Technology and How It Has Improved Housekeeping Operations
According to “dictionary.reference.com” technology is the branch of knowledge that deals with the creation and use of technical means and their interrelation with life, society, and the environment, drawing upon such subjects as industrial arts, engineering, applied science, and pure science.
Technology can also be referred to as the making, modification, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems, and methods of organization, in order to solve a problem, improve a preexisting solution to a problem.
Technology also refers to the collection of such tools, including machinery, modifications, arrangements and procedures. Technologies significantly affect human resources as well as other areas of the Hotel industry, more so the Housekeeping Department/area.
Housekeeping is the act of cleaning the rooms and furnishings of rooms. It is one of the many duties included in the term Housekeeping. Some duties included in the Housekeeping Operations are, but not limited to:
- Disposing of rubbish
- Changing & washing bed linens
- Cleaning dirty surfaces/areas
- Dusting and vacuuming
- Removing leaves from rain gutters
- Washing windows and sweeping doormats.
The Housekeeping Operations Department is responsible for the cleaning and he upkeep of the Hotel’s guests’ areas, to ensure the areas look better, safer and easier for clients/guest to be accommodated. The housekeeping department plays a very important and vital role in the hotel industry, without such a department – lime scale can build up on taps, mold grows in wet areas, bacterial action make the garbage disposal and toilet smell and cobwebs accumulate. Some items that are commonly found in the Housekeeping department are:
- Vacuum Cleaners
- Mops and Sponges
- Bleach etc.
There are several technologies that have helped to enhance and make the housekeeping department more efficient. Information and communications technology (ICT), is often used as an extended synonym for information technology (IT), but is a more specific term that stresses the role of unified communications and the integration of telecommunications (telephone lines and wireless signals), computers as well as necessary enterprise software, middleware, storage, and audio-visual systems, which enable users to access, store, transmit, and manipulate information.
This speaks to the many different types of equipment/infrastructure that can be found embedded within the hotel industry to make work in the Housekeeping Department/area more effective and efficient. Some of these are, but not limited to:
- PA System
- Inventory Management System
- Intranet/internet/computers and
- Biometric System
Innovations in the communication system such as the use of the intercom system which is much like the Private Branch Exchange (PBX) makes it easier for the front desk to contact the housekeeping department for any request.
Using one line for multiple telephones, you only need to dial a phone number that only requires three-digits or four which is assigned to every department of the hotel. The use of the desktop is very common in the current generation of hotel services. In contrast to the previous hotels, they used manual handwriting, and that also entails a lot of papers that could possible take up a lot of work space. With the use of the computer hardware system, which includes, the keyboard, the monitor, the mouse, and certain pre-installed application into the computer, paperwork and writing may not necessary.
There is also software known as the Navis Housekeeping Management system which is used by the housekeeping department to properly monitor room statuses and cleaning of rooms. Once rooms have be cleaned, the information is entered into the Navis Housekeeping Management System which will allow easy access by housekeeping and the front desk department, by doing this both departments are able to know the rooms that are available and also their status.
These kinds of hardware also help in the strict monitoring of guests reservation which the housekeeping department have access to so that they will be aware of the amount of guests that have made reservations. This information is vital as it allows the housekeeping department to prepare the rooms beforehand and also to ensure that enough rooms are available to meet the demands. This type of technology also assists with scheduling of housekeeping staff and also to ensure par stock amounts are up to date.
Green Technology speaks to the environmental technology (envirotech), clean technology (cleantech) is the application of one or more of environmental science, green chemistry, environmental monitoring and electronic devices to monitor, model and conserve the natural environment and resources, and to curb the negative impacts of human involvement on the environment depletion. Green Technology is also used to describe sustainable energy generation technologies such as photovoltaic’s, wind turbines, bioreactors and solar systems.
Sustainable development is the core of environmental technologies. The term environmental technology is also used to describe a class of electronic devices that can promote sustainable management of resources. Green technology is being introduced in all sectors of production and more so in companies and the hotel industry is one such sector. Green technology not only benefits the hotel but it also helps the guest to appreciate the hotel and its environs more.
Below are a few direct quotes from which were taken from ecomall. om about different green technology that are being instituted at some hotels. 1. ‘Every morning at our front desk you will hear our guest’s remark in wonder over how well they slept last night,” general manager Natalie Marquis says. “I believe one reason we get this strong positive feedback is because we stopped using chemical pesticides 20 years ago. Our rooms are ecologically fresh, which allows the human body to relax, enabling our guests to experience a better sleep than in other hotels that use pesticides and toxic cleaning chemicals, or even in the guest’s own homes.
