Tatjana Ahmed, Housekeeping Manager, Grand Hyatt Dubai, focuses on how quickly housekeeping departments are adapting technology and the way forward.
It is written in large and bold letters - the housekeeping and cleaning industry is adapting to technology to increase efficiency, elevate the standards of cleaning and to provide a better guest experience. Gone are the days when housekeeping was seen as a lower class profession. The change from cleaning for appearance to cleaning for health has made cleaning jobs an integral and important part of life. Education and ongoing training is key, especially since the technology is undergoing constant change at a rapid pace. Therefore, we must look into the new skills that our workforce of tomorrow requires.
Our cleaning attendants are now usually equipped with a smartphone or tablet as well as with a vacuum cleaner. All our cleaning equipment is becoming increasingly more sophisticated and improving greatly the efficiency of the work they do. Therefore, learning how to operate robotic cleaning equipment and understanding how to remotely check on maintenance issues are the new subjects in the classroom.
Housekeeping applications The largest costs in a hotel are manpower. Hotels are demanding technology-based solutions that can enable them to reduce these costs and optimise manpower through innovative practices. Housekeeping applications that optimise these processes are very much on the rise. Some of the systems include scheduling of assignments, maintenance assignments, inventory control for linen and other guest supplies, minibar consumption, real time tracking, report lost and found and check lists. Further, they enhance the guest experience. All the attendants need to do is click on the guests’ profile and all the needs and wants are listed to provide guests with a most comfortable stay.
But technology goes beyond housekeeping applications. Our machines are connected as the Internet of Things has taken over - from automated dispensing to connected towel roll holders in washrooms to robotic cleaning machines all controllable on an online portal.
One gadget to look out for is the robot vacuum cleaner. The disc moves over the floor in a quiet and thorough manner. The cost savings on manpower are very obvious. Another innovation is the robot ‘Dash’, which delivers items to guest rooms. The robot can navigate between floors travelling at the same speed as a human, and can even call the lift using a special WiFi sensor.
When Dash arrives at the guest room, it telephones the guest to announce its arrival, delivers the requested items, and makes its way back to the front desk where it can dock itself into its own charging station.
Are we getting scared of losing our jobs as robots will take over? This is another topic altogether and needs to be discussed another time.