Tag: turn-key housekeeping

Preparing for Hurricane Season

With a large number of our properties in the southeast regions of the United States, preparing for hurricane season is something we take very seriously at The Service Companies. As a business partner to resorts, casinos, hotels and various other facilities at risk of hurricanes and tropical storms, we train and make our associates aware of each property’s emergency plan right from the start.

Storms in these regions are inevitable this time of year, but it is hard to be sure when, and where, a hurricane is going to hit. After experiencing some of the most severe tropical storms and hurricanes, our team knows that the key to ensuring safety on property is to be prepared, and with hurricane warnings coming days in advance, there is some time to prepare your building and guests for the storm ahead.

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Here are some important tips to remember when preparing for a hurricane:

Hurricane season calls for extra support, but staffing may be limited due to road conditions and the need for associates to be with their families. To work around this issue, it helps to have a “Storm Team” in place. This team, comprised of associates from different departments, is given living accommodations on property for the duration of the storm to support efforts.

While you have more manpower several days out, get exterior preparations done early. Anything that is not securely mounted must go indoors. Items such as waste receptacles and exterior furniture need to be moved to a safe location within the garage, storage area or lower level of the building. Balcony tower furniture can be stacked inside of the guest rooms. This also comes in handy for people to rest and ride the storm in the lower level of your property.

Many times, your hotel guests are unable to travel during the storm and must stay on property. If this becomes the case, remember to do the following:

  • Keep guests informed through regular communications. This includes items such as storm updates, evacuation plans and stairwell locations, safe areas to be within the building (i.e. away from windows), available food options and services during this period.
  • If your property rooms have outdoor space, be sure guests know to bring any personal items inside. Before heavier winds approach, take walks around the building to verify all is clear.
  • If you have guests in need of extra care or that use assisted equipment, make sure to make this information known to your team in the case that they need immediate assistance during the storm.
  • Pre-pack emergency kits so they can be delivered and/or available to each guest. Kits should include: bottled water, flashlights, extra linens, paper products, amenities, trash bags, and dry snacks.
  • Have battery sources available to charge devices, as this is a common request when electricity goes out.
  • Organize indoor activities and keep an inventory of games, especially for families with children.

The Future of Janitorial Services

According to a survey conducted by the IFMA, “poor janitorial service” and a “lack of cleanliness” are among the top three complaints facing facility operations today. These complaints destroy a property’s reputation when shared online and reflect poorly on guest service scores. To combat this issue, managed has resorted to pulling staff from other departments to fulfill the janitorial services needs of the property. This process is only a short-term fix, as the redistribution of staff creates a lack of productivity in other departments.

Our team of experts is dedicated to finding the most technologically advanced solution that solves cleaning issues and improves the guest experience. That is why The Service Companies partners with a best-in-class technology provider to offer smart facility solutions to commercial facilities.

What is our smart facility solution?

Through our partnership with a smart technology provider, we offer a facility solution that uses AI to automate the janitorial process. We install sensors in strategic areas of the restroom and other public areas. These sensors enable management to monitor the needs and cleanliness level of the space. All without pulling employees from other departments or hiring additional labor.

How does it work?

By installing smart sensors in or around garbage cans, soap dispensers, faucets and more, management is notified when restrooms and public areas need attention. From a dispenser in need of more paper towels to an overflowing toilet that needs immediate attention, smart sensors send real-time notifications to any smart device for a quick resolution.

In addition, we track usage patterns and traffic flow to project the restroom’s busiest times during the day. This allows management to staff for the need and create an accurate cleaning schedule. Because supplies get replenished when needed, it also saves costs by reducing waste.

What are the benefits?

Implementing our smart facility solutions on property will allow you to experience the following long-term savings:

Time – Instead of checking on each restroom multiple times per day, you get the what, when and where for each janitorial issue that may arise. This allows employees to spend their time attending to other problem areas on property.

Resources – Smart sensors monitor each trash container, toilet paper, soap and paper towel dispenser, and faucet to ensure employees replenish water and hygiene products only when needed.

Money – The more resources you save, the more money you save! Smart sensors eliminate the need to pay associates overtime for spending unnecessary hours patrolling the restrooms areas. They also eliminate the need to hire additional labor to attend to the restrooms.

Status – Negative guest service scores and bad online reviews can be a thing of the past. Notifications from the smart sensors will allow your team to tend to any janitorial issues right after they occur. This leaves your facility in prime condition throughout the day.

To learn more about our smart facility solution and janitorial services, contact us today!

Leaders in Service – Alan Ching

At The Service Companies, we understand that our associates are the key to providing Service. Above All. No matter the level, department or service segment, our dedicated associates allow us to perform at the highest level and cultivate a strong corporate culture. This is why we developed Leaders in Service, a series of interviews recognizing the high-performing associates across our coAlan Ching 2mpany.