2. Patricia Griffin, president of the Green Hotel Association. She started the association 15 years ago after visiting Europe and learning how hotel quests respond positively to requests for non-daily sheet and towel cycling as a way to save energy and water, and reduce the use of cleaning products.Today you will find her association’s desk cards in hotel rooms across America, suggesting to guests that they help the environment by not requesting daily towel and bed-linen cleaning.
Various types of technologies are being implemented so as to assist a hotel to become more eco-friendly, one such technology which was developed is the first environmentally smart hotel, yes! Smart Hotel! •The Sheraton Rittenhouse is setting a precedent, and is part of an industry that is keen on cleaning for health, and for the environment. The hotel uses 100 percent organic cotton bed-sheets, chemical-free laundry cycles, energy-efficient light bulbs, and palm trees in the lobby with a superb oxygenation rate.
Also the lobby’s reception desk is made from recycled soda bottles. A source from the Hotel’s housekeeping operations department also disclosed that all cleaning chemicals are all non-toxic, water-based, hypoallergenic and biodegradable. “Green-cleaning products also lead to lower regulatory costs, because managers have fewer toxic chemicals to track and fewer chemical-related injuries” added our source. Global Trends in housekeeping speaks to various activities and planned implementations.
There are many different trends that are emerging not just within the hotel industry but specifically the housekeeping department. A few trends within the housekeeping department have been identified and are illustrated below. 1. PureRooms- a new company from the US introduced the group to allergy friendly rooms. PureRooms prepare and treat guest rooms; the process removes up to 99% of pollutants from the air, to let your guests breathe easy. It also protects from irritants such as mould, viruses, bacteria, pollen, and yeast to eliminating odours at the source and leaving the room smelling fresh.
Rooms treated by PureRooms can be sold with a surcharge. The treatments include; all air conditioning units cleaned and treated with the installation of tea tree oil in the drip pan of the a/c unit, all surfaces in the room treated with PURE clean solution, high ozone shock treatment, PURE shield bacteria barrier, installation in every room of the electronic air purifier and allergy friendly bed encasements. 2. Inner Scents- an Australian invention of guest products that have an aromatherapy component to their manufacture.
Ironing board covers which waft with subtle smells of herbs are a part of this company’s line of products along with other products such as pillow inserts. 3. Optii Solutions- introduced a new Housekeeping software system Optii Keeper, which revolutionizes the way housekeeping operates. This is the world’s first automated, intelligent housekeeping solution for hotels developed by Hoteliers for Hoteliers and with Housekeepers for Housekeepers in conjunction with Intercontinental Hotel Group. Optii Keeper has proven to save up to 20% of housekeeping payroll costs and up to 40% of Supervisor time.
It eliminates 80% of phone calls between front office and housekeeping departments and creates a motivating environment by fairly spreading workloads among team members (http://www. optiisolutions. com/en/index. php? id=1, 2012). This helps to improve quality and staff morale and the system saves at least two hours every morning by automating the room allocation process at the push of a button. The housekeeping management team can see in real time if the housekeeping teams are ahead of schedule, on time or behind schedule and the system virtually eliminates the current expense of overstaffing or understaffing by forecasting staffing needs.
Conclusion Modern technology is a driving force behind the overall development and sustainability of many sectors and the tourism sector is one such, which has benefited immensely from the advancement in technology, more specifically the housekeeping operations of hotels. Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is one such advancement in technology which has positively impacted the housekeeping department. Technology has also helped to better manage the housekeeping departments more effectively and efficiently.
Green technology is another element that has greatly impacted the operations of the housekeeping department through programs such as eco-friendly rooms and smart hotels. Advancement in Green technology has helped the housekeeping department manage its resources better. With more and more hotels adopting Green technology this sees them becoming more environmentally friendly. Global trends also impacts on the operations of the housekeeping department, as new technologies have and are being developed to improve the overall efficiency of housekeeping operations.
Trends such as new and improved technologies that foster effective communication between housekeeping and all other departments, advanced equipment such as washers that do everything from dispensing of cleaning agents in correct amounts and the correct type of linen, are just a few global trends which have emerged within the housekeeping department. In concluding, the housekeeping department has been impacted by technology in many ways. The advancements in technology have allowed the housekeeping to be more efficient and effective in performing its functions to the highest level.
- Books and Printed Document: Brewer, P. et al. (2008). Current and Future Use in the Hospitality Industry. Bunduhn, R. (2010). Hotel Industry Urged to get Technology Up to Speed.
- The National Gretzel, U. et al. (2010). Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism 2010. SpringerWienNewYork. Ferdinand Berger &SohneGesellschaftm. b. H. , 3580 Horn, Austria Internet sources: (n. d. ). Retrieved from http://www. entrepreneur. com/article/201838 (n. d. ). Retrieved from http://www. ecomall. com/greenshopping/1greencleaning. htm