle in one application with no nasty or expensive chemicals. Most important is the room is ready to use again immediately after the treatment.

on all germs including many of the highly infectious types that are found in hospitals that have developed resistance to harsh chemicals. All steam machines are supplied with a wide range of tools that can be used on any surface and almost any material. In the motel industry from housekeeping and general areas to food production, steam can be of great benefit. One major problem that all accommodation providers have in common is Bedbugs. These tiny bloodsuckers are extremely hard to remove with the conventional chemical treatments and rooms can have up to three expensive applications to break their breeding cycle. In most cases there is lost revenue whilst the room is treated due to the residual chemical smell and it’s irritating effects on some people, in particular Asthma suffers.


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Accommodation operators cannot really be blamed for outbreaks of Bedbugs as they easily hitch a lift from anywhere in the world via baggage and clothing. The arrival of summer usually sees an increase in Bedbug complaints as the warmer temperatures promotes breeding as well as an increase in people travelling. Bedbugs arriving in our winter from the warmer northern hemisphere can after arrival lay dormant until our summer begins. Steam is by far the best and most efficient method of treatment to kill bed bugs, hence the recommendation for steam in the bed bug code of practice. With pest control companies charging up to four hundred dollars for each application, the cost of purchasing a steam unit for in house treatment is easily justified with the purchase price covered in treating several rooms. Steam can be used to clean an entire room either by itself or in conjunction with regular cleaning methods. Some operators may have several rooms that are only cleaned with steam for customers that suffer from Asthma or have other negative chemical reactions. The high temperature of steam provides a greater degree of sanitation for cleaning areas such as toilets and bathrooms again with little or no chemical use. Carpets can be vacuumed then treated with steam to remove odours from pets, urine and vomit. Residual smells from tobacco can be removed from all areas including curtains. Windows and mirrors are quickly cleaned along with fly screens and window tracks. Toilets can be cleaned and sanitised including those hard to get at areas with little personal contact. Shower recesses along with tiles and grout are also easily cleaned and sanitised.

Marks on painted surfaces from grubby hands and luggage are quickly removed.

importance especially in kitchens that run 24/7.

Timber, tile and vinyl floors can be treated with the floor mop attachments eliminating the traditional and so ineffective dirty water, mop and bucket tradition again without the use of harsh chemicals. Users of steam have found an overall cost saving in chemical purchases not to mention the negative short and long term affects on those doing the cleaning health.

Steam quickly cleans all areas in kitchens from ovens, range hoods, racks, trolleys and fridges and this is where steam units fitted with detergent injection can be of great benefit. Harsh cleaning chemicals are replaced with environmentally friendly detergents that with the high temperatures of steam break down the grease and grime and effectively kill all bacteria anywhere in a working kitchen.

Steam has been used for many years in food production from cooking to cleaning and controlling bacteria that can kill via food poisoning. This is an area of great

Health inspectors and HACCP have long understood how effective steam is in operating a healthy kitchen environment. A quality steam vacuum cleaner with proper



training and understanding can go a long way towards keeping an establishments reputation intact. But more importantly it is the consumer who demands the highest level of cleanliness and hygiene particularly when your facility becomes their home for the night. So ask yourself this question... Could the cleaning in your premises be improved? Perhaps your time to switch to steam is here. Of course in this day and age everyone wants more. OK, how about we add a professional steam iron with that. n


That’s what you get with Jani-King Commercial Cleaning. Whether you’re a five star hotel, small family motel or B&B, Jani-King Commercial Cleaning will make your premises shine! From floor to ceiling. Inside and out. Find the Jani-King Commercial Cleaning office nearest you at And start getting the star treatment you deserve.

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THE NEW GENERATION IN GUEST AMENITIES PO Box 553, Newport Beach NSW 2106 Tel: 02 9979 1500 Fax: 02 9979 2555

Stress Management


re you a little tired? Overworked? Feel like you want to strangle the living @#$% out of whoever crosses you next?? You may be under stress. Stress has a number of ways of presenting itself, including ulcers, hives, headaches, any of the examples noted above, or just death.

wound up in our own worries that we fail to compare to those of others. My children were once discussing whether or not I was good looking and my daughter said she thought I was. At that my eldest son looked at me and said “Compared to what?”

Now whilst we would all like to design our own job without stress, the fact remains that we can’t live without it. More to the point, we can’t avoid it.

