Executive Housekeeper Volume 23 No. 1

Page 1

The Executive


Vol 23

No 1



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Publishers LETTER


elcome to this edition of the Executive Housekeeper.

You may think of superheroes as ones wearing capes and shooting spider webs. Yet have you ever considered how housekeepers make magical results when they are up against enormous pressure? In another brilliant piece by Janet Marletto, we learn how housekeepers balance privacy with highly personalised service, and the sacrifices they make to enhance the product. Her article touches on some of the fascinating horror stories a housekeeper in a high-end hotel can encounter, along with the devotion to the job rarely seen in departments outside housekeeping. Another of our most read and respected contributors, Liz Lycette, talks about emotional engagement with guests. Many auditors rate their emotional connection with each staff member, judging them on whether they had a positive or negative interaction. This article is an insight into the ways housekeepers can ensure a positive impression every time. Did you know there are many subtle hints to a guest’s

wants and needs inside their room? The article is essential for learning what to notice. In one of our more confronting articles, we look into the enormous amount of modern slavery. Truly shocking in both its magnitude and the fact it still exists today, the piece looks at how the harsh conditions felt by workers across the globe links to Australia. We then learn how to minimise our contribution to the problem. The article first ran in another journal that we publish, its amazing response sees it re-published here for you to read. There is much more inside this issue from a range of outstanding contributors. Thank you again to everyone who provides articles or ideas to the magazine. We are reaching a bigger audience than ever with our online copy. If you would prefer a hard copy, please email admin@adbourne.com. Regards Neil Muir

View The Executive Housekeeper online now! Scan here or visit www.adbourne.com/exec-housekeeper

ADBOURNE PUBLISHING 18/69 Acacia Road Ferntree Gully VIC 3156 PO Box 735, Belgrave, VIC 3160 www.adbourne.com Editorial Contributor Thomas Johnson

ADVERTISING Melbourne: Neil Muir P: (03) 9758 1433 F: (03) 9758 1432 E: neil@adbourne.com Adelaide: Robert Spowart P: 0488 390 039 E: robert@adbourne.com

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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.



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Contents 6

PEHN news



11 Humble super hero of the hotel industry 14 A snapshot of modern slavery 18 Going the extra mile 21 Success through staff choice 23 Green checklist for the hospitality sector 26 Wendy Robson Profile 28 Welcome to DoubleTree by Hilton Perth Northbridge 31 Slips trips and falls 35 Hard floor care 38 A truly clean matter 41 Can an AI-Powered messaging platform transform the guest experience? 44 Cleaning cost reduction through simple innovations 46 Safety training 48 Have you got the best seat in the house 50 A cleaning contractor shares his secrets to keeping hotel gyms clean 53 Product news

The Executive


Cover images show DoubleTree by Hilton Perth Northbridge

Vol 23

No 1






t has been a quite first quarter of the year for PEHN, and hard to believe that Easter is already upon us. The hotels in Victoria have been extremely busy due to the Australian Open, then closely followed by the Grand Prix, which keeps most of our members very busy in the first Quarter. Our webpage – www.pehn.org – is now up and running and constantly evolving. You can now enrol directly through the website and manage your annual membership payments all through the site. Existing members will soon receive an email that will give them information on how to create their own personal log in details, this will allow our members to access special members benefits and information pages that can only be accessed with your log-in. Keep your eyes on your inbox for this information and log in to update your details/manage memberships etc.

RECEPTION /HOUSEKEEPING RELATIONSHIP A good relationship between Housekeeping and front office is paramount in the smooth operation of any hotel operation. Communication between the two departments must be strong, and an understanding of each other’s operational areas helps to strengthen the bond and achieve the best guest experience possible. The Crown Housekeeping team recently helped to support one of their front office colleagues by helping to raise funds to help send her to London for the receptionist of the year awards after she took out the Australian title. Congratulations to Lara. 

The committee will be meeting soon to plan some activities for the remainder of the year, and we will get this information out on our webpage as well as emailing our members as soon as possible. If you have any suggestions on things you would like to see PEHN organize or any questions at all, please do not hesitate to send us an email at pehn.aus@gmail.com

XMAS PARTY 2018 – 70’S EXTRAVAGANZA PEHN held their annual Christmas party at Basco Brunswick, with a 70’s Extravaganza theme. It was a great turnout with everyone donning their 70’s outfits and dancing the night away to the music from that era. Lots of raffle prizes, plenty of laughs and a good time had by all.

What does it take to be Australia’s best Hotel Receptionist?


n 2015, AICR launched its Australian Chapter headed by Sevag Keroghlian, Front Office Manager of Crown Promenade Melbourne. AICR is the International Front Office Managers organisation aimed at recognising and mentoring young hoteliers around the world. AICR was established in France in 1964 and is currently in 17 countries, continuing to grow. Sevag credits the association as being a platform to show his passion for the hotel industry, whilst creating an awareness of how much work goes into this role, which instils motivation in receptionists by recognising their efforts.


The entire Housekeeping Team was behind Lara by assisting her with the fund raising which was raised towards Lara’s flights to London. Thank you AHS and entire housekeeping Team for your support. Lara Patel from Crown Metropol Melbourne flew to London in January 2019 after winning both the State and National AICR Receptionist of the Year competition in Australia. Accolades continued for Lara, as she secured third place as Best Receptionist in the World.

Below, Lara and Sevag discuss her fantastic achievements. SK: Congratulations for winning the Best Receptionist in Australia and for placing third in the world in London. What an achievement! Tell us how the whole experience was for you - from winning the State Competition to National and then representing Australia in London LP: When I was asked to compete in AICR’s Receptionist of the Year competition I was excited to be part of it as the experience was extremely unique and the competition is highly regarded, especially in Europe and the United Kingdom (UK). I entered the competition in Melbourne which involves candidates attending a panel interview with industry professionals and completing a fifteen-minute role play scenario based around hotel guest interactions. This gave me the opportunity to showcase my skills that I have learnt within Crown Metropol Melbourne on the Front Desk. After I placed first for Victoria and South Australia, I took my place in the national competition in Canberra. This involved an interview, scenario and an exam. This stage was definitely more challenging however I was able to showcase my passion for customer service through the scenario and demonstrate my knowledge of the role through the exam. When I represented Australia in London it was extremely special for me and I wanted to stay authentic with my service and knowledge on the international stage. The people I met in the UK held a similar passion for the tourism industry and it was great to learn from each other. The exam was definitely the most challenging part of the international competition however I do feel it was the only way to find the best receptionist, as the other finalists were extremely talented at what they did. SK: Why it is important for front desk to have a great relationship with housekeeping Team or department? LP: I believe it is important to have a great relationship with the housekeeping department as it enables smooth communication through both departments and can make all operations as efficient as possible. The teams both need to work together to reach the ultimate goal of having the highest quality of rooms in the most efficient manner in order to check in all rooms as the guest needs them. This enables a higher level of service and in turn creates a positive culture for both the Front Office and the Housekeeping team. SK: What made you decide to join the hospitality industry? LP: I always had a passion for tourism and hotels, so I decided to study business in hotel management when I finished high school in 2014. I enjoyed the idea that working within hotels enabled you to work internationally and was highly customer focused. I started working in food and beverage, which was a great start to learn the fundamentals of customer service and exceeding expectations. I then transferred across to work in the front office department, where I learnt the operations of how accommodation within a hotel works on a daily basis. I now work on the front desk

within Crown Metropol and continue to learn something new every day. SK: What are some of your thoughts regarding positives and room for improvement in hospitality industry? LP: The main positives are that it is a growing industry that continues to push the limits on new hotel concepts, such as eco-hotels and all-inclusive resorts. This gives choice for the customer and creates conversation on what a guest looks for when travelling. It also keeps hotel chains continuing to strive to be the best and offer new services that puts them apart from the rest of the competition. The main improvements that could be made, especially within the Australian hospitality industry, is to implement innovative technologies within hotels. You can see within Asia and Europe that technology is a huge driver in the updates within a hotel’s service offering, however it is something that is not as fast moving within Australia. This could prove to increase our competitiveness if technology was a main focus. SK: Is it getting harder to find staff that are happy to exude the ‘hospitality gene’ to the highest standards? If so, why? LP: I do not believe it is harder to find staff that are happy to give the highest quality of service if you offer a workplace that encourages self development, inclusiveness in meeting team goals and budgets and provides updated training regularly. It is definitely true that some people are more natural in the way they provide service but with the right encouragement staff can be engaged within a team and can be empowered to deliver a unique experience and showcase their best features when interacting with the guest. SK: Do you have a general message to the hospitality industry? LP: If your staff are valued and are always encouraged while developing their skills within the workplace they will naturally be more inclined to deliver their highest level of service. It is important however for a front office attendant to be authentic in their service and to always try to go the extra mile when interacting with guests, as this will enhance the guest’s experience. SK: Share with us some of your personal goals for the next three years LP: My personal goals for the next three years are to continue learning more about hotels and the main operations within its key functions. After I am confident in the key functions within the hotel I will then hope to decide where I would like to build my career.  For more information about the State competition which will be held on 20th of July contact: AICR Australia: http://www.aicraustralia.com.au or info@aicraustralia.com.au



e finished off 2018 with a sensational Christmas party at the Star Broadbeach, and the next week we put on our Santa suits and helped give out gifts that were donated to the children’s hospital and an aged care facility on the Gold Coast, a big thank you to all our association who donated to the toy appeal and to the Housekeeping Department at the Sofitel Broadbeach for all the gifts they collected for the aged care facility. Out first Breakfast in February was at the Sofitel Gold Coast where we held our AGM for the year and a new committee was elected: Libby Sharp



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Executive Housekeeper

Our Guest Speaker was the new General Manager of Sofitel Gold Coast Rens Breur who came from Sofitel Darling Harbour, a delightful man who gave a very inspiring talk on his career. Four life membership badges were presented to: Sheila Gobie, Colleen Reynolds, Melissa Bent and Libby Sharp. These ladies have all been members for over 18 years. It was wonderful to also mention that Sunfresh Linen were celebrating 20 years in the Laundry Industry Congratulations to an amazing team. We also spoke of Wendy Robson from Sea World Resort who is celebrating 30 years working at the same Resort – see her story on page 11. Our March Breakfast was held at the RUBY HOTEL which opened at the end of 2018 in Surfers Paradise. Our Guest speaker was Andrew the Hotel Manager from Ruby and Shane Edwards from Sofitel and Christian Espino from Star who are both clefs d’or Australia, they both had great stories to tell, two very delightful gentleman and very informative.


