Tag: housekeeping (Page 1 of 2)

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. It also is one piece of our corporate social responsibility strategy. 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.

Catherine Francois

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 working in the hospitality industry are you most thankful for? Let us know in the comments section!

Stepping into the Shoes of a Guest Room Attendant

IMG_3601 2At The Service Companies, we value our associates because we understand they are what make us great. Our Guest Room Attendants across the country work tirelessly each day to deliver on our company’s promise and create the best possible experience for guests. It is important to us that at no matter what level, property or department, our whole team contributes to a strong culture and works toward a common goal. Recently, our Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Matt Sanfilippo, visited one of our luxury casino hotel properties in Laughlin, Nevada, where he spent the day working as a Guest Room Attendant. Read below about his experience and what he learned.

Which property did you visit?

I visited one of our luxury casino hotel properties in Laughlin, Nevada.

What position did you fill in on?

I was a Guest Room Attendant in the Housekeeping Department for the day – I worked with another GRA, Latosha Jackson.

What was your schedule like for the day?

The schedule was intense. We were expecting a very busy day with many early arrivals. The house had to be turned by 4pm to accommodate the influx of new guests. On top of that, there were a large number of VIP guests flying in for a concert at the property that night.

Did you receive training?

I did receive training, but for me it was strictly on the job, bootstrap style. We had a mission to get the house turned. I stripped the rooms and made the beds. Latosha took care of the bathroom and vacuumed.

What were your observations about the culture of the department/property?

I was concerned as I drove down to Laughlin from Las Vegas that the day was going to be intense with the momentous task that had to be completed. However, upon arrival, I was delighted to find that the staff was upbeat and positive about the challenge they had ahead of them. The culture is one of respect for co-workers and leaders. Latosha, the GRA I was working with for the day, loves her job (and does it well). Everyone embraces Project Director Alan Ching, who has done a fantastic job of shifting the work environment at the property.   

I took this opportunity to learn what motivated the employees to come to work each day.  I found that it’s the culture, the way they are treated, and the camaraderie that is shared throughout the team. They appreciate working in an environment where they are respected by their peers and managers, and feeling like they’re a part of something bigger. The associates are truly hospitality people and love giving service to our guests.  

What did you learn or take away from this experience?

The job of a Guest Room Attendant is very difficult.  It’s hard to imagine what cleaning eighteen rooms looks and feels like until you do it. The physical component is demanding. Mattresses are heavy. Linen is sometimes turned inside out. You question why a bed needs four pillows. Why do they need so many sheets? I attempted to leave each room in the condition that I would expect if I were a guest at the property.  

The experience was impactful and humbling because it gave me the opportunity to experience what all those terms I typically hear on conference calls mean. Turning the house means you are not leaving until all rooms are cleaned. A board is your roadmap through the day for your housekeeping experience. A Do Not Disturb sign is a happy sight when you’re close to the finish line. Make friends with a Houseperson, they can be life savers.

I have a ton of respect for our Housekeepers throughout the country. It’s definitely one of the hardest jobs out there!

Emerging Leaders: Shelly Sauseda

Our Emerging Leaders Program was developed to give individuals within our team the opportunity for growth by providing comprehensive management and leadership training. The Service Companies is dedicated to fostering and investing in our associates’ careers, and as a result, we have a number of tenured associates who have risen through the ranks from Kitchen Cleaners or EVS Attendants to Vice Presidents. Today, we highlight Shelly Sauseda, who recently reached her one year anniversary with us as an EVS Attendant at a casino in Bossier City. During Shelly’s first year, her manager noticed great potential and an eagerness to learn more, and urged Shelly to apply to our Emerging Leaders Program. Currently two months into the six month management training program, which includes learning about the housekeeping and stewarding functions and departments, , including rooms cleaning, office dispatch, room inspections, floor care, kitchens, human resources and project management. We interviewed Shelly about her experience so far.

Shelly Rooms TrainingWhen did you join The Service Companies?

I started at The Service Companies in March 2017 as a Restroom Attendant at a casino property in Bossier City, Louisiana.

How did you learn about our Emerging Leaders Program and what do you hope to take away from it?

I found out about the Program from Dekindra Thomas, the Project Manager at the property where I first started. I want to develop better leadership skills and to be an example so other employees can follow in my steps.

The Emerging Leaders Program involves six months of training. How is your training schedule broken down and where are you currently in your training?

I spend time at different properties learning the ins and outs of each department. I completed my final week  at a casino property in Bossier City, where I learned how to run an efficient and successful housekeeping department. Next I’ll move on to learn about floor care and kitchen cleaning at another casino in the area.

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Can you describe what your typical day-to-day looked like during the housekeeping training portion of the program?