The famous cartoon character Mr Magoo was well known for stumbling into a mess all because he was myopic, or short-sighted. In addition to describing a visual defect, myopia is also used to describe a “lack of discernment, or long range perspective in thinking or planning.” Thank you dictionary.

There are of course a number of well documented means of minimising the impact of stress, including exercise, yoga, music etc, however one of the least known, possibly because you can’t sell it, is perspective.

Keeping things in the proper perspective then, can also be considered part of “looking at the bigger picture” or “taking a long range view”. So, how do we do this when our hands are about to encircle a throat??

(Perspective, in art, a system by which three-dimensional space can be convincingly portrayed on a two-dimensional surface. Perspective is based on elementary laws of optics, in particular the fact that distant objects appear smaller and less distinct than near objects. Thank you Encarta.)

First, Stop! Then, take a deep breath and maybe a walk around the office, to carefully consider “the bigger picture”. If I kill this person, what’s the long term view? Five to ten for justifiable homicide? Unlikely. Better to rethink the situation calmly, or consider the alternatives. For instance, is it the current situation that has upset us, or is the fact that this minor aggravation has presented itself at the right moment for us to focus all of our anger upon?

Keeping a good perspective on life is not easy, because we usually get so

Many years ago, I went to see someone for advice because I was getting so angry all the time (mostly with other drivers on the road!). When I was asked to compile an anger diary to see what was setting me off, I discovered that driving had nothing to do with it, it was only that other lessthan-perfect drivers presented me with an opportunity to get angry. By keeping an anger diary, I was able to get perspective on what was happening (ie. look at the situation from a different angle), and consider it later when I was calm. Funnily enough, the anger disappeared once I recognised what was occurring, and my driving was once again enjoyable. We can do the same thing with work – if we’re getting annoyed/angry/stressed, write down what’s annoying , and look at it later that night to see if we were angry for the reasons we thought at work, or if there was something else at play. Alternatively, compare the situation to someone worse off (and yes, there is always someone worse off!), and be grateful! And finally, if you are still tempted to have a big whinge because you’re so badly off, just ask yourself – compared to what?. n

Dean Minett is Area General Manager Australia/NZ for Ascott International and has worked in, managed or consulted to hotels, motels, resorts, restaurants and casinos for over 30 years. He is co-author of two hospitality and tourism textbooks. Email:

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Workplace Harassment by Maree de Bondt, General Manager, Human Resources, AHS Hospitality


he allegations made against the former Head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Dominique Strauss-Kahn, by a room attendant, provide a reminder to employers and hotels in particular, of their responsibilities in the event of a complaint arising regarding harassment or bullying in the workplace. Under State and Federal legislation anti-discrimination law, an employer regardless of their size, may be vicariously liable for discrimination and harassment which occurs in the workplace or in connection with a person’s employment unless it can be shown that “all reasonable steps” have been taken to reduce this liability. In addition to the check list below, employers should have a robust and well understood internal system for dealing with complaints of discrimination and harassment. No longer is it sufficient to pin the policy on the notice board in the staff canteen or load it into the intranet. It is incumbent upon an employer to ensure that policies are accessible, credible, understood and utilised. Harassment and Discrimination Federal and State legislation outlines that unlawful harassment occurs when someone is made to feel intimidated, insulted or humiliated because of their race, colour, national or ethnic origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation or some other characteristic specified under anti discrimination or human rights legislation. Harassment can include behaviour, such as:

• Telling jokes about particular racial groups • Sending explicit or sexually suggestive emails • Making derogatory comments or taunts about someone’s race or religion: or • A  sking intrusive questions about someone’s personal life, including their sex life. It is important to consider that the absence of complaints is not necessarily an indication that there is no harassment or discrimination occurring. Someone who is a victim of harassment or bullying behaviour may not complain. This is not necessarily because they consider the act to be trivial, but because the person may lack the confidence to speak up or feel too intimidated or embarrassed to complain. Employers also need to ensure that the working environment is not sexually or racially “hostile.” These sorts of environments include those where crude conversations, innuendo and offensive jokes are part of the accepted culture. A person can complain about the effects of a hostile working environment, even if the conduct is not specifically targeted at them. Bullying Under the Occupational Health and Safety Acts, employers and employees have a legal responsibility to comply with any measures that promote health and safety in the workplace. As a result of this

An “All Reasonable Steps “checklist could include: • Preparing and promoting a written policy on workplace discrimination and harassment • Training staff to identify and prevent workplace discrimination and harassment • Establishing an effective internal complaints procedure • Appointing trained harassment contact officers • Treating all complaints seriously and investigating them promptly • Ensuring that appropriate action is taken to address and resolve complaints • Monitoring the workplace environment and culture – e.g. employee surveys 


The Australian Human Rights Commission

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duty, employers need to eliminate or reduce the risks to employees’ health and safety caused by workplace bullying. Some people refer to bullying as harassment or discrimination. While bullying and harassment look and feel the same, unless it is linked to one of the attributes covered by the various pieces of anti-discrimination legislation, it is not unlawful.