Tiffany Egan the Executive Housekeeper from Crown Plaza who was present at the breakfast informed us that herself the General Manager and her Supervisor were having their heads shaved for the Leukaemia Foundation the next day and were hoping to raise three thousand dollars We gave Tiffany $200 towards her goal. A wonderful charity to support. Our Committee has implemented some changes for our monthly meetings with incentives for our Suppliers, two guest speakers, and a monthly forum at the end of each meeting, the most exciting is our Housekeeper of the year award, with the winner announced at our annual Christmas party at Star, and a community survey is being sent out to all our members as to what they would like to see at our meetings. We also chose our charity for the annual Race Day at the Gold Coast Turf Club, we will be working alongside our local Radio Station 92.5 to support GIVE ME FIVE FOR KIDS which helps raise money for equipment for the Gold Coast and Tweed Children’s Hospital. Our next Breakfast is our Easter Breakfast at Mantra Legends in Surfers Paradise with all our Easter eggs going

to the Homeless on the Gold Coast, they will be handed out by our charity King and Queen members Ian and Sandy Sneddon.

Libby Sharp – President SEQPHA libbysharpsmail@yahoo.com.au 0419 140 157

Our committee is strong and very focused this year and we hope to accomplish something noteworthy and admirable in our Association.



02 9906 2202 | www.weatherdon.com.au | sales@weatherdon.com.au


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efore analysing the current role of Housekeeping, let’s quickly look at the evolution of the fascinating hotel industry. Although it is complex, it can be oversimplified. Technically, a hotel is comprised of guest rooms, a lobby, and reception. In fact in France inns offered a public room where travelling gentlemen gathered during a layover and were able to dine. On the other hand, travelling ladies, retreated to their rooms upstairs where their meals were served in their rooms. It wasn’t until the French Revolution that true “restaurants’ were developed to “restore” one’s energy by serving “bouillon” ( broth). (Source: French Gastronomy, Jean-Robert Pitte, p. 120) Therefore, independent restaurants preceded hotel restaurants. It took time for the waystations to evolve from purveyors of basic services for travellers and horses to what we would recognise as hotels varying in service levels. The focus of this article is high end hotels. That is not to say that the same strengths and talents are not needed or visible on all levels. No matter the level, the housekeeping team is too often taken for granted, ignored, or even disrespected by guests and/or other hotel employees who have no clue as to the load the

Too often the actual hero is behind the scenes and overlooked or even undervalued by those in the limelight. Those with insight and an appreciation for the entire team recognise the invaluable contribution of Housekeeping to the overall success of the operation.

heroic Housekeeping team carries day in and day out… with grace. If we agree that Housekeeping is the heart of the hotel; then it is only fair to recognise that the room attendants are the heart of the Housekeeping department. Each one hasher own personal story of a fully produced film or special on Netflix! This person often arrives with little or no experience along with a lack of understanding of “luxury.” This includes three sheeted bed making, duvets, amenities, turndown service, and the importance of details. In the case of the novice a three week( minimum) training plan serves to develop skills so that quotas can be reached daily at standard. Standards, or service levels, have always been the hallmark of hotels. The more individualised the service, the higher the rating. In a recent book, Ritz and Escoffier: The Rise of the Leisure Class by Luke Barr, it is interesting to note Cesar Ritz’s reaction to a complimentary letter of the fine service at the Savoy London Hotel at the end of the 19th Century. He took the time to enumerate the personalized services promised and executed. The majority of the specified services involved the room attendant: unpacking,


hanging of clothing, taking items to valet for either laundering, pressing or both. Of course items were returned in time for evening engagements. The extremely wealthy travelled with help who handled all clothing and personal requests. For a hotel to provide those services was noteworthy. Not all guests understand, identify, or appreciate personalised service. It is a matter of comfort level. I have observed that guests who stay at hotels above their usual comfort level can be thrown by and even offended by excellent service. For example, a guest called my office to complain. I went to his room to communicate face to face. He was upset because the room attendant had touched something of his in order to straighten. When he described the “offense”, it was clear that he did not understand service. I listened and then said (in the presence of the room attendant), “Sir, the room attendant was giving you service. So, are you saying that you do not want service?” My tone was conversational, not confrontational. I was dressed as an executive. He seemed perplexed and then calmed down. Understanding his confusion, I told him that I would direct the room attendant to give his room minimal service: beds, bathroom, vacuuming, trash removal. That done, I did not hear from him again. Happily, that was the only time in my career that I had a guest complain about too much service. Similarly, guests who are out of their league are those most likely to remove linens, robes, decorative items, and excessive amenities. Expecting this type of behaviour from large groups (especially teens), we would clear mini bars, remove robes, and extras before arrival. This advance action saved a lot of grief upon check out. People who go so far as to demean team members have no idea of what the team encounters on a daily basis, room by room. Most importantly, the team members, as a rule, have integrity and are scrupulous about not touching valuables. Again, only one time in my career, there was a thief among the room attendants. There were reported losses among her assigned rooms. So, Security/Loss Prevention set up a room with enticing items ( complete with cameras) on the other side of an assigned (yet really vacant) room. A command post was in the adjacent room. It was effective.


The offender was caught in the act of stealing items. I saw the video and was horrified. I remained as the police arrived to arrest her. People select hotels based on “location” first and “cleanliness” second. Location includes “part of town” which is code for safety. It is too easy for people to accuse a room attendant. Ironically, the room attendant is more often than not a victim. By this, I mean, guests who leave tips for room attendants (that tiny 1 %!) too often leave the tip money on a dresser or night table where it can be picked up by anyone else (supervisor,room service, mini-bar, et al). A room attendant more often than not will not touch a “tip” unless it is clearly for her. This is why I include a note of thanks with the tip and usually place it under a pillow. I do this daily due to staff changes. When possible, I give it to the room attendant herself in the hallway. Cringe worthy tasks that make other departments wither. This happens on heavy check-in /checkout days when Housekeeping has to perform at a high level to meet deadlines. At times, this can seem magical. It is the result of advance planning and effective prioritising. The perception of “magic” is intentional, however, in public areas. No unsightly transport of trash is allowed in the presence of guests. This means that it is done during certain windows of opportunity. Often the trash bags can be moved to a nearby holding area until it is viable to cart the bags to the compactor during the middle of the night. The daily routine is unquestionably demanding, yet when emergencies arise, “Super Hero” designation is well-deserved. Thanks to modern science, there is often advance notice of hurricanes and heavy storms, which

trigger the “Emergency Plan and Checklist” for the entire operation. The Director of Housekeeping coordinates with other departments and determines the operational needs and the corresponding staff requirements. These plans include accommodations for the volunteers who assist during the emergency period. Then there is the appeal for volunteers to provide service (modified, of course). Their pay is clarified as are the arrangements for them so that the volunteers know when and where to report and what to expect. Based on the number of volunteers, service levels are modified. Usually this means removing trash, providing clean towels and supplies for guest areas and maintaining tidiness in public areas including restrooms. Super Heroism comes into play when nearsighted guests complain about limited service during the emergency. Mind you, no one is checking out or checking in because all transportation is halted due to unsafe conditions. We would explain that an “emergency” had been declared and that staff was limited. Guests and Hotels were limited by the emergency. Remaining calm and focused allowed for reasonable service and a positive attitude. It is worth noting that only key hotel personnel are on duty in such an emergency. Anyone lacking operational

(e.g. making beds) skills is just a hindrance. Most Monday-Friday departments are closed….. not Heroic Housekeeping which, along with Engineering, prepared for the storm inside as well as outside (pools) to reduce or avoid damage and to minimise flying objects (chairs,umbrellas,tables,and trash cans). In conclusion, It has been my experience that some of the most courageous people on earth work in Housekeeping. Their personal stories boggle the mind: survival challenges, hurdles, deprivation, adaptation. All the while they are devoted to the welfare of their children and families. It is soul satisfying to observe their progress as their lives improve thanks to continued employment in a healthy environment where they are appreciated. These positive conditions result in a sense of confidence which in turn supports a development of loyalty to the department and to the company. These devoted employees don their uniforms and the positive attitude that serves as their powerful cape as they soar through the day providing excellent service and being prepared for whatever comes their way. To me, this is the definition of a true Super Hero!  Janet Marletto can be reached by e-mail: jmarletto@yahoo.com and on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jmarletto/



02 9906 2202 | www.weatherdon.com.au | sales@weatherdon.com.au



modern slavery Slavery has never ended. In modern times, it continues to persist in the form of servitude, forced labour, debt bondage, human trafficking, child slavery, and forced marriage. The 2016 Global Slavery Index showed that there are over 45.8 million people across 167 countries in some form of modern slavery.



ndia, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Uzbekistan are the countries with the highest absolute numbers of people suffering from modern slavery, while the more economically developed countries, Luxembourg, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, Belgium, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are showing less prevalence of modern slavery. It’s not surprising then, that modern


slavery can feel like an issue that’s far away from the lives of most Australians. Having said that, it’s important to note that while Australia may have fewer instances of modern slavery than developing countries, it is still very much a factor in our products and services and we are certainly not excluded from risk here on our shores.

Developed countries are importing large numbers of goods and services from developing countries, and modern slavery can exist along the complicated global supply chains. In this regard, modern slavery is related to everyone’s daily life through global supply chains. You might own a diamond ring that was exploited by forced labour in Africa; you might wear a T-shirt that was made by bonded labour in Bangladesh; you might work on a computer that was assembled by exploited workers in Malaysia; you might

use a phone battery that contains minerals mined by child slaves in the Congo; you might even eat prawns that were fished and processed by trafficked workers in Thailand. Modern slavery has increasingly attracted attention from governments, non-government organisations (NGOs), business communities and civil society worldwide. In 2003, the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children

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campaigns. We have the ability to use our purchasing power. If we know that certain goods and services are free of modern slavery, while others are not, we can choose the ones without modern slavery to support the manufactures or providers to sustain economic prosperity. Everyone’s purchasing power is tiny, but collectively, this power can never be underestimated.

entered into force in the US, and until 2016, 124 countries ratified this protocol. Regarding the specific legislation in modern slavery, the UK was the first country in the world to publish the Modern Slavery Act 2015. This Act requires the companies with the total turnover threshold at £36 million in the UK to make a Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement with modern slavery information on their supply chains, policies, and mitigation steps. In 2017, Australia proposed to build a comprehensive suite of new laws for combatting modern slavery, which also includes establishing a Modern Slavery Act. The crimes of slavery, forced labour, and human trafficking would then fall under a single law. The Australian anti-modern slavery model would be improved based on the UK one. It would have specific requirements in modern slavery in supply chain reporting, such as making the voluntary criteria of reporting modern slavery in supply chain mandatory and setting a lower threshold for including more business companies to take the responsibility of reporting modern slavery. In line with government leadership in anti-modern slavery, many NGOs are playing a significant role in this field through research, policy development, professional practice, technology provision, data analysis, and education. NGOs are making a concerted effort to raise the awareness of businesses on the need to be proactive when it comes to modern slavery, making them realise that antimodern slavery actions are not only an obligation but is also a good thing to do for their businesses. Currently, NGOs are cooperating with companies to help them identify and remedy modern slavery hotspots in their supply chains. This is part of a trend to move the businesses toward proactive checking. The agriculture, construction, manufacturing, mining, utilities and domestic services sectors, appear to be modern slavery hotspots. Thus, if the big companies in these sectors or the companies that have close interactions with these sectors take initiatives in combatting modern slavery, it would be demonstrating leadership and may have a bigger impact on civil society. In theory, we are all connected to modern slavery through complicated supply chains. As consumers, we could also become active participants in anti-modern slavery


We still have a long way to go, however, before we’re at the stage of knowing whether every individual consumer product is indeed modern slavery-free. The good news is there are already a variety of independent environmental certifications available that help customers to make good choices when purchasing goods and services. Robustness, credibility, and impartiality are what build the reputations of good ecolabels so that suppliers and consumers can come to trust them. GECA’s standards, for example, consider the social impacts of the products it certifies, including safer and more ethical working conditions, not only for employees, but also those involved along the entire supply chain. With so many certified products available, there has never been a better time for organisations and businesses to start their positive procurement journey. While it doesn’t currently exist, a certification for ‘modern slavery-free’ in the future could give transparent and reliable information to customers and make good use of this purchasing power to combat modern slavery. At the same time, this type of certification would increase the customers’ satisfaction by letting them feel the sense of participation in these campaigns. Thankfully, organisations can – and should – start taking steps to remove modern slavery from their supply chains today. The key is to start looking! GECA’s Positive Procurement Pledge, for instance, is asking organisations to identify the hotspots across their supply chain, create a framework for monitoring and evaluating these risk areas and implementing a procurement policy that is good for people and planet. The free online Slavery Footprint Calculator is another great place to begin the journey that we all need to be taking. 

