The original article was published in the May/June 2017 issue of Housekeeping Today UK:
Omni Clean – delivering excellent housekeeping services supported by software
Looking at the current industry press, it is obvious that the hospitality industry is now catching up in its use of technology and software: hand-held devices at the point of sales, online booking processes with smart revenue management software built in, guest feedback collection via various social media platforms, software to manage compliance and operational activities – the list could go on and on.
However, when it comes to housekeeping, it seems that times have not moved on and the team is stuck with lengthy manual processes, badly designed Excel spreadsheets, as well as pen and paper.
Housekeeping is usually seen as a cost centre as it doesn’t directly produce revenue for the operation; however it is the backbone of the hotel and ensures that the room revenue stream continues to come in. A July 2016 survey by Direct365 found that ‘80% of people would leave a hotel room if it didn’t meet their hygiene and cleanliness expectations.’ Negative comments on social media, booking and guest feedback websites, will have a detrimental impact on booking behaviour.
Are you allowing your housekeeping team to perform at their best, by giving them accurate and timely information? Or is your housekeeping team relying on a ‘rooms to clean list’ printed at reception? Are your housekeeping managers wasting time trying to extract a VIP list from an Excel spreadsheet rather than spending time on the floor ensuring the required quality output is produced by the team across the board?
Moving forward, housekeeping operations will become more complex when hotels start to react to the requirements of future guest generations: guests will purchase a room for a certain period of time and not stick to the 2pm check-in 11am check-out pattern; they will be allowed to waive housekeeping services in exchange for vouchers or bonus points and will be able to purchase additional (housekeeping) service options at short notice. Such little changes in a hotel’s service offering will have a huge impact on the running of the housekeeping operation and will require hoteliers to think about the way they are equipping their housekeeping teams.
Still, today there seem to be housekeeping operations without access to a computer and the hotel’s Property Management System. How will these operations be able to react to the complexity and the the increase in data and information available to housekeeping operation? And for those housekeeping offices that do have a computer: is it up-to-date and set up to enable the team to perform a high-quality service?
How about looking into cloud-based housekeeping software and equipping your housekeeping team with mobile devices? Providing team members with the most up-to-date data on the floor will limit the downtime of senior team members performing administrative tasks and reduce the waiting time of your front-line team members as they will be guided on what to do next. Allowing software to aid the communication of information between departments will reduce misunderstandings and drive accountability.
The Omni Group’s software company Omni Software Services has developed the ultimate housekeeping software solution facilitating the efficient running of your housekeeping operation: Omni Clean. This cloud-based software solution uses mobile devices to allow team members to have the right information at the right time – all the time. The software integration with the hotel’s Property Management System (PMS) ensures that all information is all up to date and accurate; having a positive impact on the productivity of the housekeeping operation, returning clean and inspected rooms back into the inventory quicker and enabling the hotel to deliver a smooth chec- in experience for the guests.
Automated optimised task sheets are produced and made available as ‘just in time’ information on the mobile devices of the housekeeping and maintenance / engineering team. Team members are notified of changed cleaning priorities or additional tasks and can instantly communicate updates of completed or delayed jobs back. The instant communication allows a more efficient day to day operation and reduces wasted time due to waiting, searching, or duplicating.
Further inefficiencies in the day to day running of a housekeeping operation are being addressed by scheduling and managing recurring tasks. Guest requests are recorded via the Guest Request Module and communicated to the relevant team members who can complete the job instantly without the need for further communication. The Maintenance Module allows the tracking of all maintenance issues; team members can report issues directly from the room by taking pictures of the issue.
However, it is not only about increasing productivity by addressing inefficiencies: A robust build quality assurance algorithm ensures that the daily quality control mechanisms are followed through and are documented. These quality checks are providing valuable data about the training needs of team members. Also they focus the attention of all team members to deliver quality, which subsequently will deliver better scores for cleanliness.
The simplistic and intuitive design created by Christian Motog kommunikationsdesign reflects the actual work flow of the different user groups which makes the use of the mobile application very easy. Furthermore, the icon based design helps to overcome possible language barriers faced by team members working in a housekeeping operation.
If the above has not convinced you yet to look at housekeeping software solutions – like Omni Clean – maybe approaching the subject from a recruitment angle might convince you: hotels already find it difficult to recruit for housekeeping positions. The younger generation is used to technology and the use of software to enable them to perform their work. If the housekeeping departments don’t move into the 21st century quickly, it will be even more difficult to fill (senior) housekeeping positions and to run an efficient smooth housekeeping operation that satisfies the needs of guests.
If you want to learn more about Omni Clean, please get in touch with Christoph Hoffmann via OmniClean@omnifm.com.