We welcome Alan Ching, Director of Operations at a casino hotel in Laughlin, Nevada, as our newest addition to our Leaders in Service series. A member of our Managed Services division, Alan has been integral to the segment’s success over the past four years. His passion for the job, dedication to service and his associates, along with his knowledge and expertise in the field, makes him a respected leader within our organization. Learn more about Alan as he reflects on what it’s like to work at The Service Companies!

What roles have you held at The Service Companies? How long have you been with us? 

I have been with The Service Companies since January 2015. I started as a Housekeeping Supervisor and have held multiple positions within the company including Housekeeping Operations Manager, Housekeeping Executive, and Assistant Director of Housekeeping and EVS. I have been working as the Director of Housekeeping and EVS Operations at one of our properties in Laughlin, Nevada since June 2017.

What does your job entail?

I am responsible for the overall management of our housekeeping and EVS departments on property. That includes handling finances, scheduling, training and coaching, and making sure our guests have a positive and memorable stay.

What do you love most about your position? 

I love working with associates and guests of different cultures and backgrounds. I also love that everyday is different from the day before. Even when the same associate is performing similar duties as the day prior, the day always brings something new.

How do you stay motivated? 

Providing for my son keeps me motivated each day. I also enjoy watching how hard my bosses work; it drives me to do the same. View More: http://imagodei127photography.pass.us/likeness

Outside of work, how do you spend your time? What are you passionate about and what do you enjoy doing? 

On my days off, I love spending time with my son. Some of our favorite activities include going to the movies, bowling, and hiking; we do these multiple times each month. I also run a football organization on the weekends where I am the head coach for two youth teams.

What has been your biggest accomplishment while working at The Service Companies? 

My biggest accomplishment while working at The Service Companies has been getting nominated for both Manager of the Year within the organization, as well as Emerging Leader of the Year for Nevada Hotel and Lodging Association.

What has been the most rewarding part of your career with The Service Companies? 

Two months after I stepped into my current role as Director of Operations, I went back to my previous location to speak with the employees. Without my knowledge, the entire team gathered in the basement and I walked down to a crowd of employees chanting and screaming my name with excitement. It was in that moment that I realized why I love being in this industry: to make an impact on my employees’ lives.

What do you look for in a potential team member? How can they set themselves apart to start their hospitality careers? 

When it comes to line level employees, I look for a positive attitude. You can teach employees every type of skill, but one thing you cannot teach is positivity. As far as management goes, I love helping my associates grow through the company. I want their dedication and work ethic to prove that they have the ability to take on a management role.

Our associates are launching their hospitality careers each and every day. To do the same, apply today!

Case Study: Luxury Hotel Casino in Shreveport, LA

With price, guest reviews and star ratings having more influence in the consumer’s decision making process than brand attributes (according to PwC’s 22nd Annual Global CEO Survey), guest service scores are more important than ever. They can make the difference between a sold out hotel, casino or resort, and one struggling to sell rooms. Read below how The Service Companies utilized its turn-key housekeeping services to shift guest service scores and improve the productivity of the housekeeping team at a luxury casino hotel in Shreveport, Louisiana.

 

Situation Overview

The Property is a hotel casino with over 600 guest rooms and suites located in Shreveport, Louisiana. The Property has an average room size of 413 square feet per room and is managed by a large American gaming corporation. With low guest satisfaction scores in the housekeeping category, the Property reached out to our team, which was successfully operating the environmental service departments of the public areas and casino, to take on and fully manage the housekeeping department.

 

Challenges

With a limited pool of hospitality professionals in Shreveport, the Property struggled to find quality labor to fill its housekeeping team. As a result, the Property was ranked last in housekeeping of the 40 properties in the parent corporation’s ranking scores.

The average time to clean each guest room was 35.6 minutes and the Property’s customer ranking score for housekeeping room cleanliness was 64.3% ‘A’. Due to the high levels of housekeeping complaints, guests chose to patronize other casinos, resulting in a loss of gaming revenue and an unsupportable situation.

 

Opening Process

Through the Property’s onsite management team, our leadership team worked with the Property’s General Manager to transition the in-house housekeeping department into a department fully managed by The Service Companies. We brought in a corporate lead to oversee the department transition and hired four housekeeping trainers, each handling a different aspect of the department. 59 Property employees transitioned to our team, leaving 28 open positions to fill within a 30-day period.

We inventoried and assumed equipment and uniforms. Standards and processes for the department were established and productivity was aligned with industry standards. Training was implemented to ensure productivity and quality standards would be maintained.

 

Results and Current State

Within one quarter of the transition, the leadership and staffing stabilized and the Property’s Room Cleanliness scores increased to 67.8% from 64.3%.

At the close of the 1st Quarter of 2019, the Property received a Room Cleanliness score of 77.2% “A”, which is 12.9 higher than the score prior to transition and 7.2 points higher than the brand benchmark. The current productivity average for a guest room attendant to turn a room is 25.2 minutes (a 29.2% reduction in cleaning time).