At first, I was cleaning rooms while learning room procedures and how to make beds. After I mastered those tasks, I was placed on dispatch for two weeks to learn about that housekeeping function. Next, I spent one to two weeks learning how to inspect rooms. I was also trained on the responsibilities of a house attendant.

What has been the biggest lesson or thing you’ve learned through the Program?

How to run dispatch was the biggest task I mastered. It requires strong multitasking skills. A Dispatcher has to take phone calls and radio messages while simultaneously managing the computer.  

What has been the most rewarding accomplishment for you since you started the Program?

Being given the opportunity to move forward in my career already feels like an accomplishment. I also feel like I’ve learned a lot about each department’s job functions, including how to be a Dispatcher and the room cleaning inspection process. 

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As you transition to the next stage of your training, what are you looking forward to learning or doing?

I’m really excited to learn how to detail kitchens and polish and wax the floors. My training at the next property will include kitchen deep cleaning, floor care, marble care and stewarding.

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in the Emerging Leaders Program?

Be strong. Never give up. Push yourself to accomplish the new tasks that come with your position. It’s not always easy, but the outcome will be worth it.

To learn more about our associate programs and career opportunities, visit http://www.theservicecompanies.com/careers/why/.

How We Prepare for Spring and Summer Travel

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, meaning a busy summer travel season.

hotel housekeeping team key westLast 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 summer travel 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.

hallway after floor care and restoration servicesAs 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.

cleaning chemicals and disinfectants ready for summer travel

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 Hotel 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 hotel housekeeping 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 hotel housekeeping 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 hotel 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 hotel housekeeping teams? 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.

Tips for Spring Break Travel

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With spring break travel approaching there are many dynamics to consider in order to best prepare your team. Since we have properties in all regions of the US, preparations vary based on weather, school schedules and other factors.

We have already begun speaking to our leaders in the field to prepare our teams for what will be happening one or two months from now.

Advance Planning

Advance Planning is critical when it comes to added stock of supplies, your staffing plan and seasonal uniform changes.

Get an earlier start on inventory of supplies. Since many of these may need additional budget approval and have longer lead times, you don’t want to find yourself running out of items such as; cribs, rollaway beds, room linen and pool towels.

If you haven’t begun pulling your extra pool and deck furniture out from storage for an inspection and deep cleaning, it is definitely that time. Even though resort properties may have a busy pool deck all year around, it is very common needing more to accommodate the spring break crowds.

As the temperatures begin to change, it is time to determine the appropriate spring HVAC “comfort” settings with your facilities team. We want the first impression at check-in to be a comfortable and welcoming experience. In addition, determine the best placement for your window treatments. As we welcome more sunlight during the winter months, keeping draperies closed a bit more will assist in cooling down the room during spring and into summer.

Review your uniform par levels for departments requiring a seasonal change. Ensure your associates are looking and feeling their best.

Staffing Plan

During these seasonal periods, the typical staffing plan will fail. Expect higher volume in all areas and plan accordingly. It is important for the leaders to communicate adjustments early so associates can make arrangements outside of work as well. Extra support will be needed in rooms, public areas, and food & beverage outlets to accommodate spring break travel. Some areas to consider;

  • More frequent public restroom checks and monitoring of high traffic areas
  • Providing extra support in the laundry department to expedite additional guest room, pool, and food & beverage linen demands
  • Accommodating additional food & beverage covers and extended outlet hours
  • Anticipate extended time needed in guest rooms. Since spring break typically has higher guest counts and a longer length of stay, this usually requires additional servicing time
  • For our resorts and coastal properties, ideal weather conditions usually prompt later checkouts, so if the weather is cooperating schedule staff accordingly for late services. I find starting some associates an hour later helps cover the late checkouts
  • Since we offer transportation for team members in many markets, this period may require more frequent stops

Many of our associates have children taking school breaks as well, so we try to be as accommodating as possible to allow them necessary time with their families. Sometimes a slight shift on their schedule is a big help during this period.

Setting Your Team Up for Success

Just before the crowds arrive, everyone should be well informed on how they can best contribute to your operation. As we know, in order to be successful with the influx of transient business you must adjust your usual agenda and methods of cleaning.

Be sure your daily pre-shift meetings include these important reminders and everyone is well-informed of the special activities and events happening at the property and surrounding areas. Keep daily events posted and copies readily available for your staff members.

Prepare all the extras for multiple guests and families; items such as extra pillows, blankets, rollaways and cribs. Many of these requests come in during the afternoon and evening hours so be sure to have them “delivery ready” and staged in convenient locations.