Some people think, Size doesn’t matter...

As part of the harmonisation of the State and Territory Occupational Health and Safety Legislation, Safe Work Australia has release a Draft Code of Practice “Preventing and Responding to Workplace Bullying.” The draft code defines workplace bullying as “repeated, unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety.” Some examples of bullying include: • Abusive, insulting or offensive language • Spreading misinformation or malicious rumours • Behaviour or language that frightens, belittles or degrades, including criticism that is delivered with yelling or screaming. The Victorian case of Brodie Panlock highlights the tragic consequences that can arise when bullying in the workplace is not dealt with and is a case study for all employers.

...but sometimes it does!

Ms Panlock joined Cafe Vamp, a popular cafe in Melbourne in 2005. The Coroner, Peter White, described Ms Panlock as ”emotionally vulnerable” because of her age, self esteem and inexperience. Mr. White said she became “infatuated” with her Manager, Mr. Nicholas Smallwood and they had an intermittent intimate relationship for 15 months until her death. In this period, the relationship became unhealthy as Mr. Smallwood, and several others “systematically bullied her, both physically and emotionally,” Mr. White described the efforts of Mr. Smallwood and his colleagues as ‘’relentless in their efforts to demean her”, which included covering her with chocolate, having oil poured over her and dismissing her as ‘’worthless’’. It was Mr. White’s view that Ms Panlock “put up” with this behaviour because she sought “approval and acceptance”. In his findings, Mr. White indicated that he was satisfied that ‘’this almost daily routine of inappropriate pressure at work’’ culminated in Ms Panlock jumping from a car park building on September 20, 2006. He said it was his view on the evidence that on that night, Ms Panlock felt what she considered an ‘’unbearable level of humiliation’’

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The offenders and owner of the cafe were convicted of workplace safety charges, including failing to provide a safe workplace, and were fined a total of $335,000. The men avoided criminal charges given the Crimes Act did not address this issue of bullying. n

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Further information is available from the Australian Human Rights Commission and Safe Work Australia

Unit 8, 12 Frederick Street, St Leonards NSW 2065


phone: +61 2 9906 2202 | fax: +61 2 9906 3466 e-mail:


Put your Guests’ mind to Rest by using true green products by Anne-Marie Byrne, Business & Communications Director of Good Environmental Choice Australia


he drive towards greater sustainability has resulted in widespread adoption of green principles within facilities management. In the hospitality industry, major hotels chains and boutique operations alike state their commitment to the environment by participating in water and energy saving practices via signage in guest rooms, where guests are asked to do so too. Savvy consumers are aware that these practices can provide cost reductions and kudos, and so drive the demand to demonstrate commitment to green practices beyond what is now the norm. As such, the use of green cleaning products and services are increasingly viewed as an

integral part of business sustainability and facility management programs. In general terms, ‘green cleaning’ aims to protect the health of a building’s occupants and service personnel whilst minimising the environmental impacts of the cleaning process itself. Green cleaning takes into account the processes involved in producing the cleaning substances as well. In this way, a facility’s commitment to the environment has implications for purchasing decisions throughout the supply chain. Certification body Good Environmental Choice Australia’s (GECA) Cleaning Products Standard, for example, details that to reduce environmental and human health impacts, components of general purpose cleaners should either be environmentally