 

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Housekeeping Task Force Spotlight: Vladi Jones

After opening five new housekeeping accounts this summer, The Service Companies’ Heart of House Services department is growing faster than ever before. The success of The Service Companies’ managed services segment stems, in large part, from the training and leadership provided by our Task Force team to new associates and teams. Our Task Force associates travel to different destinations and assist with the operations of each account opening. Once training is finished and management positions are filled, Task Force members are given a new assignment in a different destination.

Task Force member Vladi Jones joined The Service Companies two months ago from a luxury hotel property in South Beach, Miami. During her time with us, she has already taken the lead on two hotel housekeeping  openings in Kentucky and the Bahamas; during her time in the Bahamas, she was also able to achieve a large increase in productivity for the property. Vladi is now working hard to complete another opening in South Beach. Her passion and hands on supervision makes Vladi a key member of the Task Force team.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born Slovakia and came to the UniteVladi Jones, housekeeping task forced States in 1991. In Slovakia, I was an elementary school teacher. To this day, it still gives me joy when I am able to teach someone something new. I did not speak any English, but I learned to overcome the challenge by not being afraid of making a mistake. Being a member of Task Force allows me to have a special bond with many people in our industry who, perhaps, have had some of the same challenges as I did many years ago. I am very passionate about cooking, gardening, boating and fishing! I also have two amazing kids, who are on their mission every day to make me a proud mom.

What is your professional background?

My professional background is in hospitality. In total, I have had 27 years of experience working in the Rooms Division. My hospitality journey started in 1991, where I started at a hotel property as a Laundry Attendant. Since then, I have had the opportunity to work in all areas and have held several leadership roles. I love working with housekeeping teams.

What led you to become a member of Task Force?

I saw Task Force as a great opportunity to work with many professionals who are as passionate about “housekeeping magic ” as I am.

What role do you play in The Service Companies’ property opening process? 

I have held lead roles during my last two assignments. I am now currently preparing for a new turn-key housekeeping account opening at a hotel in South Beach.

What have you learned during your time as a Task Force Member?

During my time as a Task Force Lead, I have had the opportunity to further develop my interpersonal skills. I have also learned more about the housekeeping operations in hotels and casino hotels. I went from a property with 1,800 rooms to a property with 162 rooms. The switch between two different properties within a short period of time has made me open minded, a quick thinker, and has given me the opportunity to utilize my expertise to solve problems and make the department more efficient.

What is your favorite thing about being a member of Task Force?

It allows me to work with many great individuals in different settings and each property has a different challenge.

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 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.

How to wow your guests – housekeeping service tips

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How confident are you that your associates are regularly looking for ways to fulfill requests or resolve problems before guests have time to think about them?

In the hospitality industry, this is the norm if you want to stand out and exceed guests’ expectations.  At The Service Companies, we partner with many properties and brands to improve hotel housekeeping management at our clients’ properties. While service cultures and standards differ across them, all of our clients have a similar desire to wow, delight, and add value and a personalized touch to the customer experience.

As I was inspecting a guest room a while ago, I noticed the guest’s toothpaste was squeezed to the last drop.  I immediately thought about that guest coming back after a long day without toothpaste and having to call and wait for more to be delivered. The natural thing for me to do was place another tube of toothpaste for the guest. This made me think – what seems to be an ordinary task for me, doesn’t come naturally to everyone.

During our corporate mandated daily pre-shift meetings, our housekeeping leaders make this service training a regular practice. It is important to share ideas and best practices with associates so they are confident and empowered to create more memorable moments.

The first step is learning to read cues.

Read Cues

How well do you know your guests? Is your guest a coffee or tea drinker? Do they prefer regular or decaf? Does your VIP guest enjoy red or white wine, diet or regular soda, ales or lagers?

Once your housekeeping associates are aware of what the guest has been using, empower them to place extra items during service. Your guests will definitely take notice and appreciate your attentiveness.

Simple Practices to Improve Hotel Housekeeping Management

A few simple practices our team employs:

  • Having a favorite beverage in a fresh bucket of ice waiting for the guest.
  • Leaving an extra bottle or two of water if the guest is a runner or utilizes the fitness center. Additionally, leaving a note and wishing them a great workout is a nice gesture.
  • Leaving extra tissues and/or tea service if you notice your guest is feeling under the weather or has the sniffles.  A “Get Well” note with the associate’s name offering additional assistance is a thoughtful touch.
  • Leaving them reading material such as a magazine or newspaper many properties stock. Provide this the afternoon or evening before checkout so they can take it along. Wish them a safe trip and hopefully a return visit soon. This is one of my favorites and it is very effective.

One drawback of travel is not having all the conveniences of home during a hectic business trip or jam-packed vacation schedule.  Implementing just one of these extra steps takes some of the planning and thinking off of a guest’s plate and creates more of those memorable experiences that your guest will look forward to coming back to.