Be proactive by delivering extra items during regular services to accommodate multiple guests. In addition to stocking items for guest requests, there are a few to consider as part of the daily service such as; increased linen pars, soap and shampoo. Also, be sure to stock extra paper products in public area closets.

Most importantly, don’t lose sight of your repeat customers that may be visiting during this period.

For many, this kicks off the start of a long spring break travel stretch throughout the spring and summer where families and more transient business visit your properties. It is important to continue discussing the unique needs of travelers during these periods.


The Service Companies’ unique turn-key model provides complete oversight of the housekeeping, public area, EVS, and stewarding departments, including accountability over the productivity, operations and success of the departments. These services allow hotel, casino and resort customers to focus on driving revenues. To learn how The Service Companies’ turn-key model can help your property, contact us.

Driving The Check-In Metric

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When you think of an efficient casino or hotel check-in process, does the Front Desk operation come to mind? As hospitality experts, we all understand that the efficiency of the Front Desk and check-in relies tremendously on what happens behind the scenes within the Housekeeping operation. Without having sufficient inventory of clean rooms, they cannot satisfy early check-ins or unpredictable guest demands.

From my experience as a Front Office Manager and Director of Housekeeping, I developed processes and a guide that would ensure guestroom check-in efficiency. At The Service Companies, we employ these in all our of our Housekeeping departments across the country.

To download a copy of the casino and hotel check-in guide, filled with best practices, fill in your information below.

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Keeping rooms clean and fresh this Spring and beyond

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We are few weeks into Spring and many of us are looking forward to opening our windows and letting some fresh air in. Hotel rooms can be extra challenging where many rooms are sealed tight all year long. Because of this, we have put together our spring cleaning tips and resources for hotel and casino housekeeping departments to keep guestrooms clean and fresh.

Housekeeping plays a significant role in keeping the guest areas clean and fresh. Following the basic cleaning standards is a great start, though there are additional practices that will help along the way no matter what hinders the process. Each of your guests should enjoy a pleasant room experience with no sign of a previous occupant. Having these processes in place can greatly impact your rooms for the better and create a lasting impression with our guests.

We have created our own list of additional practices to employ. To download your copy of Spring Season Cleaning Tips click here

How to build strong relationships with your clients

As we begin 2017, it’s important to remember the value of developing good customer relationships and providing exceptional customer service. At The Service Companies, one part of our Service Code is “Service is not what we do – it is who we are” and we are always focused on providing the best service possible to our hotel, casino and vacation ownership clients and their guests.

As we provide primarily “back-of-house” services, our clients are not only the guests of the property, but also of the various operational departments we work closely with throughout the day and night. I’ve found that good customer relationships stem from delivering good customer service. If your client is happy and satisfied with your work and response, then it is a sure way to not only grow your business, but also to maintain a lasting customer relationship. Here are my tips on how to build strong relationships with your clients:

  1. Develop relationships with front office staff. Invite them to a pre-shift meeting so they see and understand your services and operations. Consider sending the front office staff treats during particularly busy times. Being in the hospitality industry, we are all working long and hard hours. It’s nice to show your customers your appreciation for their partnership.
  2. Remember special occasions that are important to your client. Keep track of your clients’ birthdays, anniversaries, children’s birthdays, etc. Send a note on these dates. It will let your customers know you care and that they are important to you.
  3. Communicate with your clients on a regular basis. Even just a short note or, better yet, a call to see if they have any feedback and discuss upcoming busy dates and important group and guest arrivals; this communication is critical to providing the service they need and expect from us.
  4. Make great first and lasting impressions. First impressions are important because a lack of familiarity can raise anxiety and heighten emotions. In the beginning of a relationship, your customer may feel sensitive or tentative. Give them a warm greeting every time you see them. This often translates into a lasting positive memory. Over the course of your relationship, the pleasant, short contacts you have with your customer and the service you provide will increase the perception of friendliness. In addition to this, always be thinking how you can provide a lasting impression, which comes from creating a memorable ‘moment of difference.’ Associates who are always ‘looking to help’ and proactively take action to assist or give information will create the moments customers remember. The lasting impression is the goodbye and, unsurprisingly, a person seems to recall these interactions later in the experience more readily than those earlier.
  5. Create Moments of Difference. For The Service Companies, our customer’s guests and their experiences are incredibly important. To make sure their stays are memorable, create at least one special memory that they will remember after they leave. For repeat guests, aim to build on their memories. Allow staff to be inspirational, help, give information and make recommendations to guests. Give or do something unexpected (for instance, Housekeepers leaving extra tissues or delivering hot soup for sick guests). Give staff enough freedom to be able to provide exceptional service. Finally, have fantastic, friendly and easy receptions with great goodbyes.
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