innocuous or should readily biodegrade, and should not negatively impact on human health through regular use. The benefits of using less toxic cleaning products in your facility extend to staff and guests. Improvements to indoor air quality and a reduction in allergens, irritants and chemical gases can provide your guests with a safer and healthier environment in which to stay. For your cleaning personnel, who have longer-term exposures at higher concentrations to cleaning products, notable benefits of using less toxic products include increased staff wellbeing and productivity, reduced absenteeism and staff turnover. In turn, this creates demand for products and services that are able to achieve optimal outcomes for the triple bottom lines of people, profit, planet. So it makes sense to communicate environmental credentials to guests and suppliers. Market support for green cleaning products and services as well as their supply chains is often weakened by confusion over claims and definitions. Declaring a product as ‘natural’, ‘organic’, ‘environmentally friendly’, ‘eco’ or ‘biodegradable’ without verification of environmental credentials has caused widespread distrust in the market. Leading local market research group Mobium’s latest report Living LOHAS 4 confirms the ongoing, rising demand for cleaner, greener products, and that embracing sustainability practices is a beneficial long term strategy for business. The Living LOHAS 4 report also reveals that Australians want business to address sustainability yet doubt their ‘green’ claims. Interestingly, Mobium’s research shows that

Using environmentally certified products like those bearing the GECA Ecolabel can help you verify your hotel’s commitment to the environment.


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The Executive Housekeeper

independent eco-labels provide a platform on which to build trust in the marketplace. The global principles and procedures for eco-labelling and types are set out in (ISO) ISO 14024. The Type 1 ecolabel requires independent auditing by a third party, and is therefore regarded as the most robust, credible and assuring of the three. GECA’s Environmental Choice Australia Ecolabel – a Type 1 ecolabel – is awarded to products and services that meet voluntary environmental performance standards that are based on global best practice. The GECA Ecolabel offers an easy and reliable way for hospitality purchasers and providers to choose products and services with trusted environmental credentials for their cleaning requirements.

GECA’s Cleaning Products Standard and Environmentally Preferred Cleaning Services Standard determine minimum environmental performance criteria across various aspects of a product or service’s life cycle, such as sourcing, manufacture, use and disposal. The GECA Cleaning Products Standard for example measures performance against things such as suitability for greywater systems, recyclability and organic claims. n

For more information on GECA certification, standards and certified products, please visit, email or call (02) 6287 3100

The GECA Cleaning Products Standard is currently under review. The draft will be released for comment in late 2011, with the final released in early 2012. If you are interested in being part of the ‘Technical Working Group’ to provide feedback and input to this review, or are an ‘Interested Party’ wishing to receive the final updated standard, please email GECA at stating your level of interest. Anne-Marie Byrne is the Business and Communications Director of Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA), Australia’s leading Type 1 product certification body. See

The Executive Housekeeper

| Vol 15 No. 3 |


Bed Bug Barrier Bites Back at Bed Bugs by Tony Abrahams


ince winning The New Inventors in May 2009, Tony Abrahams has been determined to find the total solution for the bed bug pandemic.Tony currently manages fully furnished apartments to short term travellers so bed bugs have always been a constant problem, especially around the warmer summer months. After years of disappointing and toxic chemical treatments, Tony started researching a natural powder called Diatomaceous Earth that is registered for bed bug control in many countries around the world except Australia. After learning more about Diatomaceous Earth it was clear that this was the best solution to control bed bugs for many reasons. Apart from being 100% effective, bed bugs have no resistance because there are no poisons to become resistant too. Diatomaceous Earth kills bed bugs by drying them out, it attaches to the bed bugs shell and draws out the moisture and subsequently kills the bed bugs. Another reason why Diatomaceous Earth is far superior to other chemical treatments is because Diatomaceous Earth lasts for years and years to give ongoing protection, there is no other chemical treatment in the world that can do that. In June 2010, Tony submitted an application to the APVMA for the registration of Bed Bug Killer and recently received registration in September 2011.

Current bed bug products Bed Bug Barriers Place Bed Bug Killer inside our Caster Barriers or Screw in Barriers to kill every


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The Executive Housekeeper

Another reason why Diatomaceous Earth is far superior to other chemical treatments is because Diatomaceous Earth lasts for years and years to give ongoing protection, there is no other chemical treatment in the world that can do that.

bed bug that tries to walk up the bed leg for many years to come. Bed Bug Barrier Tape It’s a super clear and smooth tape that bed bugs cannot walk across. Place anywhere to stop the access of bed bugs. If your bed legs can’t use our Bed Bug Barriers then you can use the tape on any sized bed leg or bed base. Use on skirting boards, walls or headboards to prevent bed bugs accessing the bed via the carpet or floor. Bed Bug Proof Mattress Encasements Mattress protectors do more than protect the mattress; they also remove the bed bug’s harbourage areas forcing the bed bugs to move around the bed looking for a new harbourage area. Place Bed Bug Killer in all harbourage areas near the bed to kill bed bugs looking for a place to nest.