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The new norm in Hotel service is not only about the delivery of quality in a timely fashion, it’s also about emotional engagement with the guest.


lready some brand standard audits have a component where the auditor rates every interaction with a staff member, gauging them either positively, neutrally or negatively. For something to be emotionally engaging, it needs to stimulate an emotional reaction. This can be either positive or negative. Guests emotional responses which are either highly positive or highly negative have the ability to generate memorable experiences that the guest will then relate back to those around them. Neutral experiences that don’t reverberate on an emotional level are quickly forgotten. Obviously we want to focus on creating positive emotional experiences. The description of a positive emotional experience includes feelings of a “home away from home” and experiences that could be described as making the guest feel spoiled and indulged. Words such as exclusive, relished, bathed in luxury and delighted all describe the guest who has a positively emotional experience during their stay. A guest could describe a neutral engagement as feeling “happy” or satisfied. In other words it was neither a very positive or negative emotional engagement – just as they expect to be treated as a paying guest. On the negative emotional engagement side, the guest could feel they are being treated with apathy. They may feel any negative emotion such as feeling neglected and dissatisfied. They may feel the staff member was disengaged and at the extreme end they could be left feeling overlooked, strained, anxious and even frazzled or angry. How does Housekeeping create a ‘home-away-from-home’ experience, making a difference to the guest experience and in doing so making every interaction a positive emotional engagement? Training the team through role plays and encouraging them to go above and beyond is a good start. Teaching them that every interaction is an opportunity to deliver personalized services and engaging with the guest


is important with constant reminders so that it becomes a habit. Reminding them that although the basics of delivering a perfectly clean room quickly are still key, they should also allow a little time to engage with the guests to create a memory every time there is an interaction. At each opportunity when meeting the guest, Housekeeping needs to take the time to make eye contact, smile and start with meaningful engagement. Giving the Housekeeping team the tools to engage is key; this includes a list of useful phrases and thoughtful actions which can be used when an interaction with the guest begins. Small gestures such as the Room Attendant offering to help the guest bring their luggage to the elevator, pressing the button and waving a fond farewell. “Thank you for staying with us and hope to see you again soon”.

Anticipating problems that may cause guests discomfort such as a long wait for check-in or arriving early from an overnight flight. Offering turndown in the morning to guests who have arrived on an overnight flight is a simple but effective way to make the guest feel pampered.

When servicing an occupied room, take note of the guest likes and dislikes, did they drink all the water? If they did then offer extra without being asked - drop a note – “I noticed you needed extra water and I took the opportunity to provide you with more, anything else, please contact our service desk…” Being compassionate as part of the natural order of things. When a Room Attendant notices there is medicine at the bedside, leave some extra water and a glass next to it…. “Hope you’re feeling better soon…” or if the guest is in the room and unwell, offering to make a cup of tea. Tiny gestures go very far in creating those memorable moments for the guest.

It’s the importance of listening, looking for signs, hearing what guests say, seeing what they do and keeping a profile of each and every client. Communication between Departments is also essential. The guest may mention to the Room Attendant they want to try the all-day dining restaurant in the Hotel, a helpful gesture could be to ask the restaurant to send up the menu and make some recommendations. This does require collaboration between the teams at the front and back of house. The collecting of small details that the reception, the concierge, guest services team, the barman, the Room Attendant or indeed anyone who hears or discovers more about the guest in the course of their work. Then, as part of a team to deliver service – creating an emotional connection – based on that information. This is what makes the difference. In the end it’s about recognizing those who do go above and beyond so this in turn encourages others to follow suit. 




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staff choice BY DEAN MINETT

The styles of management are many and varied and this can be seen from the huge range of books that are regularly promoted as the latest and most advanced. In fact, there are almost as many management books as there are diet books, and that’s saying something!!


anagement though is often as much about style as substance, with the ultimate decider being the employer of that manager i.e. is the manager delivering what the employer wants? Of course this is pretty subjective, and whilst the base performance indicators will be similar across most employers (e.g. $$ revenue, expenses and profit), the rest may differ quite substantially. For example, one employer may require their manager to make wholesale changes to a workplace and give it a good shake up, whilst others may want long standing staff and facilities to remain the same, with a greater emphasis on coaching or leadership. Some employers value loyalty and longevity, others value cutthroat competition and shooting stars. So which is best? Whilst I do have an view, I need to say that my opinion is irrelevant, because ultimately the only opinion that counts is that of the people that sign the pay-check for each individual case. Irrespective of your style, it is important to employ people that are sympathetic to that style and can work with it because after all, we do not run businesses in isolation. Goethe said “A noble person attracts noble people and knows how to hold on to them.” It may also be said that ignoble people attract ignoble people and know how to use them! What possibly matters most is that the most effective managers are somehow able to get people to want to work for them, whatever their style. Now again, this can be for a variety of reasons – for altruistic reasons (they all want to change the world), for selfish reasons (they want a better car) or for purely pragmatic reasons (they want to move out of a dead-end job). Either way, it is a choice of all parties to work for that person at that particular time. The 1964 film, Zulu showed some of what can happen when people both want and don’t want to participate in a given situation, and the results that can be achieved. Based on a true incident in the late 1870s at Rorke’s Drift in Africa, the film tells of a small British outpost that is attacked by overwhelming numbers of Zulu warriors. Initially there were a lot more defenders, however the contingent of local soldiers decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and fled the compound, leaving a handful of

British soldiers to face the might of the Zulus, who were an intelligent and well disciplined group of fighters. Whilst the British contingent had a few other unhappy chaps as well who really didn’t want to be there, they obviously felt that their chances as a group were infinitely better than on their own, and so chose to stay. (OK, so their choices weren’t great, but they did have them!) Commanded by an initially arrogant and inexperienced officer, the British managed to hold off the Zulus through a combination of courage, pigheadedness and discipline. Now we often hear of disciplined sporting teams, and champion teams beating teams of champions. In this case a champion team of ordinary soldiers managed to blunt the might of a clearly superior force. This was only possible however through the choice of these soldiers to adhere to the discipline required. Whilst the British were eventually kicked out of most of their colonies, they did have one of the most disciplined and committed armies in the world at the time. Indeed armed forces the world over work on the basis of adhering to an agreed system of operations where all participants have clear instructions and designated objectives. These may not be pretty but at least everyone works in the same way. Can you imagine the chaos if soldiers chose not to adhere to instructions? (“Nah, sorry sarge, I’ve decided not to fight today!”) OK, so this just underscores the importance of everyone working in the same way, for success to occur, but as managers it is important to remember that it is only by motivating individuals to work as we wish them to that we actually achieve anything. The old saying “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink” is true in pretty much true in all situations. Ultimately it is about choice. We can take credit for achieving great figures or increased profit, but we don’t do it in isolation and we only do it because others choose to help us. Sobering thought really.  www.minettconsulting.com.au





xecutive Housekeepers are being asked to develop and implement programmed cleaning services within a green framework. While this might look simple, it can be reasonably complex as it guides every decision that you will make on chemical, equipment, product, process, suppliers and personnel. Here is a short, but by no means complete, checklist for going green with your cleaning operations. • Clean during the day: Think about it. Many cleaning processes can be done during the day such as public area maintenance, restroom cleaning, spill management, waste removal and so on. Day cleaning brings the environmental services staff into direct contact with the building community. It humanises and empowers staff, your green program becomes a visible initiative, your building standards are consistent during working hours and it will have a massive impact on energy usage as cleaning time at night will be minimised. • Chemical: If you think that green is simply changing chemicals, think again, as chemical plays a very small part of a green cleaning program. However, chemical management is important in three ways. Firstly, the selection of chemicals that clean effectively and break down quickly in the environment is critical. This does not mean replacing cleaning solutions with vinegar and baking soda. Many ‘natural’ products require the use of much more water and energy to remove soil while poor cleaning outcomes will reduce the life cycle of furnishings, fixtures and coatings, all of which puts pressure on non-sustainable resources. Secondly, chemical management systems such as dispensing centres combined with appropriate staff training are required to minimise usage of & human contact with cleaning solutions. Thirdly, selection of products should focus on those that are manufactured from sustainable ingredients rather than oil-based ingredients. • Equipment Selection: The decisions that cleaning management makes on equipment and products will be influenced by factors such as durability, reliability, recyclability, water efficiency and energy usage, rather than initial capital outlay. Energy usage is defined not so much by how much power the equipment or the process uses but by the energy it saves in lighting and ventilation in the day to day cleaning processes, by cleaning faster and/or by allowing the cleaning to be done in daylight hours. Poor quality equipment or equipment that is inadequate for the needs of the facility may cost a little less but will impact on the lifecycle of floor coverings and fixtures, water and energy usage and human health

and wellbeing – for both building users and workers. Older equipment can be recycled rather than sending it to landfill. Cleaning machinery can contain significant quantities of aluminium, copper, steel, brass, polyethylene and other recyclable plastics and manufacturers are beginning to design with recyclability in mind. Encourage suppliers to take back redundant equipment for a small fee to pull it down for recycling and/or for parts and request a certificate certifying the percentage that was recycled. • Water Usage: Water is the most valuable raw material for cleaning and in Australia and many parts of the world it is becoming a precious commodity. Therefore water efficiency guidelines are one of the key platforms of a green greening program. These guidelines will affect the way in which water used in cleaning processes is sourced dispensed, mixed and disposed of. Water efficiency will also have a major bearing on equipment and processes that you use to maintain your facility to a high, healthy standard. • Waste Water Generation: Waste water from building cleaning operations contain chemical, biological, oils and greases, plastic and similar synthetic fibres and suspended particulate matter. It is critical that cleaning operations are conducted using equipment, materials and processes that minimise, filter and control waste water volume and contaminates in waste water. Hotel management should work with clients, employees, suppliers and sub-contractors to select processes to minimise waste water generation and contaminants to the external environment. Executive Housekeepers must provide regular training of employees to create awareness of and understand the types and risks associated with wastewater and strategies to reduce emissions. • Sustainability: The key to sustainability is to minimise the quantities of materials that are used in cleaning the facility and, wherever possible, chose products, packaging and equipment that are manufactured with a low carbon footprint and that are, in turn, manufactured from raw materials that are renewable, rather than finite. For instance, many chemicals and plastics are manufactured from oil-based raw materials. However, there are an increasing number of products that are based on plant and mineral based extracts. Packaging needs to be kept to a minimum and all packaging needs to be recyclable and actually recycled. Solid waste from the building needs to be separated and recycled where feasible to minimise material going to land fill and consider


