The Service Companies Blog

Service. Above All

Category: Hospitality Staffing

Common Issues We See In Casinos

With over 1.1 million sq. ft. of gaming area under contract and over 15 years of experience providing services to the industry, we understand the unique challenges that commercial and Native American casinos and casino hotels face in their day to day operations:

  • The struggle to find legal labor due to low unemployment rates, rising wages, and the ongoing “War on Talent”
  • High workers’ compensation and general liability rates/expenditures/exposure
  • Valuable resources are spent managing relationships in union environments
  • Inefficiencies and lack of productivity in non-core departments
  • Maintaining a consistently high quality of service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • High energy usage

These challenges create a large cost burden for casinos, and one option to alleviate these issues is to partner with a well-capitalized service provider (see our previous article on what to take into consideration when selecting a vendor). Our team of seasoned industry experts established a diverse list of services that cater to the common needs of every casino resort.

The Service Companies is the premier provider to the casino industry. We offer managed services, staffing services, specialty services, and engineering services to casino properties across the nation. Backed by a large investment fund, we have the capital to support a casino’s stringent requirements and massive needs and have the years of experience driving productivity and providing solutions that reduce costs and energy.

As part of our commitment to service, our team takes full accountability of recruiting needs, compliance checks, and training to ensure success. To learn more, click on the links to our services above, or contact one of our industry experts at https://www.theservicecompanies.com/contact/.

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Cleaning The World One Community At A Time: The Service Companies Teams Up With Caesars Entertainment and Clean The World On A Service Trip To Zambia

As the service and hospitality industry experts, we know that effective hygiene is one of the most important elements to ensure the health and safety of our customers, their guests and our associates. It is important to us, though, to do this beyond our own departments and properties. That is why our housekeeping teams partner with Caesars Entertainment and Clean The World throughout the year to collect partially used soaps for hygiene kits that are distributed in underserved communities.

For the sixth consecutive year, we were able to send another team member on a trip of a lifetime to assist in the distribution of recycled soap and hygiene kits. Catherine Francois, a housekeeping team member from one of our casino hotel properties in Laughlin, Nevada, was selected to represent our company on a service trip to Zambia, Africa, along with members of Clean The World and Caesars Entertainment.

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When Catherine arrived in Zambia, she was able to visit three underserved communities and, with the other Clean The World and Caesars Entertainment participants, distributed soaps and hygiene kits, taught families how to properly wash their hands, and participated in skits to enforce good sanitation practices.

After returning from her trip, we were able to catch up with Catherine to hear more about her experience and how the service trip made an impact on her life. Check out the interview below to view photos and learn more about Catherine’s time in Zambia.

What was your reaction to hearing you were selected to go on the soap distribution trip to Zambia?

When I heard that I was selected to go to Zambia with Clean The World I couldn’t contain my excitement. I jumped and shouted with joy. I couldn’t stop talking about it.

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What were your expectations of the trip when you were selected? How were they the same or different than what you experienced?

Before going on this trip, I tried not to have any expectations. I was looking forward to the experience and hoped that I would not be disappointed. However, this trip surpassed all that I had imagined.

What Clean The World initiatives did you participate in during your time in Zambia?

In Zambia, I participated in each Clean The World activity. During our first performance, I played the role of “Super Soap”. In the second and third performance, I played a germ. I also demonstrated good hand washing techniques to the audience during our second site visit. I sang and distributed soaps during all three site visits.

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 Besides soap distribution and sanitation education, what else were you able to experience while in Zambia?

I was able to experience a few things in Zambia. In Lusaka, I experienced several different restaurants. I also visited the local markets to look around, shop for souvenirs, and interact with locals in the area. In Livingston, I was able have a fascinating experience when I saw Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park and Great Victoria Falls. Last but not least, I experienced a safari ride where I was able to see many animals in their natural habitats.

What was the most memorable part of your trip?

The most memorable part of my trip was all the different ways the people welcomed us. I will always remember the faces of children patiently waiting for hours to receive their soaps, as well as their excitement once they saw us arriving on site.
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What did you learn from your trip to Zambia?