New and upcoming products in 2012 Bed Base Encasements that kill bed bugs using Bed Bug Killer Place Bed Bug Killer into the encasement panelling to kill bed bugs on the bed base for the life of the mattress. Bed bugs looking for a harbourage area will walk across the Bed Bug Killer and die.

The Front Line Place The Front Line on the walls that are hidden behind the beds or furniture. Place Bed Bug Killer into The Front Line to kill bed bugs trying to access the bed or wall via the carpet or floor. Best used in conjunction with the Bed Bug Barrier Tape as this also prevents bed bugs accessing the bed from the carpet or floor. The Sub Place Bed Bug Killer inside The Sub and adhere it to the underside of the bed making sure the ribbon is touching the floor. Place Bed Bug Barrier Tape on all the bed legs. Bed bugs trying to access the bed will walk up the ribbon and into The Sub where they will find Bed Bug Killer and die. n

Bed Bug Barrier manufactures all of the products in the range. Deal directly with the manufacturer and save! Contact Tony Abrahams directly on 0400 116 406 or email for more information DON’T LET THE BED BUGS BITE!

Bed Bug Barrier is proud to introduce TM

BED BUG KILLER Australia’s first DIY Bed Bug solution!

Bed Bug Killer is a natural powder that kills bed bug for many years No Pest Controller Needed

Do It Yourself & SAVE! Place in cracks & crevices Underneath edges of carpet & vinyl floors Power points & wall sockets Behind skirting boards In wall voids and other areas known to harbour bed bugs & in Bed Bug Barrier devices

Active constituent: 900g/kg AMORPHOUS SILICA


Scientifically tested 100% effective Years of on-going protection Bed bugs have no resistance No toxic chemicals Does not repel bed bugs Bed bugs takes Bed Bug Killer back to their nests to kill other bed bugs Ready to use puffer pack One application lasts for years No odour 100% Australian Green & eco friendly All natural Included in the CoP for bed bug infestations in Australia APVMA Approved No 65290/50641

Kill EVERY bed bug that walks up the bed leg with our Bed Leg Barriers ONE APPLICATION LASTS FOR YEARS! PLACE BED BUG KILLER INSIDE CASTER BARRIER

End of 2011 special All bed bug proof mattress encasements for bed bases only $12 each


T: 1300 760 646

Don’t let the bed bugs bite!


What Is A Healthy Hotel? A healthy hotel is a quality premises of any size which undertakes regular sanitising using the Health Protect International process.

What is the Healthy Hotels Program? The Healthy Hotels program focuses on allowing certified hotels to present to today’s health conscious travellers, as a truly exceptional facility. Unlike having your mattresses and carpets sanitised with any other provider, Health Protect International offers a comprehensive sanitisation and branding solution as opposed to just cleaner mattresses for your hotel. An opportunity to truly turn hygiene into profit, to turn a maintenance cost into one of the most powerful branding points of difference since cable TV or non-smoking hotel rooms. • Increase occupancy, strengthen loyalty – add value to your room proposition

• Healthy Hotels GuideTM • Protects and ensures the reputation of member properties by bringing regulation and sustainability to an otherwise loose and premature industry • Quality Assurance program ensures consistency is delivered across the entire network • An initiative that is supported by bodies such as AAA Tourism • Organic treatments which are manufactured to US EPA, USDA A-1 Approved Standards • Enables you to offer relief to the 30% of travellers who suffer from allergies • Guaranteed Stain and Odour treatment available • The only company to offer complete service coverage with over 100 trained and supported operators through the Asia Pacific

• Significantly extend mattress and carpet lives, saving budget

• A registered member of Carbon Neutral, a scheme which involves the contribution of funds to enable the planting of trees to offset global warming

• Save up to 170,000 litres of water per annum

• An award winning company and service

• Quality assured, organic treatments

• The only sanitisation process recommended by leading mattress manufacturers

• Environmentally friendly solutions

With the only trained, supported and integrated sanitising service network in the world, along with the exclusive rights to the world’s first and only Healthy Hotels ProgramTM and Guide, Health Protect International offers a solution that is simply unparalleled in not just one way, but in every way. The Healthy Hotels Program enables you as an accommodation provider to meet burgeoning trends in your marketing by ensuring your guests stay in not just a clean room but a sanitised room, whilst significantly reducing your maintenance costs. Partnering the world’s leading green sanitising technology with the most eloquent of market communication ensures that your initiative is economically rewarded. Whether you are aiming to increase market share aggressively or simply maintain it prudently, with the Healthy Hotels Program you can provide the ultimate hygienic room offering, enabling you to boost guest loyalty, increase your market share and strengthen the financial performance of your group through increased profit in the short, medium and long term with one pervasive, professional solution.