treatment of grey water which can be utilised for grounds maintenance. • Processes: The selection of cleaning process is critical in a green program. For instance, augmenting water extraction with Encapsulation in carpet maintenance will provide far better outcomes and has the ability to reduce water usage, energy requirements and generation of wastewater by more than half. However, sometimes the green benefits of a new cleaning process may actually be grey. It is important to check out the supply chain and manufacturing processes and trial new ideas and audit the outcomes before implementation of a new product or process. • Dust Management: Green is about protecting the health of building users. People spend approximately 90% of their time indoors[1]. Dust is a pollutant and the indoor environment may be the major source of exposure for building users. Surface dust in buildings consists of organic particles such as human skin cell, hair and food residues plus inorganic particles including building material, fibres and plastics and gram negative bacteria. [2] Cleaning process should focus on dust containment and dust removal e.g. Hepa filtered vacuums and damp dusting with microfibre rather than dust disturbance. Feather dusters have no place in the green cleaning environment. • Training: All Hotel staff, guests and occupants are an integral part of a green cleaning program. Its success depends on their support and understanding of green cleaning processes and practices. Careful change management is integral to successful implementation of green cleaning practice. The goal is to implement cultural change. Cultural change incorporates a holistic change in attitude, beliefs, practice and thinking by all members of the building community, not just the cleaning staff. Integral with green is comprehensive education, training and involvement of staff in the program as well as internal marketing and communication to the owners, guests and users of the building to ensure understanding of, and full commitment to, the green cleaning program. • Planning and evaluation: Green cleaning is a holistic program of evaluation, planned implementation and continuous improvement and needs to be continually monitored and audited to ensure that the desired outcomes are achievable. A green program consolidates products, procedures and training combined with ongoing assessment of the immediate and cumulative effect of the cleaning program on people, the building life cycle, the environment and sustainable resources. The outcomes of a green cleaning program have to be demonstrable, measurable and consistent with the environmental objectives of the building owners, building users and the community. • Supplier Selection: With green, your supplier becomes a partner and every aspect of the supplier’s operation, product utilisation and supply cycle have to be taken into account in supplier selection. The credibility and


commitment of the supplier to designing, manufacturing and serious commitment for sustainability are critical in selection of equipment and products. Factors such as their distance from the facility, manufacturing practises, their environmental footprint and the source of their products will have a major impact on carbon emission reduction and sustainable resources. This is a dramatically different approach to traditional practises. One of the most positive outcomes of green cleaning, from an industry perspective, will be the increased standing of the cleaning service department within the building hierarchy, and the community as a whole. In the 80’s, many professions were renamed or given new titles in a wave of political correctness. Repairmen became Maintenance Engineers, secretaries became Administrative Assistants and Computer nerds became I.T Technicians, but cleaners remained cleaners. However, some in Healthcare and Hospitality industries took pity, and, perhaps, in an effort to define the true role of cleaning, renamed cleaning departments as ‘Environment Services & Management’. That title could not be more appropriate for cleaning services in the 21st century. 

REFERENCES [1] https://soe.environment.gov.au/theme/ambient-air-quality/topic/indoorair-quality-2 [2] Gyntelberg, F., Suadicani, P., Nielsen, J. W., Skov, P., Valbjørn, O., Nielsen, P. A., Schneider, T., Jørgensen, O., Wolkoff, P., Wilkins, C. K., Gravesen, S. and Norn, S. (1994), Dust and the Sick Building Syndrome. Indoor Air, 4: 223-238. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0668.1994.00003.x




Australia’s outsourced hotel housekeeping leader for over 25 years AHS Hospitality has been providing award winning housekeeping services to the Australian hospitality industry since 1993. Our expertise, professionalism, services and flexibility provide quality and compliant housekeeping results for almost every hotel brand in the region. With more than 250 senior housekeeping managers and over 6,000 trained housekeeping professionals, AHS delivers the highest quality service with unmatched efficiency.

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Wendy Robson




sat down with Wendy whom is the Executive Housekeeper at Sea World Resort to discuss her journey, which she tells me is boring. When I entered the foyer I was surrounded by children of all ages along with Dora the Explorer who was doing her morning meet and greet. When Wendy arrived I asked her how she copes with all the children on a daily basis. She casually said we have about 800-1,000 children and 1,200 adults when at 100% occupancy, after all these years I am used to it. Today it was at 90% occupancy and she calmly tells me that she only had five sick calls this morning at which she did not even seemed stressed. Wendy was born in Roma Queensland and grew up on the Gold Coast she has three grown up sons and one daughter along with eleven grandchildren who live in Sydney,


Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Her first job was at the telephone exchange in Brisbane prior to having her children. When I asked how she started at Sea World Resort she told me she was visiting Seaworld one day with her children and saw the Resort being built. She thought she would like to work there so went home, applied for a job and was successful in the Housekeeping Department as a casual room attendant. When the children

were older she went permanent and was later promoted to Supervisor and Departmental Trainer then later again she was promoted to Assistant Housekeeper and Wendy has been Executive Housekeeper for the last fifteen years. Wendy loves her role because every day is different, they have great staff and the culture at the Resort is amazing. Wendy believes this is because in 30 years the Resort has only had three General Managers. In 2018 Wendy won the Sunfresh Linen Housekeeper’s Award for Contribution to Tourism and Hospitality in Brisbane. She has a Diploma of Management and is a qualified Trainer and Assessor and is proud of her achievements with her school base Trainees and the progress they have made over the years. I asked Wendy to tell me about some of the challenges she faces every day, she told me her worst was one new year’s eve when the outside laundry did not deliver any towels because they had none. She received the call at 8pm and spent the night running from laundromat to laundromat trying to wash and dry towels for the guests, it is one night she would certainly like to forget. Her other challenges are the daily sick calls, work cover as well as cleaning up after the weekly slime show.

Asked where she would like to be in five years Wendy said she would still be working at Sea World Resort. Wendy has a real passion for her role and has very good humanistic skills. She is a quite achiever, a person who does not stress, she is warm sincere and sensitive to others’ feelings and has limited desires for personal recognition. She has an energetic, curious, confident approach to life. Wendy has been a member of the SEQPHA for many years and is a diligent, hard worker who is always willing to lend a hand. Wendy is far from boring, I saw another side to Wendy today with her calmness and attitude to life and respect for her team. I wish Wendy every success and happiness in the years ahead.  Wendy was interviewed by Libby Sharp, President SEQPHA.

As for some funny moments Wendy said she has had a few false teeth left behind and the Houseman who was missing for hours and later found sound asleep in a linen trolley. She then looked at me and said you know we have a ghost who lives here, I was not taken back as I know of many Hotels who profess to have ghosts. Wendy tells me her Night Cleaner sees this woman ghost every night and even talks to her. Asked her if she was scared Wendy replied “no, as I was once a Funeral Car Driver and I talked to all my passenger’s”. Wendy has a big heart which I have seen over the years with her being a member and committee member of the Housekeeper’s Association. When our charity members tell us about families that are suffering or children with Cancer, Wendy is always there with accommodation vouchers or entry to the Sea World Park, she has been doing this continuously over the years and has put smiles on many faces. The work Wendy and her team did for the Farmer’s Drought Appeal was fantastic with all her Housekeeping team selling tickets and even having a BBQ outside the entrance for the guest’s, the response was amazing and now she tells me they are doing an appeal for the Flood Relief in far north Queensland. Wendy’s other interests include playing netball, she has travelled the world with it, and is a member of the Golden Oldies. Wendy has been to some amazing places having driven through America with two of her friends and travelling to Canada and England, as well as so many other exciting places on this planet.



DoubleTree by Hilton Perth Northbridge



Vacuum Cleaner Range Overview

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Slips trips and falls:


Hotels face particular challenges when it comes to the slip resistance of surfaces because many areas accessible by guests, visitors and staff have high pedestrian traffic, exposing flooring materials to greater wear.


otel owners and managers have a legal duty of care and legal compliance obligations with regard to the risk of pedestrians slipping, tripping, or falling on floor surfaces.

SLIP RESISTANCE STANDARDS FOR DIFFERENT AREAS OF A HOTEL It is important for hotel owners, managers and executive housekeeping to understand the minimum requirements for slip resistance in various areas of a hotel, according to the applicable Australian Standard. For example, toilet facilities in hotels need a minimum P3 rating, whereas hotel rooms, bathrooms and en-suites, only need a P2 rating. The P rating of a surface indicates its resistance to slipping when wet – the higher the P rating the greater resistance. In all commercial kitchens the highest anti-slip performance (P5) is required, as for all serving areas behind bars, though cold stores and freezers require a P4 rating. The Australian Standard also covers external areas. Swimming pool ramps and stairs leading to water require a P5 rating whereas pool surrounds may have a P4 rating. External carparks require a P4 rating whilst the minimum for undercover carparks is P3. A degree of judgement is required for some areas. A hotel lobby for example will often have polished or vitrified porcelain like surfaces for aesthetic reasons. This is relatively safe to walk on when dry but during wet weather it can become wet and unsafe. This possibility of moisture

in the lobby may imply a minimum P2 or P3 requirement, whereas P1 is applicable if there’s certainty it is always dry.

MANAGING RISK OF SLIPS TRIPS AND FALLS Conducting slip resistance testing is important as it will help to reduce your exposure to: • injuries due to slips, trips, or falls • potential impact of litigation and liability claims • increased insurance premiums There are two major parts of slip resistance testing: • initial assessment of flooring material in the laboratory enables suppliers to certify slip resistance of a product prior to installation or delivery to site • ongoing monitoring of existing pedestrian surfaces by facility owners and executive housekeeping fulfils their duty of care and compliance obligations


Ongoing monitoring is required because flooring surfaces wear from pedestrian traffic and cleaning regimes. Regular testing of pedestrian surfaces is the main element of an appropriate risk management plan. Accredited and independent slip resistance testing will determine if floor areas meet minimum anti-slip performance requirements, and regular testing can help to manage risks arising from wear and surface treatments such as cleaning. For existing floor surfaces hotel owners and managers will generally choose in-situ testing by a qualified professional using accredited and calibrated equipment by the: • wet pendulum test method, and/or • dry floor friction test method The wet pendulum test method provides customers with a slip resistance rating ranging from P0 to P5 with P5 being the highest rating possible. The dry floor friction test method provides customers with a pass or fail classification depending on the measured coefficient of friction over the test run length. This test is only valid for areas that are always considered ‘dry’. It is recommended that testing is conducted by an independent NATA-accredited service provider who is directly engaged by the hotel owner or manager. Testing should never be the responsibility of parties who have a natural interest in the compliance of areas they are responsible for (e.g., cleaning or refurbishment contractors).