I learned that Clean The World does not just give hygiene products to these families. They keep track of their progress throughout the year. They make sure that these communities are using what they learned to stay healthy and   check in to make sure kids are not missing school due to hygiene related illnesses.

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How has this trip impacted you?

This trip has impacted my view on life. It has forced me to look at things differently. It also made me think of what I can do to help others who are less fortunate.

Would you recommend others take a trip with Clean The World? Why or why not?

I would recommend that everyone take a trip with Clean The World to see how even the smallest efforts have the ability to make big impact on the lives of others.

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Work Relationships To Be Thankful For

As you look back on some of the most memorable moments you have experienced while working in the hospitality industry, many different events may come to mind. Most of your memorable moments may have taken place at your property, but mine took place in a more unconventional location- in a hospital’s delivery room with a housekeeper named Marie.

While working as a Manager at a resort in Orlando, the morning started the same as it normally would. I drank my morning cup of coffee and prepared my assignments for the staff. When Marie walked in, I could tell she didn’t seem herself. By this point, Marie was well into her pregnancy and her husband was working out of town. I decided to personally escort her to see a doctor.

Upon arrival, the hospital staff thought I was Marie’s Creole translator. They began asking questions as I helped Marie fill out necessary paperwork. Once the hospital staff understood we worked together, they asked me to find a seat in the family waiting area. Shortly after Marie made her way to the delivery room, a nurse handed me a gown and booties and I was escorted to a seat next to Marie. At first, I was surprised I ended up in the delivery room, but I quickly reached out to hold her hand and supported her along the way. Marie then welcomed her baby girl into the world.

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I have always believed that bonds between associates extend far beyond the walls of a property. In our industry, many associates like myself have lived and worked a distance from friends and family. Having the support and sense of extended family at work was very important to me. Employee challenges became my challenges and their accomplishments were our accomplishments; we kept our eye on goals together.

I always kept an open door and scheduled one-on-one time with the associates. Although our meetings always started with a bit about work, we were excited to later catch up on family and discuss our personal lives. I was grateful to be a go-to for employees needing advice about outside challenges. Although not knowledgeable in every area, I tried my best to listen and share advice.

Through close engagement with my team, many began to look forward to swapping new recipes at our covered dish events throughout the year. I couldn’t walk in the door without bringing a double batch of corn casserole. I could still taste Van Kim’s sticky rice and Melanie’s Lumpia. Terry always sent me home with an extra plate of her amazing peanut butter cookies.

Written holiday cards always started early to get them all in with a personalized note. I still look forward to receiving cards today from former coworkers. That valuable time spent at work was as much mine, as theirs.

As we approach the Thanksgiving season, I recognize how grateful I am for many unforgettable moments and traditions and look forward to creating future memories with my teams. Now that I have shared my story, The Service Companies would love to hear yours. What memory from the hospitality industry are you most thankful for? Let us know in the comments section!

Laurie Katinos is one of the leading hospitality operations directors. Her expertise in housekeeping operations spans over 20 years, with the majority of her time spent with Hyatt Hotels Corporation and The Service Companies. Her knowledge and operations savvy has contributed to The Service Companies becoming the unrivaled provider of cleaning, staffing and managed services in the hospitality industry.

Why Should You Join The Service Companies?

When choosing a career path, which of the following qualities are the most important to you?

  • Receiving hands-on training to prepare you for your new role
  • Competitive pay and benefits
  • A culture built on continuous training, employee recognition, mutual respect and strong work ethic
  • Opportunities for growth and advancement

Although each person ranks the above qualities differently, all four are key in achieving a happy and sustainable career. At The Service Companies, we not only invest in personal growth and training, but also the future of our associates. Here are just a few reasons why a career with The Service Companies may be right for you!

Training

Starting a new career can be intimidating. That is why we created a training and orientation program for the success of our new associates. Along with hands-on learning, each new team member is given access to our employee portal full of training guides and position checklists to ensure long-term success. Our new hires are also paired with a mentor during their 10-day training period to ensure effective learning on property.