Graeme Bausch Health Protection Services Simple

cleaning is not enough to reduce allergens

Sanitisation is the only proven method that can significantly reduce allergens. Mattress, carpet and upholstery sanitising is a largely ignored sector of the hospitality industry. The merits of sanitising have been examined closely with a long and compelling history of test data and professional scrutiny. All recommendations to date point to the need for sanitisation for the preservation of peoples’ health and safety. Simple cleaning is not enough to reduce allergens. Sanitisation is the only proven method that can significantly reduce allergens.

Our proven process for the removal of foreign objects and dust mite, and the addition of residual protection to prevent the return. Using 100% biodegradable, natural and effective unique cleaning products and methods that are completely safe for you, your family, pets and the surfaces being cleaned, foreign objects and dust mites are removed from your carpets, mattresses and upholstery, whilst leaving a residual protection against return contamination.

Health Protect International Sanitising Specialists

0417 515 819

The Executive


Product News

LG Commercial Laundry – A New Era in Commercial Laundry Choosing commercial washers and Dryers for On Premise Laundry, Guest Laundry facilities or for washing mops and Microfibre cleaning cloths has become much easier with the launch of the stylish LG Giant-C 10 kg capacity Commercial Washers and Dryers by the Australian National Distributors, Equipe Solutions Pty Ltd. LG is well known for its innovation and expertise in domestic washing machines and their laundry products are market leaders in 25 countries. LG entered the commercial laundry market in 2006 and is well established in the US, Europe and Asia with commercial Laundry products and has earned an enviable reputation for innovation, reliability and significantly reduced water and energy consumption compared to many conventional washers. Environmental impact is a major factor in any housekeeping operation and LG’s commercial range excels with low water consumption – around 49 litres total for an average wash cycle. Another innovation is LG’s Inverter direct drive motor which eliminates the belt and pulley

systems which can be a major service issue in conventional machines. LG’s Direct Drive system increases the motor’s stability and reduces noise and vibration whilst improving energy efficiency and lowering running costs.

LG Commercial Laundry Equipment is distributed throughout Australia by Equipe Solutions and their selected Distribution companies. The range of machinery is supported by an Australia-wide parts and service network.

Another feature is the high spin speed on the washer. The 10 kg Stainless Steel drum is up to 25% larger than competitive machines and spins at an incredible 1150 RPM at top speed with a G-force of 413G. This helps improve rinse and speeds up drying cycles, which, in turn, assists in reducing energy consumption.

For more information on the LG machines or for the location of your nearest distributor please call 1800 788 250 or visit our website: Email:

Loading and unloading is easier as well with a large tempered Glass door on all models and reversible door opening on the Dryer. LG Machines are fully programmable and are available as stand alone or stack machines with a choice of coin, token, card or manual operation. The LG washers are also available with Brightwell detergent feed pumps to eliminate powdered detergents and manual dosing of chemicals, saving money on consumables and improving site safety.

Enzyme Wizard Cleaning Up Australia In what is a significant market trend and one that reflects the move to sustainability, increasing numbers of major city CBD sites are adopting ‘chemical-free enzyme cleaning’.“The use of enzymes to clean is not new in the industry but in the past has not been totally successful,” explained Clearchoice Products’ principal John Spiers. “The main reason for this is because different strains of enzymes when put together in a formula attack each other rather than the dirt.“However, Melbourne manufacturer Enzyme Wizard has the technology that allows the different enzyme strains to co-exist together in the same formulation. Consequently, the enzymes can identify all various types of dirt and work together in a positive way to maximize the results. Enzyme Wizard Directors Jamie Flinkier and Raymond Subel have been demonstrating the Enzyme Wizard range to a large number of cleaning companies and institutions over the past two years. It’s said their company’s range has been ‘widely accepted in the Victorian market as the way of the future in chemical free cleaning’.