For hotels, risk management planning can be quite elaborate when it comes to considering all surface areas where Duty of Care and Occupational Safety requirements come into play, so a tailored plan is recommended for each facility.

KEY RECOMMENDATIONS • Know your legal duty of care and compliance obligations • Understand the differing minimum standards for slip resistance of surfaces in various areas of a hotel, for example hotel rooms (P2), undercover car parks (P3) and commercial kitchens (P5) • When planning for refurbishment, specify that flooring materials are assessed through a NATA accredited laboratory prior to installation • Test flooring surfaces for slip resistance at regular intervals because of wear from pedestrian traffic and cleaning • Directly engage a NATA accredited service provider who is independent of cleaning or building contractors 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Dave Collins leads QED’s asbestos management and slip resistance testing practices. He is qualified through the British Occupational Hygiene Society and has extensive experience preparing and delivering risk management plans in the built environment. Dave and his team undertake slip resistance testing of pedestrian surfaces at QED’s laboratory and in the field.

At Empire Hospitality we pride ourselves in providing Quality Housekeeping Solutions.

Our focus is on the delivery of cost effective housekeeping services and we continually strive for service excellence, through this method we have built an enviable reputation as a market leader in housekeeping services by providing site-specific delivery to each of our clients. With proven experience in providing the best and efficient service, we are the housekeeping partners of the leading hotels and serviced apartments in Australia.

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A recent worldwide study led by the University of Sydney has proven that lower back pain is the most commonly recorded of workplace injuries. Often both severe and costly, back injuries can arise from a number of ergonomic exposures including heavy lifting, forceful movement, awkward positions and poor workspace set up. In Australia alone, back pain costs around $4.8 billion each year for health care, with 25% of sufferers in the 18-55 age group taking 10 or more days off per year.


key concern of the Dorsal Boutique Hotel owner, John Koorey, was the number of housekeepers who sustained back injuries in the hotel industry. In response Mr. Koorey developed the Ezi-Maid Bed Lifting System to improve the ergonomics of one of the housekeepers’ main duties, bed making. The bed lifting system is designed to fit under the bed and to elevate the bed to a safe and comfortable height allowing the housekeeper to work in an upright stance, eliminating the need for bending and stretching. In addition to being raised, the bed is moved away from the wall, giving all round access without pushing or pulling the bed. Safe Work Australia awarded the Ezi-Maid Bed Lifting System a National Safe Work Award as an innovative solution to an identified workplace health and safety issue and stated that the bed lifter is a “great demonstration of ‘engineering out’ of a problem with the potential to set new standards for the future of the hospitality industry”. The EziMaid Bed Lifting System has now been installed around the world, across a variety of motels, hotels, luxury resorts and health care facilities. It has been over ten years since the first Ezi-Maid Bed Lifting System was installed at the Dorsal Boutique Hotel and the same bed lifters are still in operation today. Over that time, Mr. Koorey reports that the hotel’s housekeepers have not recorded any manual handling incidences or back injuries. He considers that all workers have the right to a healthy and safe working environment and any measures designed to achieve this should be a standard across their respective industries. 



Hard floor care


In the last issue, we looked at the care of ceramic and stone. Courtesy of SEBO, we’re now looking at other types of hard flooring and how to care for them.


ard floors come in many different types and each type can have a great many variations, so it is particularly important to contact the flooring manufacturer or supplier to get specific advice. Hard floors, although generally durable and hard wearing, are not immune to damage and still require care and maintenance, much like carpets. Generally, a very important factor with hard floors is to ensure they are sealed. A seal forms a protective surface and prevents liquid (and therefore stains) from penetrating. There is a simple test that can be performed to check if your hard floor is sealed correctly: Pour a drop of water onto the surface and spread it out with your finger. If the water is absorbed then the surface is in need of sealing as soon as possible. However, if the water beads and is repelled then your surface is properly sealed. There are many types of wood flooring; various hard or soft wood species are used and even bamboo (although strictly this is a grass). Solid wood or engineered composite ‘planks’ are available and the surface can either be, lacquered, oiled or waxed. Raw wood can also be used, but a protective surface finish is necessary to maintain the floor quality and so raw wood is not covered by this guide.

has been penetrated, liquid can stain the floor causing further problems.

FLOOR PROTECTORS Place felt floor protectors on table and chair legs and the feet of any other furniture to prevent scratching.

VACUUMING Vacuuming is essential, not only to remove any dirt and grit which has made it past your entrance matting, but also to remove any dust generated from within.

POLISHING For gloss hard floors regular polishing will bring an hygienic shine to the surface, making the floor look like new.

SPILLS Mop them up before they can be absorbed into the floor!

MOPPING Wet mopping is normally best avoided, especially if the protective finish is worn. Use a specially formulated cleaning solution and take care to keep the mop damp rather than wet.


General care and maintenance of each type will be similar, a different approach only being required when restoration of the surface is required.

There are three types of finish; polyurethane, oil and wax. Each is cleaned in a similar way, but how you restore the surface depends very much on which finish you have.

Soft wood - usually sanded and sealed floorboards - is much more prone to damage than hardwood and so will need more care and attention. However, as even hard woods like oak are susceptible to scratching and damage, no wood floor will remain pristine.

Polyurethane: This is effectively a layer of plastic which protects and seals the wood. It is by far the most common sealant used today. Never apply oil or wax to polyurethane. For an optimum gloss surface use a polisher fitted with diamond pads.

A good source of information on all things relating to wood is the Timber Research and Development Association.

Oil: The wood is impregnated with natural oils to give a water resistant finish. To maintain the finish re-apply the specified oil product. For an optimum gloss surface use a polisher fitted with standard (in conjunction with further oil treatment or diamond pads).

By following some basic preventative maintenance measures, it will help prolong the look and minimise the chance of floor damage.

ENTRANCE MATTING The importance of entrance mats in protecting floors cannot be over emphasised. Dirt, grit and sand cut into the finish, causing scratches and dulling. Once the protective surface

Wax: Sometimes considered a contentious treatment for hardwood floors, adding wax to your hardwood floor can improve its look relatively quickly. Wax is easy to clean and buff. It is also easy to add wax to continuously improve the look of your hardwood floor. However, an excessive build up wax may be difficult to remove. Also wax must never be


put on an oiled or polyurethane surface. For an optimum gloss surface use a polisher fitted with standard pads.

LAMINATE FLOORING CARE Laminate flooring is constructed of a number of layers that are bonded together by pressure and/or heat. A durable transparent surface layer of melamine resin resists scratching and staining and also protects the printed design layer below. The core is made of high density fibre or particle board, and the backing is a water resistant material, normally melamine resin or treated paper. Laminate is graded by its wear resistance. The care of laminate flooring is very similar to wood. Wet mopping should be avoided as it could get into joints and then cause the underlying particle board to expand. Cleaning agents that have been specially formulated for laminate floors should be used. Although hard wearing, laminate should be protected in the same way as wood floors with entrance mats and floor protectors on furniture feet. Like any other floor surface, the quality of the product will greatly affect its durability. A good quality laminate can be cleaned and brought to a high level of shine using a polisher fitted with standard or diamond pads.

LINO AND VINYL Linoleum True linoleum is a traditional, and some might say unfairly overlooked, flooring which is made from an environmentally friendly mixture of linseed oil, cork/wood flour, limestone


and pine rosin which is pressed onto a jute backing. With known antimicrobial properties, linoleum comes in a variety of patterns and flecked designs, which can disguise scratches and marks. In addition, the pattern and colour go all through it which can reduce the visual appearance of floor damage. Although highly durable, linoleum can be damaged by moisture and alkalinity. Maintenance requirements are similar to wood, but in order to give its best appearance, to protect it from dirt and seal against excess moisture, linoleum should be cleaned and polished with products intended for use on genuine linoleum. Please consult the manufacturer for their specific recommendations. Most advise a regular polishing to renew linoleum's natural shine and stain resistance. Vinyl flooring Vinyl is a man made plastic material also called PVC. Good quality vinyl flooring, known as LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile), can be beautiful, long lasting and ideal for kitchens and bathrooms. Because it is flexible it is also a good choice for installing on suspended floors which may have some movement. A durable surface layer is added to protect the underlying design and as with laminate, maintenance is similar to polyurethane sealed wood. Specific floor cleaners are available and information as to maintenance should ideally be sought from the supplier or manufacturer. Sheet cushion vinyl (where a thin surface layer covers a foam sub layer) can be one of the cheapest floor coverings available. Care has to be taken with this type of vinyl as it is relatively easy to damage. ď Ž https://sebo.com.au/

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A truly clean matter



otels all over the world are looking at ways to make themselves more sustainable. Every year, countless tons of laundry is produced in hotels around the globe. An example demonstrates the impact of laundry on the environment: On average, a washing cycle of 10 kg consumes at least 50 litres of water and about 1.2 kWh of electricity; the detergent is not even calculated. Meanwhile, hotels draw their guests’ attention to using towels and other textiles several times – with increasing success. For instance, some hotels with a size of 700 rooms saved more than 125,000 towels per year, equivalent to around 129,000 litres of water and 1.6 kg of CO2. On the one hand, this is profitable for the hotel budget, and on the other, it is a huge benefit for the environment. However, such advising decals do not always serve their purpose, as hotels often tend to change towels on a daily basis. In these cases, either employee communication lacks or the project is not genuinely pursued.

WASHED DIRTY In addition to the required resources, such as water and electricity, conventional detergents, in particular, are putting a strain on the environment. The contained fragrances, antibacterial and bleaching ingredients, preservatives and fillers cannot be (fully) filtered by sewage treatment plants and, thus, enter the environment through the wastewater. These substances have serious consequences for the


health and the environment, as they can destroy important microorganisms and cause allergies. At the same time, they impact nature with salts, phosphates or bleach, such as chlorine. Though, several opportunities for hotels exist to reduce their ecological footprint when doing their laundry.

EFFICIENT IN THE BLACK FOREST The selfness-hotel SCHWARZWALD PANORAMA hands over the accruing laundry to an external laundry shop that works in a gentle and environmentally friendly manner. Among other things, it uses technologies for water recovery, water heat exchangers and exhaust air exchangers. Moreover, a decentralized heating supply for the machines efficiently distributes the energy exactly where it is currently needed in the washing process. Besides, the washing detergent used is Ecolab certified. In addition to the usual notices of towel change, the hotel introduced lavender bag

door signs, intending to prevent unnecessary room service. That way, cleaning products and resources are saved.