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Benefits

Our associates work hard to make sure our clients and their guests receive the best possible service. To thank them for their hard work, we provide a complete employee benefits package that includes everything from medical insurance to short and long term disability and a 401k matching program. We also give associates enrolled at a college or university an opportunity to receive a yearly scholarship award and tuition reimbursement.

Culture and Associate Satisfaction

The Service Companies is the employer of choice for hourly associates. Our culture is based on recognition, respect and continuous learning. While we work hard, we also have fun. Our associates enjoy celebrations, weeklong events, contests, and friendly competitions year round. We also offer competitive wages and a safe and harmonious work environment.

 

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Growth and Advancement

As one of the fastest growing companies in the managed service industry, and the largest in the hospitality segment, there is a location and position that fits you! With customer locations spread across over 27 states and the Bahamas, and over 50% of our management positions being filled internally, now is the perfect time to join us and grow your career. To learn more about growth and advancement opportunities with The Service Companies, click here!

Whether you are a student, a recent graduate, U.S. Military Veteran, or just looking to launch your career, a job with The Service Companies is a great way for you to start making your impact on the hospitality industry!

Are you ready to join The Service Companies? Visit https://www.theservicecompanies.com/careers/ to apply now!

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International Housekeeping Week 2018

Every year, a week is set aside to honor our hardworking Housekeeping associates. This year, International Housekeeping Week is September 9-15. Housekeeping, often referred to as heart of house services, is one of the toughest and most important jobs for every property to ensure guest satisfaction and prevent illnesses. At The Service Companies, International Housekeeping Week is a big week-long event. Each housekeeping department leader holds events and arranges games, gifts, and a few surprises for their team members to ensure they know how important they are.BP3

International Housekeeping Week started back in the early 80’s as a directive from the Uniting Facility Managers Worldwide President. The week was used to recognize the “doers” in the housekeeping profession. The first official theme was “Our Profession Is Clean.” Since then, different themes and slogans have been featured each year. Today, themes are not used as much as they once were, but the week is still a special opportunity to acknowledge the outstanding efforts of every member in your housekeeping team. Thank your housekeepers for a job well done, reward their dedication, inspire their continued efforts, and boost their morale through meaningful gestures and thoughtfully planned activities.

During this year’s Housekeeping Week, make sure to give an extra special “Thank You” to all of your housekeeping team members. Perhaps jump in and help out by cleaning a room, making a bed or scrubbing a toilet – you never know what you might learn!

Here are some ways to make International Housekeeping Week special for your team!

 

Play Games

Who doesn’t love a little competition? Surprise your housekeepers with fun games and activities that will give them a positive start to the day.

Bed-Making Contest

Put your team’s skills to good use as they compete in a bed-making contest! Choose the winner based on the fastest time and the bed that looks the neatest.

Bingo

Put a twist on a classic game! Hand out custom-made cards and swap out numbers with terms that relate to your property.

Toilet Paper Bozo Buckets

Grab a bucket and a roll of toilet paper and see who has the best three-point-shot on property. Extra points for trick shots!

Musical Chairs

A classic game that is simple and always enjoyable. Play the game to your housekeepers’ favorite songs.

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Give Prizes 

What is better than surprising your team with fun games? Awarding your winning team member with a prize! Here are some prize options won’t break the bank.

Gift Cards

Spoil your housekeeping associate with a $25 gift card of their choosing!

Offer to Pay a Bill

Say thank you to your winning housekeepers by paying one of their personal bills for the month! Whether it’s for their cell phone, water, or cable, feel free to cap it off around $50.

Giveaways

Draw a name out of a hat with a gift of your choosing. This easy, yet special, surprise will make one of your team members’ day.

Movie Tickets

Movie tickets are a great way to give your winning team member a relaxing night out!

Raffle Tickets

Pick a few different prizes and display them in your property office; make sure each prize has a corresponding bucket. Each day, give a raffle ticket to the employees who show up to work on time and volunteer to play the games. Have them drop their raffle ticket into one of the buckets of their choosing after each shift. At the end of the week, randomly draw a raffle ticket from each bucket!