Some six months ago Sydney’s “BSC Ezko Property Services” conducted trials using Enzyme Wizard products on Sydney CBD sites… and it found clients were very receptive to the trials and to their results. “It has two main products to clean most surfaces and is chemical free. Ezko embraced the new system where only the enzyme and micro fiber cloth are used to clean saving time and money,” Spiers explained, Ezko’s contract manager Harkan Hasam, who oversaw the trials said, “all the applications were better than what was expected. All the cleaners using the product were also very happy as there was no need for colour coding because there are only two products used, one for the floor and one for all the surfaces above the floor.

There is also a specific Enzyme Wizard range that tackles jobs such as carpets; mould and mildew; and internal drain cleaning i.e., urinals and grease traps. To top it all Enzyme Wizard in July of this year was awarded DFE (design for the environment) status by the EPA in the USA, which is indicative of its commitment to bringing green cleaning technology to the Australian market.

“It is so easy to use and because it is chemical-free, there is no danger to our cleaners in relation to spills or accidental mixing of harsh chemical. They love using it.”

The Executive Housekeeper

| Vol 15 No. 3 |


The Executive


Product News

Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley Resort and Optii Keeper partner to improve productivity

Sea World Resort and Water Park rolls out Environmentally Responsible Bathroom Amenities

A 21% productivity increase has been recorded at the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley only two months into the deployment of Optii Keeper. Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley Resort, a member of the Intercontinental Hotels Group, deployed Optii Keeper in late March 2011 with a focus on achieving additional efficiencies to its housekeeping department. Building on improved practices introduced by a new Executive Housekeeper in late 2010, the key challenge was to overcome the ‘tyranny’ of distance in a resort property spread over a large area. “This is a fantastic result to date and credit needs to go to all parties involved.” says Greg Dicks, Financial Controller of the hotel. “Even after making adjustments for changes in our general operating environment, Optii is without doubt a major component in the improvements when comparing housekeeping efficiency against the same time last year.This has facilitated a saving that has already paid for Optii Keeper.” “Our team took to Optii Keeper like ducks to water.” adds Dianne Vidler, Executive Housekeeper. “Therefore we were able to capitalise on the additional efficiencies straightaway and also take advantage of other operational benefits like a faster turnaround of rooms. Now that we have measurable information on the performance of the department and our colleagues available, managing the department has not only become easier, but also more effective.” The team at Optii Solutions is naturally thrilled with the results achieved by the hotel. “Optii Keeper is all about enabling hotels to achieve efficiencies in their operation. Housekeeping has suffered from a glass ceiling for many decades, imposed by the traditionally manual process of managing the resources in the department.” says Soenke Weiss, CEO of Optii Solutions. “The transparency, automation and ability to remotely manage the team from a single location enables previously unthinkable results. ‘What gets measured gets managed’ truly comes alive in housekeeping in the 21st century.”


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The Executive Housekeeper

Sea World Resort & Water Park has introduced a range of biodegradable Eco Pure Guest Amenities. The beautiful range has a true environmental feel and carries the brand name

Nero Descaler Tablets
 Scale is the biggest enemy of all household appliances that involve the use of mains water. Weatherdon have just released a handy new Nero product to descale tired looking kettles. Just drop one of these little magic dissolvable tablets in your kettle and bring to the boil and presto your kettle will look clean as a whistle. Not only will your kettle look new again on the inside these tablets can also be used to clean out irons and coffee machines! The new NERO Descaler Tablets are a must to keep your kettle, iron or coffee machine running at optimum performance. • Removes scale build up • Restores efficiency of the kettle, iron or coffee machine • Prolongs the life of the appliance • Contains 6 tablets For more information please visit:, email us: or call our friendly team on (02) 9906 2202.

Eco Pure across its range of guest bathroom exclusively made by Concept Amenities. The packaging, featuring 15 ml biodegradable tubes; is manufactured with Eco Pure®, an organic additive, which allows plastic to fully biodegrade within a few years in landfill conditions. The fragrance in this range has been specifically formulated, and has a invigorating lemon citrus fragrance. “There is a growing trend world wide for properties to use more environmentally friendly packaging. We are excited that Sea World Resort & Water Park has chosen to use one of our Environmentally Responsible Product ranges, it sends a positive green message to everyone that stays at this great Queensland resort,” explains Steve Duggan, Director of Marketing & Communications for Concept Amenities. Sea World Resort & Water Park General Manager Ernst Pfister said that Sea World Resort offers its guests a great range of quality products and choosing environmentally responsible products is an important factor.

Executive Housekeeper Vol 15 no 3  

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