VEGAN LAUNDRY ROOM The LA VIMEA in South Tyrol washes the laundry inhouse. To save energy, the washing machines are only run when fully loaded and equipped with a water recovery mode reducing the water consumption by around 40 % and energy consumption by around 15 %. According to the hotel's vegan philosophy, LA VIMEA only uses vegan detergents that have not been tested on animals. Moreover, all detergents are biodegradable in order to minimize the environmental impact. A dosing system additionally calculates the amount of detergent to prevent waste. The dispenser works depending on the type, size, and temperature of the washing cycle as well as the required detergent. That way, optimal wash results, low consumption and thus cost savings are guaranteed and extend the machine’s service life.

KISSED BY THE TUSCAN SUN The laundry is also washed in-house at the Bio-Agrivilla i pini. In like manner as the hotel LA VIMEA, a dosing system for the detergent is operated, solely full washing machines are run and biodegradable, vegan detergents without animal testing are used. A special advantage of the BioAgrivilla i pini: The warm climate of Tuscany contributes to air-drying the laundry, and avoids wasting energy, which is required for drying. Duvet covers and naperies are made of linen, so no ironing is required, thus, also saving energy. Due to the large amounts of laundry that hotels all over the world produce, eco-friendly and energy-efficient handling is good for environmental protection. If implemented correctly, the purposes also pay off financially for the hotels in regards to the three pillars of sustainability. Besides nature hotel guests also benefit from a gentle cleaning method with natural detergents being beneficial to the health. ď Ž We would like to thank Green Pearls for this article.



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CAN AN AI-POWERED MESSAGING PLATFORM TRANSFORM THE GUEST EXPERIENCE? The ever-changing face of technology is getting harder to keep up with. Technology changes in hospitality are moving at an unoprecedented rate. Brendon Granger brings us another article on the now and the future.


s travel becomes increasingly mobile-centric, hotels have begun utilising mobile apps to drive loyalty and guest engagement. In reality, a lot of hotel guests just aren’t engaging with them. Just think, how many hotel apps do we all have on our phones, and how many do we actually use?

dinner before arriving, they can do that from anywhere, all via their mobile device.

According to Google, 53% of smartphone users haven’t even installed their favourite brands app, so it’s reasonable to assume that all but the most loyal guests are not using a hotel app during their stay.

Respecting your guests by NOT asking them to download an app that takes time and uses up valuable space on a person’s smartphone is key to having guests interact with a Guest Request System. A hasslefree experience is a major selling point when trying to encourage guests to interact with your hotel before, during, and after their stay. Especially since most apps are deleted within a week of their last use.

A lot of hotels still utilise SMS as a way to message guests. While more convenient than downloading an app, SMS can involve additional costs, which are especially high for anyone travelling internationally. The future of guest communication, therefore, relies on offering a platform that’s free and simple to use. This article expands on what I believe to be the key features in any such platform and when evaluating any such product, I believe these features need to be considered.

WHAT MAKES A GREAT AUTOMATED GUEST REQUEST SYSTEM? Artificial intelligence is the key to offering instant responses to guest requests. Done well, it can truly enhance the guest experience. Chatbots are what the guest interacts with and the AI running in the background can receive and answer a guests question and if need be, allocate a task to hotel personnel. A question like – “What time is breakfast?” can be instantly answered by the Chatbot. Guest requests such as additional fresh towels, an adapter for their smartphone, or ordering cocktails while lounging by the pool are all seamlessly allocated to the appropriate department using the “smarts” of AI. Ideally, such a platform can be used both on and off the property. So if a guest wants to make a reservation for

With that in mind, here are some of the top considerations with regards to a guest request system.


HOW WOULD IT WORK? Find a solution that is designed to sit on, or integrate with, any platform. From iOS to android, your hotel’s website, existing hotel applications, or even the in-room television. We all know technology is only as useful as its uptake, so providing a system that is accessible in multiple environments is critical to driving guest usage. Solutions such as progressive web applications, which look and feel like an application, but are deployed via a URL, allows for a Guest Request system that can reside on a website, form part of a guests reservation confirmation email, or can even be accessed at reception, the pool or a room via a QR code. Such flexibility provides a significant advantage.

HOW TO MAKE SURE IT’S THE RIGHT TYPE OF AI There’s AI and there’s AI and people who are human will be interacting with it. Take the time to ensure that the AI is built on Natural Language Processing technology. Natural Language Processing not only understands words and sentences; it’s able to grasp the context of requests and questions. As a result, guests can


communicate more easily and receive the information they’re really looking for, while interactions have the natural patter of a human-like conversation. For example, a wellprogrammed chatbot will recognise that “I need a toothbrush please” and “I forgot my toothbrush” both represent a guest’s request for another toothbrush.

F&B REQUESTS FROM ANYWHERE = INCREMENTAL REVENUE Incremental revenue is key so ensure that any system will allow guests to see your room service menu and place orders both on and offproperty. So if they want to request room service while lounging in bed, or order their evening meal while travelling back to your hotel, all it takes is a tap of a button on their smartphone. This anywhere/anytime convenience makes life easier for guests, and a built-in upsell mechanism also offers hotels a way to generate additional F&B revenue.

MULTILINGUAL FUNCTION Look for a system with multilingual functionality, where overseas guests can use their mobile to communicate with the hotel in their native language. This eliminates the frustrations that arise from language barriers, making for more satisfying guest experience. In addition, hotels can reduce the associated costs of having to train or recruit staff to communicate in other languages. But be careful, many chatbots solely use Google translate for this functionality. And while this may represent an improvement on no translation capabilities, a solution that can provide fully controlled responses in line with your brand language is preferable.

PROMOTIONS AND OFFERS Ensure that your guests can use their mobile to browse and access all the promotions and offers that your property is running. Ideally select a system that accommodates “push notifications” with pre-programmed content, such as promoting a


discount on a luxury spa treatment. I recommend looking for a system that can track and report on uptake of offers to help monitor effectiveness and tailor future marketing efforts.

TRACKS GUEST SENTIMENT Knowing how your guests feel throughout their stay can be crucial to enhancing their experience and managing your online reputation. With the ability to measure the mood of guests at any time (and not just waiting until check out), Look for a system that lets your hotel address negative experiences before they become damaging online reviews. Equally, being able to track guest sentiment is extremely useful for encouraging positive reviews when guests have a great experience.

INTEGRATES WITH TRIPADVISOR A great platform will integrate with TripAdvisor. So a guest exploring your destination can type a request directly into the platform, such as “Is there a museum close by?” to receive instant answers. Restaurant reviews, sightseeing recommendations, and all other city information can be accessed in this same way, even while off-property.

CONCLUSION Travellers increasingly want their hotel stay to revolve around freedom, flexibility, and convenience. Having a bespoke chat bot instantly available on their own smartphone is a big step in the right direction. Rather than trying to persuade guests to download an app or chat via SMS, look for a platform that offers a free and frictionless way for them to communicate with the hotel before, during, and after their stay. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR With a great passion for all things hotels, but in particular technology and a desire to help others his role as director at Technology4Hotels allows him to do both. Brendon has worked with hundreds of hotels to help them with their in-room technology. In the last few years he has helped them to increase guest satisfaction, strengthen guest loyalty and encourage repeat bookings as well as win awards such as the best business hotel, best city hotel, best upscale hotel and best luxury hotel in Australasia. Always going the extra mile, Brendon began his hospitality career over twenty five years ago working in 5 star hotels whilst completing his Bachelor of Business in Hotel Management. He has held various management positions within 5 star hotels, worked as a consultant in both hotel feasibility and technology and has an extensive background in hotel technology.

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Cleaning cost reduction



"Once we rid ourselves of traditional thinking we can get on with creating the future." — James Bertrand


hen it comes to costcutting and saving, the trickiest part is to measure efficiency. Take your largest expenditures over a period of time (36, 60 month) then take into account your capital equipment and consumables expenses and long term cost, debts and savings. From energy usage, labour, materials, and equipment. But if you can look for hidden value in existing innovations -- even the simplest transformation can provide ways to cut cost. These key things you need to keep in mind when selecting new ways of operating your business towards cost efficiency:

USE ECO-FRIENDLY EQUIPMENT Every eco-smart equipment would advocate for less energy and less chemicals. The less you use them, the more money you can save, the more your business is efficient. Electricity, gas, fuel -- cutting these renewable resources will also help to cut carbon dioxide and greenhouse emissions. Take example of cordless equipment with renewable energy that will surely save time, effort, energy, and increase efficiency. Ensure the good eco-friendly product must substantially reduce waste or environmental footprint compared with traditional method. It should also include green cleaning agents, low water usage, as well as the use


of microfibre, a reusable cloth that replace wasteful paper towels that required cutting of trees and waste disposal.

CONTROL WORKFORCE EXPENSES Many of accommodation businesses would spend money on hiring many low-paid workforces, and end up having big spending on wages. The fear of adapting automations may still exist within conservative businesses, however, this is the time we think about cost efficiency. Automated floor cleaners should have been able

to fill the void - while these robots can automatically clean areas by themselves, cleaners may find time to focus on other value-added tasks. The more you automate, the more possibility for you to save time, and time is money. Instead of paying 500$ for 5 cleaner in one day that takes 5 hours of cleaning with no visible result, you can instead invest a few dollars a day on better equipment that will enable less cleaner more task.

CONTROL SPENDING In every business, there is always a way to find about 10-20% spending

that has not been managed closely. In the cleaning department for example, you can find enormous amount of spending on chemical uses and other unnecessary supplies. Reducing these excessive inventory will help you not only to reduce waste and spoilage but also to encourage your staff to improve their skills in managing resources in hand.

IMPROVE MANAGEMENT According to a study, most of the housekeeping inefficiency happened within the job workflow system. Housekeepers would spend 10-20% of their time trying to find the next room to clean. With all the recent technologies and project management tools around the market, we should have been able to find the right solution that will help productivity and efficiency. Throw away walkietalkies - maid should have been able to communicate and find out their next task quickly through smartphones.

On another note, you also need to ensure that time is not wasted for idle activities. Save money by flexible scheduling that allows everyone to be more efficient, such as doing the other important job while the main activity is low.

DON’T UNDERSPEND Perhaps your ready to innovate however, you and your directors are not willing to spend on technology. Cost-reducing in cleaning is not solely about budget spending, but also about valuing sustainability and quality of your cleaning supplies and equipment. Think of longer term impact: if purchasing a machine at $8 a day could save time in cleaning up to an hour as much as it could save labour expenses, how much can you actually save in one year? What is the hourly cost of your labour?

EDUCATE YOUR STAFFS ON YOUR EFFORT One of the very crucial part of your new objective is to ensure that all staffs are alert, well-informed and well-aware of your effort. There is nothing worse within innovations than bad communications, bad awareness, and lack of understanding within the system. Spend extra time to ensure everyone fully understand your costsaving objective and know what the staffs can do to help. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Murray McDonald has over 20 years’ experience in equipment for cleaning processes within hospitality and accommodation sectors. He is also a Director of Duplex Cleaning Machines Australia, an exclusive distributor of Italian Brand Duplex and Tecnovap cleaning machines in the Asia Pacific region. The company has solved major cleaning issues and improved cleaning standards in many accommodation facilities. For more information, visit www.duplexcleaning.com.au.