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Remember the Managers

Your managers work hard to keep your property running smoothly. Make sure to extend a special “thank you” for all that they do! Have a personal card written for your day-to-day managers. Include a kind note or some photos. If you are feeling extra generous, feel free to include a monetary gift.

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How We Prepare for the Spring and Summer

Although Mother Nature seems to be confused this year regarding which season it is, summer is finally on its way. With schools beginning to let out for summer break, our luxury hotel properties across the country are increasing in occupancy, specifically with family travelers.

Opening Day WP 1Last month, The Service Companies completed our Annual Spring Cleaning Event, during which our teams cleaned and organized all back of the house areas, including offices, break rooms, storage areas and more. This was our initial step in preparing for the upcoming busy season. Maintaining a well organized back of the house area sets us up for success, as we are then able to quickly identify items needed and alleviate hiccups in service delivery.

jack_cinciAs we further prepare for the summer season, we focus on and place additional effort in stocking up on equipment and supplies, ensuring our staff is full, and providing refresher training to our teams so they are ready for the influx of guests. This includes making sure our teams are equipped with enough linens and amenities to accommodate each room and adjusting as needed. For example, a higher number of families requires us to need more towels than usual. Additionally, property information will be reviewed in our mandatory training meetings before each shift, as an increase in traffic will result in an increase in guest questions.

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While we are spending time preparing for the upcoming summer months, we can’t look too far forward. In May, not only are we stocking up for a busy season, we are celebrating Mother’s Day. We may not be able to give every associate who is a mother the day off, but we can ensure all team members can leave on time or early by making small adjustments to our schedule. Managers also celebrate with pre-shift activities to let everyone know they are appreciated, and to thank them for spending their special day working hard to service our guests.

Leaders in Service: Stephanie Leger

Our next Leaders in Service series feature is Stephanie Leger, Corporate Compliance Auditor and support for our hotel, casino and resort properties across the country.  Prior to joining our team, Stephanie held a number of roles with The Ritz-Carlton brand, including Housekeeping Manager, Front Desk Supervisor, and Group Sales Coordinator, and was a Service Evaluator for Forbes Travel Guide, during which time she was trained and certified in over 550 hotel standards and identified service strengths and opportunities for improvement. We have interviewed Stephanie about her time at The Service Companies, her unique background in inspections and auditing, and what it takes to succeed and grow within our company. Currently, she is providing operational support and expertise to one of The Service Companies’ luxury hotels in South Beach, Miami.

StephanieLeger_1794What roles have you held while with The Service Companies? How long have you been with us? I’ve been with The Service Companies for two years, during which I’ve lead the team in account openings, helped with the expansion of accounts and evaluated how our accounts align with our company and brand standards. At the property I’m with right now in Miami, we’re running about 45 room attendants each day, and I’ve been training new associates every day.

What has kept you on our team, and what do you like most about this company? It’s exciting to be part of a growing company that isn’t just growing in one location, but across the country – over 30 states and counting! We’re also expanding into different calibers of hotels, and I like assisting in creating our company standards as we grow.

What does your job entail? I have a variety of job duties. I travel to our new accounts and assist in setting up the housekeeping department and training newly hired team members. Or, I visit existing accounts and audit the housekeeping department by testing associates’ knowledge and spot checking cleanliness in their rooms.

What do you think makes an Executive Housekeeper successful? Having skills in time management, teamwork and flexibility are important for success.

What do you think is the most important part of your role? Checking in on our current accounts and making sure they performing up to our standards, and if they’re not, assisting them to get them where they need to be.

What would you recommend to someone looking to become an Executive Housekeeper? Learn all the duties of each position of your team. Then as a leader, you’ll be able to understand how each position relies on each other to meet the needs of the guest.

What do you love most about your position? I love visiting our various properties and working with the team to take them to the next level.

How do you stay motivated, and how do you motivate your team? To keep myself motivated, I stay positive. My nickname is giggles; I’m always laughing and in a good mood. Housekeeping can be very challenging, but I use my positive outlook to motivate the team. Also, I work side by side with the team to get the task at hand done.  