Safety Training


In the safety field, the difference between effective and ineffective training may be death, injury, pain, suffering in addition to significant cost loss. Training is the cornerstone of the risk management process as research has shown that participants are likely to remember 10% of what they hear, 51% of what they see and hear, and 92% of what they see hear and become involved in. It’s for this reason that I am of the opinion that competency based training is very important as it is integral to explain what needs to be done, demonstrate what needs to be done, and finally observe the activity being correctly done and provide feedback whilst documenting the training.


here has been research to demonstrate that financial performance may be associated with safety achievement. In one study, 31 companies known for adopting high safety standards demonstrated higher stock market values compared to the market average where data was examined over a 13 year period. Safety needs to be integrated into all operational processes as safety and productivity are strongly linked. A positive,


proactive and preventative safety program with a focus on training will be appreciated by workers and improve safety culture. I truly believe that safety just doesn’t stop companies from losing money – it improves their ability to make money. An example here may be the presentation of certain certifications and innovations during tender submissions and presentations to win over a potential client.

Take training in how to mop a floor as an example – ideally training is not as simple as issuing a procedure. It is important to carefully explain the procedure with participants then actually show the participants how to properly mop a floor (for example, with a figure of eight style motion). Then it is important to observe the participant conducting the process and provide constructive feedback so the trainer can be 100% certain that

the participant is competent in the process.

memorable and get everybody talking about the issue.

There are some important elements to consider in training.

In my experience training is commonly used as a form of risk control in the cleaning industry. My analysis of 150 incident investigations indicated that 87% implemented training as a corrective action. In the event of an incident then training is an effective risk control because it can immediately address a situation and document the fact that the cleaner has been trained in the area that resulted in the incident. It is important that all training is documented – where all training session details are noted on the training record.

• Trainers should involve participants in the learning process and act as facilitators not teachers. • Life experiences of the trainer and participants should be encouraged and included to promote connectivity and relevance. • Training should be structured with defined elements which are consistent with the goals of the training. • Defined objectives should be set that the participants can relate to so participants can relate to the objectives and apply them to everyday life. • The concepts of “what and why” should be focused upon so participants can apply the elements most useful to their work environment. • Trainers should strongly encourage participants to add value by sharing their experiences through freedom of expression. It is widely noted in the literature that human error is implicated in 75% of incidents and my research indicates this may be in the ballpark of 65.5% in the cleaning industry. My further research has indicated that 51.5% of those 65.5% may be because cleaners are moving the feet before the eyes (complacency). It is important that cleaners have extensive training in awareness to ensure they stay focused and look before they move. There are plenty of movie clips on the internet showing live examples of complacency that can be used in training – some trainers refer to the more gruesome movies (bad accidents) as impact training. I often use impact training myself where I present a relevant movie clip and then explain the hazard and how it could ideally have been prevented. Safety training can get pretty dry and this movie medium of training can certainly liven up a training session and make the safety message much more

One of the most effective strategies a trainer can use to improve their training is to select appropriate stories for inclusion in the training. Stories grab the attention of trainees and make them more alert noting that people tend to remember stories. The literature notes that stories are a powerful training technique because they: • Create an environment of trust. • Empower the speaker. • Engage thinking. • Create a personal bond between listeners. • Provide a way to learn from experience.

A common technique speaker’s use in safety training and during presentations is telling a story about a tragic event. People tend to remember these stories because they make an emotional connection and management and participants are then more likely to implement long term and lasting changes. I am aware of one particular conference speaker who always opens up with the same story about the death of close friend in a workplace accident, an event that inspired him to move into the field of safety. He truly believed that his approach establishes a bond between him and his audience and in doing so it allowed his audience to learn a lesson about how to reduce risk in the workplace. Where well executed then these training objectives can become part of the safety culture and fabric of the organisation. As such where implemented with an integrated management systems approach then such a positive training strategy can become ingrained and selfsustaining within organisational culture. On a final note, organisations that establish and implement an effective safety training system shall benefit from consistent benefits and continuous improvement. 

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best seat in the house


Who would have thought that a guests experience with a toilet seat could affect your hotel?


s this era where we’re all too quick in showing and telling the world what we think of something, the humble toilet seat gets some airplay, as hotel guests vent their negative thoughts on what they’ve had to deal with. First up is the issue of either a broken hinge or the toilet seat itself is imperfect. Doesn’t matter which it is, a wobbly seat that doesn’t know it’s place or a crack in the surface, both give guests a reason to feel genuinely disappointed. Then there is the hygiene topic, stained toilet seats, or hinge fittings that have obvious signs of dark black gunk growing on it, don’t make you rush to rest your asset on such an object for any period of time. For men, trying to hold upright a seat that won’t play ball while you’re taking a leak isn’t a new form of guest entertainment, but a practical failing that occurs in many guests bathrooms. Next we could flag the shape of a seat matched to the toilet pan, and how bad they look together. You could think that the world is a universal one, in which all toilet seats will work on any toilet, guess what ladies and gents, you’re wrong. Just like we pick shoes to match the profile of our feet, this same approach is needed with a seat and toilet, otherwise the result can lead to disaster, and an expensive one at that. In rounding up want guests want in their hotel toilet, it is peace and quiet. No person thinks it’s cool to catch the seat as Einstein’s theory of relativity plays out in front of them. A smooth soft close descent is the modern way we lower our toilet seat these days, giving the added advantage of reducing sound in the echo chamber that is a hotel bathroom. So having aired what the touch points for guests are, how about the real issues that the hotel and it’s staff need to ponder. Housekeeping are the front line troops that literally get their hands all over the toilet seat every day. Being intimate with a toilet seat is what keeps people awake at night, because you can encounter bad things that may ruin your day.


So what can we do to offset the negatives of cleaning multiple seats daily. Well having a design of toilet hinge that is user friendly would be a great start, then throw in a seat that you can totally remove in a second with a slight tug. Having the means to deal with hard to tackle parts of a seat in a fast fashion, speeding up time wiping and scrubbing is a tactical strategy you find wins you friends. Functional elements in design do all add up to truly help housekeeping staff deal with what is a thankless job, whilst delivering a cleaning outcome guests will welcome. Hotels are a commercial facility, they demand certain things to be of a higher grade of manufacture than the average retail customer would settle for. Let us flag the weight loading that you can put on a toilet seat, as everybody is

different, literally. If you want a long term trouble free platform, start with a seat that can take 240kgs. Then add to this stainless steel hinges engineered to help combat wear and tear from countless physical forces applied by a guest. Now there’s always a direct line from reception to the headperson who governs hotel maintenance, with many conversations about toilet seats needing attention repeated daily. Send a tradie to fix a badly designed, low quality toilet seat in a hotel, and watch the dollars burn. Ineffective repair to problematic issues like broken hinges or seats coming away from the toilet, are common place, usually because spares are hard to obtain. Maybe the motto is, use well know brands that have a good track record and make sure you can quickly get your hands on parts from an Australian source.

Now a segment on toilet seats has to include a mention for the interior designer, who is tasked with making the call on what to use in a hotel en-suite. When blending aesthetic appeal with a client brief, one has to be careful you don’t come away with a vision that looks like a mad women’s breakfast. Consideration on the lines of a product, it’s colour and feel all play a role in making the right choices. An example of this can be found in the perfect harmony between seat and it’s life long companion the toilet, it’s a bit like a marriage, you have to do the research before you commit. Finally, if you’re going to stake your reputation on the line about something, such as the choice of toilet seat, always have brilliant defence if challenged. Use your head and look for a brand with commercial history who give no less than a 10 year warranty, multiple seat and hinge options, as well as direct representation on the ground Australia wide. After all it’s not rocket science. 





ears ago, adding a gym to a hotel property was little more than an afterthought. If a small, unused space was available in a common area of the property, it might be cleared out, a few cardio machines installed, and voilà, the property now has a gym.

showers if a shower area is provided. What many hotel administrators have their housekeepers do during the day, if they are involved with the gym at all, is pick up towels or items left on the gym floor and give the bathrooms/shower areas a quick clean, at best.

However, that was years ago.

The secret to effective gym-cleaning comes down to developing a continuous gym-cleaning program. One or more housekeepers should be assigned to the gym throughout the day to clean and maintain the area.

Today, many hotel properties have installed large gyms with an array of machines and equipment. In many cases, a considerable amount of time, money and resources have been put into the gym, ensuring it is attractive, functional, that equipment is laid out expertly, and of course, clean. The look and workability of the gym are usually turned over to designers and architects. However, the cleaning of that gym lies solely in the hands of hotel administrators and housekeepers. What many of these people have learned over the years, is that cleaning and maintaining a hotel gym can be quite a bit of work, especially if it is a large gym. As a former cleaning contractor who oversaw the cleaning and maintenance of several private gyms, as well as a few hotel gyms, I’d like to share some secrets that I have learned along the way. This information will make cleaning a hotel gym a bit easier, effective, thorough, and hopefully save a little money in the process.

CONSTANT CLEANING A big mistake administrators of private, public and hotel gyms often make, is to assume the gym can be cleaned just once per day, typically in the evening. Waiting until the end of the day is too late, and gym-user satisfaction will take a hit. In my experience, most hotel gyms are used by business travellers and vacationers early in the day, around 6 am, and then again at the end of the day, after 6 pm The problem is that the morning crowd, which invariably is the largest crowd, can leave the facility soiled, which is not the way the evening shift wants to find it. Gym-users touch all the machines and exercise equipment with sweating hands and fingers. As they do, any pathogens on their hands collect, which are then passed on to the next machine they use, and from there, to the hands of fellow gym users. This can result in cross-contamination, a serious health threat. In addition, the floor in the gym typically becomes soiled with foot traffic. The same is true for the restrooms and


With this approach, machines and equipment will be wiped down regularly, floors vacuumed, mirrors cleaned as necessary, and most importantly, the bathroom/shower areas will be thoroughly cleaned. Hotel guests typically do not get too upset if the machines are a bit dusty. However, if they find the bathrooms and shower areas soiled, they are not happy.

PROMPTS AND CLEANING SUPPLIES Another secret I uncovered is that placing prompts – signs – in the gym to help keep it clean help considerably. Taking this a step further, providing sanitary wipes or even cleaning supplies to help people do a little cleaning up after themselves, can prove very beneficial. Researchers have even studied the effectiveness of this approach and found it to be true. In one recent study, researchers wanted to know if gym users would be more mindful of keeping the gym clean if signs were posted and cleaning-related supplies were provided. They found that placing the prompts did help, but the results were variable. Some gym users stepped up to the plate and cleaned their exercise equipment, while others did not. However, when the prompts were combined with easy access to wipes and cleaning supplies, typically sprayers with cleaning cloths, there was a significant increase in what the researchers called “post use” activities. This means that after they were finished using a machine or exercise equipment, they went a step further and wiped those areas clean.1

SHOWERS Cleaning and maintaining the shower areas in a gym can be tough. Not all hotel gyms provide shower areas, but most provide bathrooms, some have changing areas, and some even have spas. These all need cleaning attention and the most difficult areas to keep clean is tile and grout on the walls and floors.