Outside of work, how do you spend your time? What are you passionate about and what do you enjoy doing? I enjoy traveling to destinations I’ve never been before and touring the area. When not on the road for work I like to travel to tropical locations and enjoy the outdoors, hiking and fishing.

 

At The Service Companies, we understand that our people are what makes our company great and enables us to provide our customers Service. Above All.

No matter what level, property or department, you will find exceptional associates who live and breathe our brand and have helped create a strong corporate culture. In the spirit of honoring the people and leaders within our company, we feature and interview our outstanding associates in our series, Leaders in Service.

The Service Companies is the unrivaled nationwide provider of cleaning, staffing and managed services to the hospitality industry, particularly luxury hotels, casinos and vacation ownership resorts. With nearly 30 years of experience, The Service Companies approaches their work with dedication, professionalism and a keen attention to detail that leads to best-in-class results.

Leaders in Service: Barbara Johnson

 

Our next feature of the Leaders in Service series is Barbara Johnson, Stewarding Supervisor at one of our casino properties in Shreveport, Louisiana. Barbara has been with the Service Companies for over 10 years, and has shown endless dedication and remarkable leadership.

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How long have you been with The Service Companies?

I’ve been with the company for 11 years, working at two properties in the Shreveport area since I was first hired.

What role(s) have you had here and what is your current position?

I started as an EVS Attendant and was promoted to Supervisor. My background includes working on EVS and Stewarding teams and I work closely with The Service Companies’ customer’s Food & Beverage team here in Shreveport.  

What does your job entail?

My job entails making sure my team is able to do their job, from roll call and pre-shift meetings at the beginning of the shift to making sure my team members are where they need to be and has what they need. I provide my team with everything they need to succeed each day.

How do you stay motivated or how do you motivate your team members/coworkers?

I make sure my team knows that the most important part of their job is about respect for themselves, their team and their guests, and I respect them. I motivate them by making sure they have what they need to do well, and also recognize associates with giveaways and announcements to let them know they are appreciated. This past holiday season, we all pitched in for a Christmas celebration, and I made sure everyone felt included and ate well.

What do you like most about your current role?

I love my team and being around people. I enjoy communicating with them about their jobs and training, making sure they have everything they need to succeed.

You have been with The Service Companies for over 10 years. What has kept you on our team and what do you like most about the company?

I love doing my job and I like my bosses. I enjoy the environment of The Service Companies and being a part of the team.

We are thrilled to have such a tenured member on our team. Through the years, we imagine you have experienced and learned a great deal. Is there any advice you’d give to a team member who has joined The Service Companies?

I would tell them to have a positive attitude, by happy and cheerful, and get comfortable with their job.

Outside of work, what are you passionate about? What do you do when you are not working?

I like spending time with my friends and family, and being there for them when I’m needed.

At The Service Companies, we understand that our people are what makes our company great and enables us to provide our customers Service. Above All.

No matter what level, property or department, you will find exceptional associates who live and breathe our brand and have helped create a strong corporate culture. In the spirit of honoring the people and leaders within our company, we feature and interview our outstanding associates in our series, Leaders in Service.

The Service Companies is the unrivaled nationwide provider of cleaning, staffing and managed services to the hospitality industry, particularly luxury hotels, casinos and vacation ownership resorts. With nearly 30 years of experience, The Service Companies approaches their work with dedication, professionalism and a keen attention to detail that leads to best-in-class results.

What hotels, resorts & casinos should ask when selecting a managed services or staffing vendor partner

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With budget season upon us for 2018, you may be accepting proposals from vendors to assume responsibilities of one or more departments at your hotel, casino or resort. To protect yourself, your management company and your ownership group, there are specific questions to ask as you review these proposals. The cheapest option is generally not the best option as there is always an underlying reason why prices are substantially lower.