Years ago, there were only a few options for cleaning these surfaces. Walls would be sprayed with a cleaning solution and then wiped clean. After so many cleanings, though, we had to take additional measures to help ensure that pathogens on the walls were eliminated. To do this correctly, the areas first had to be sprayed and wiped clean. Then, the same areas had to be sprayed with a disinfectant, and after a few minutes to allow them to work effectively, wiped down.

are used in the cleaning process, eliminating the spread of pathogens. Essentially, these machines work by applying a cleaning solution to all the areas to be cleaned – floors, walls, counters, fixtures, etc. The same areas are then pressure rinsed, removing the cleaning solution, and with it, soils and pathogens. Finally, everything is vacuumed up.

This was a time-consuming process, but very necessary. Gyms in general, and especially if they have showers, are typically very humid areas, precisely what germs, bacteria, and other pathogens look for in a home.

We found that the process was quick. Shower areas could be opened to hotel gym-users in a relatively short time. Additionally, this process helped eliminate odours. While we have not discussed this so far, odours in any gym, but especially in a hotel gym, are a big no-no. This no-touch cleaning process helps eliminate odours.

As for cleaning the floors, they would be mopped every night. The issue, however, as we know now, is that mops collect and then spread soil and pathogens, defeating the entire cleaning process. Further, the floors would also need to be disinfected regularly. While cleaners/disinfectants are now available, many times the floors have to be mopped first with a cleaning solution and then mopped again with a disinfectant or similar microbial cleaner. Again, a slow process.

There is one more secret I would like to share with hotel administrators and housekeepers when it comes to gym cleaning. The longer you do it, the easier it becomes. To make this happen, follow a program that ensures every area of the gym is cleaned; have the necessary tools; use cleaning systems that make the job easier and faster; and, allow cleaning workers to develop their own routine.

A secret we learned along the way, which proved useful, faster, and much more thorough, was the use of what are called no-touch cleaning or spray-and-vac cleaning systems. For one thing, we do not have to clean and disinfect surfaces in two steps. Combination cleaner/disinfectants can be used with these machines. Additionally, no mops

Some cleaning consultants may balk at this point. However, cleaning is a personal task. As long as cleaning workers know what to clean, when to clean, and how to do it properly and effectively, they often do it better and faster when allowed a little room to develop their own system. ď Ž Robert Kravitz has owned three contract cleaning companies and is a frequent writer for the professional cleaning industry. 1. "Increasing the Post-Use Cleaning of Gym Equipment Using Prompts and Increased Access to Cleaning Materials;" by Ilexes Elba and Johnathan Ivy; published in Behavior Analysis Practice (2018).


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Product news BUY NOW. PAY LATER The accommodation industry is living in dynamic times. Never have we seen such disruption. With ever-growing diverse marketing distribution channels and the roll-out of AI telling us more and more about guest behaviour. If that’s not enough, we are also experiencing a once in a life time hotel building boom, introducing a massive uplift in contemporary design and leading operating and guest room technology. Operators are under enormous market and social pressure to build their value preposition with the implementation of on-trend upgrades and refurbishments. A new hotel industry start-up www.rubixpay.com.au founded by veteran hotel designer and furniture contractor, Peter Carmody has

established a payment solution to allowing managers to buy now what they vitally need and pay over a 3-4 year term. "Our business hypothesis" says Peter, “is that managers are keen to buy equipment they need now to improve their guest experience and then to make repayments over time from the uplift in trading their receipts." “It doesn’t make sense if you’re in the business of selling sleep and your beds are tied, that you wait around for fresh cash to replace them when managers can buy all the beds they need now at a cost as little as .73c a day over a 4 year term “ says Peter.

INCREDIBOX: A BOX CHOCK FULL OF INNOVATION services, electronic wrist-bands to unlock the door – and in a hotel in Amsterdam, the City Hub, guests use a smart wrist-band to pull themselves a beer. Small-size rooms compensate with many high-tech conveniences, such as personalised iPads and smartphones that travel outside the hotel. Hotels are increasingly investing in interior appliances as space is at a premium. The once trendsetting capsule-style hotel room is the new norm, along with robot check-ins. Innovation is reflected in Weatherdon’s Nero Qi mission control in a sound-box. It’s a radio, alarm clock with two USB charging points, blue-tooth functionality and more, compressed into a 138 mm square box complete with a mini subwoofer and a back-up battery. Fortunately technology is the nexus where both guests and housekeepers’ needs align with innovation bringing mutual cost and convenience benefits. Today guests, from the AB socio-economic demographic to the XYZ generations, overwhelmingly use their smart phones and apps to book rooms, check in, order room-service, open the door and close the curtains.

For more information, visit www.weatherdon.com.au

Legacy research that once showed a guest’s preference for modern technology and Wi-Fi, has fast become redundant, overtaken by the fact that guests have come to expect it and accommodation decisions hinge-on a hotels’ tech-credentials. Tech-savvy housekeepers and managers know, technology reduces operational costs. Smart cards save cutting keys and smart rooms reduce energy and environmental impacts. Hoteliers at the forefront of innovation are incorporating myriad features such as motion-activated air-conditioning, space-saving motorised beds, elevator music that adapts to the mood, interior keypads for personalised music and lighting, instant-frost shower walls, flat screen TVs embedded in bathroom mirrors and iPad concierges. Virtual fitness classes, purified air-systems and digitised lighting to help ease jet-lag have been introduced in Europe, as well as streaming


KEEP NOISE LEVELS TO A WHISPER WITH THE NEW TASKI® AERO With 70% of vacuuming undertaken in daytime hours, Diversey is proud to introduce TASKI AERO, a highly-efficiency vacuum cleaner which encompasses state-of-the-art technology. The patented ‘whisper’ motor has an extremely low noise output – just 53dbA, perfect for daytime vacuuming aiming to reduce guest disturbance. The highly efficient 585W motor delivers the same cleaning result as a motor with more than 900W, achieved through the unique airflow system. Ergonomically designed including a foot pedal switch, two park positions and carry handle to evenly distributes weight for ease when carrying. This new range also offers the option of HEPA filtration system at an affordable price. The TASKI Aero 15 Plus also offers the added benefit of an eco-mode button which reduces energy consumption to 295W, saving significant amounts of energy and reducing Co2 emissions without compromising on cleaning results. Choose from, either Taski Aero 8 or Taski Aero 15 Plus.

Diversey’s purpose is to protect and care for people every day. Diversey has been, and always will be, a pioneer and facilitator for life. We constantly deliver revolutionary cleaning and hygiene technologies that provide total confidence to our customers across all of our global sectors, including: cleaning products, systems and services that efficiently integrate chemicals, machines and sustainability programs. This makes us unique among leading global hygiene and cleaning companies. Everything we do has our customers’ needs at its heart and is based on the belief that cleaning and hygiene are life essentials. With over 95 years of expertise, we safeguard our customers’ businesses, contributing to productivity improvements, lower total operating costs and brand protection. Headquartered in Fort Mill, South Carolina, USA, Diversey employs approximately 9,000 people globally, generating net sales of approximately $2.6 billion in 2017. For more information please visit www.diversey.com or follow us on social media.

INTRODUCING GUEST ROOM EQUIPMENT AND APPLIANCES FROM JVD With in excess of 30 years of manufacturing expertise, the brand JVD is today a global leader in commercial, hotel-specific Guest Room Equipment and eco-friendly Appliances. Available in Australia and New Zealand since 2013, JVD is synonymous with peace of mind and guest wellbeing. JVD hotel products contribute to the comfort of each guest, as they enjoy beautifully designed touch-points which all add up to a memorable stay. Unique features include robust ironing boards with double-sided cover and hanging hook, energy-efficient hair dryers and irons as well as a range of smaller kettles that don’t waste energy on boiling excess amounts of water. The same accounts for the many radio alarm clocks from JVD. Choose from two compact Power Clocks with optional Bluetooth connectivity, the best-seller ‘Zouk’ or the aesthetically beautiful ‘Muse’ which offers unsurpassed sound quality at a very competitive price point. Most importantly, all JVD clocks include the very important hotel features, such as back-up battery to keep the time when unplugged from the


AC power socket, one-time alarm, dual USB charging, daylight savings feature, dimmable displays and Bluetooth connectivity. Once a neglected product category in every hotel/motel operation, guest room equipment and appliances are today the ambassadors of quality in a guest room, as products touched and handled by the guest have a direct impact on their experience. Many of the JVD guest room products are brand-standards approved by some of the foremost leading hotel chains and meet stringent environmental specifications. Exceptionally well-priced, JVD is supplied on a factory-direct basis to provide the accommodation sector with a competitive solution. Request a professional consultation from one of our JVD experts today! Swisstrade Pty Ltd – 02 9979 1500 – info@swisstrade.com.au – swisstrade.com.au

Port Douglas



South Pacific Laundry specialises in the provision of quality linen and supplies for the customer service and hospitality industries.

Armidale Coffs Harbour



SPL provides:







South Pacific Laundry (SPL) has been a provider of commercial laundry and linen services to the hospitality industry in Melbourne for the last 20 years.



Currently, the South Pacific Group is establishing a strong network of modern laundries across Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia with plans for several more facilities up the East Coast of Australia. The relocation of our Sydney operations to a new larger facility in Bankstown together with the relocation of our Brunswick plant to Broadmeadows will establish South Pacific Laundry as the single largest privately owned laundry in Australia and in the Southern Hemisphere.

Contact Robert Teoh National PR & Marketing P: (03) 9388 5300 M: 0421 716 888 Coverage Australia wide

• A 365 day service to all its clientele with a 24 hour turnaround (depending on location).

Pricing Information Contact supplier direct Delivery Free daily delivery within 25km city metropolitan areas Minimum Order Contact supplier direct

• A leading edge technology in RFID to assist housekeeping and managerial staff in time reduction and efficiency. • Dedicated account managers and experienced support staff who are available 7 days a week. • A dedicated software design package and centralised billing system enables seamless transactions, paperless and customised reports. • Delivery rationalisation systems, providing and streamlining efficient delivery routes which will reduce the company’s carbon footprint. • Building of partnerships and sharing benefits with the customers from savings made through its constant laundry process innovations and group purchasing power of linen products. • Dry cleaning and uniform cleaning services. • Provision and supplying of corporate uniforms/work wears and customised hotel room amenities.

Full Contact Information South Pacific Laundry 9-23 King William St Broadmeadows VIC 3047 P: (03) 9388 5300 F: (03) 9387 2399

*Albury and Melbourne only

E: customerservice@southpacificlaundry.com.au robert.teoh@southpacificlaundry.com.au


Swan Bedding Commercial Swan Bedding has been supplying the hotel and accommodation industry with mattresses and foundations way surpass our clients’ expectations, the value in our commercial products are exceptional against their cost. Most importantly, our range of commercial mattresses offer superior comfort and support so your guests will wake up feeling rested and refreshed. Each series of beds in our commercial range are designed and tailored to satisfy specific level of commercial requirements.


Visit our website www.swanbedding.com.au for more information or contact your nearest office for a quote.