  • Is the vendor well capitalized and able to meet their payroll needs? A number of service providers are unable to pay their employees on time, which opens their customers (you) up to liability and bad publicity.
  • What does the vendor’s workers compensation program look like? Many lower cost vendors create shell games that could put your property at risk to pay for their employees’ workers compensation claims.
  • Does the vendor follow Department of Labor regulations on overtime payment and payment timeliness?
  • Is there a plan for the management of their employees so joint employment issues are not found and filed?
  • Is there an employee training, retention and satisfaction program? What does the training program, if one exists, look like and are there processes that encourage continuous education (pre-shift meetings, for instance)? At The Service Companies we are constantly educating and training our associates, even if they have been with the team for over 10 years. There are always new techniques and best practices to share and learn.
  • Does the vendor provide benefits, competitive wages and retain their employees? If not, you may be looking at joint employment issues and a workforce that is consistently in flux and not up to speed on your specifications and standards.
  • What is the vendor’s approach to recruiting and staffing? Does the vendor run background and E-verification tests prior to hiring their employees? Unlike The Service Companies, many vendors cannot guarantee that their labor is legal because they do not run these checks, which opens your property up to issues with I.C.E. and the Department of Homeland Security.

These are just a few items that we have learned in our 30 years of experience are necessary for hotels, casinos and resorts to be aware of when making a decision on managed service providers. We take pride in becoming a seamless partner for each of our customers, so we put the responsibility of liability exposure, insurance, benefits, recruiting and quality assurance on our shoulders. This also means that we can guarantee our customers’ properties and ownership are fully protected from potential joint employment issues. Not many other companies put the same emphasis on this, and many times, that is directly reflected in price.

Steve Wilson is the President and CEO of The Service Companies, the leading provider of cleaning, staffing and managed services to the hospitality industry. With over 30 years of experience in service and hospitality, he flies more than 200,000 miles per year (all domestic) and spends over 200 nights per year in hotels visiting the company’s associates and customers, located in 44 states across the country.

Leaders in Service: Griffin Long

Griffin LongAt The Service Companies, we understand that our people are what makes our company great and enables us to provide our customers Service. Above All. No matter what level, property or department you look, you will find exceptional associates who live and breathe our brand and have helped create a strong corporate culture. In the spirit of honoring the people and leaders within our company, we will feature and interview our outstanding associates in our series, Leaders in Service.

Our second feature of this series is Griffin Long, an Operations Manager for our Food & Beverage and Hospitality Staffing division, Acrobat Outsourcing. We’ve asked him to answer some questions about working for The Service Companies:

Tell us how long have you been with The Service Companies?

I have worked with Acrobat Outsourcing, The Service Companies’ Food & Beverage and Hospitality Staffing business segment, a little over two years.

What role(s) have you had here and what is your current position?

My first role with Acrobat was as a temporary worker doing catering for Sodexo. I then became a Staffing Assistant and began working out of Acrobat Outsourcing’s Houston office and became Operations Assistant Manager not long after. I was recently promoted to Operations Manager for Austin, a role I will be assuming this week.

Congratulations on your promotion! What does your new job entail?

What doesn’t my job entail is the real question. I do everything from staffing, recruiting, administrative tasks, check-in, client meetings, and more. That’s how I was trained, to cover everything. It’s always good to be well versed in what your entire team does.

So, how do you motivate your team?

I motivate my team by always asking if they need help. No matter how busy I am, I always find time to see what areas I can help them in. This builds teamwork and everyone knows their role, but at the end of the day they can wear all the hats in the office.

I know you were just promoted, but what was the best thing about being the Operations Assistant Manager in Austin?

The best thing about being Operations Assistant Manager was that I got to help upper management while also being able to focus on the team effort. Whether it’s speaking to clients or helping with admin work I did a little bit of everything for the greater good.

Tell us one thing about yourself that is not related to work or what you do for fun when you’re not working.

I enjoy fishing, camping, cooking, and hanging out with my family! I am a very family-oriented person. They will always come first in my life.

The Service Companies is the unrivaled nationwide provider of cleaning, staffing and managed services to the hospitality industry, particularly luxury hotels, casinos and vacation ownership resorts. With nearly 30 years of experience, The Service Companies approaches their work with dedication, professionalism and a keen attention to detail that leads to best-in-class results.