Akshi Singh, the Cluster Director of Housekeeping for IHG Hotels Kuwait, is known as a thorough professional with over 25 years of successful hospitality experience. Singh is not only looking after multiple properties but has also been a consultant for recruitment and services at the Bayan Palace in Kuwait. She manages a state-of-the-art laundry too. Besides, she is also the Association Head of the Kuwait Housekeepers Hub (KHH) and has been actively organising a number of luncheons, competitions and events for the housekeepers in Kuwait. She has received various awards including the Hotelier Middle East Award and Service Excellence Awards amongst others. Singh is an alumna of Dadar Catering College, Mumbai, India from the batch 1991- 1992.
An Army officer’s daughter and a mother of two, Singh began her career with The Oberoi Centre of Learning and Development (OCLD) and worked for the prestigious Oberoi chain of hotels in Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur and Shimla for the next nine years. She then joined the Hyatt group for the pre-opening of Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa and later moved to the Grand Hyatt Mumbai & Residences. While she was working for the Hyatt group she also assisted with the pre-openings of Park Haytt Siagon, Vietnam and Hyatt Regency Hua Hin, Thailand. After completing five years of her work experience with the Hyatt group Singh moved to Kuwait to join IHG and is currently managing the group’s three properties. She has been with IHG for the last 11 years.
While I was pursuing my Bachelors of Economics in Kolkata I came across a friend who spoke highly about the hospitality industry. It was then that I made my mind to have a career in this field and soon opted for a professional course in hotel management. I was selected as a management trainee by the Oberoi group after completing my hotel management degree.
Drive and passion
I truly believe in training and motivating my team. The working environment should encourage every staff to perform better which in turn will help them enhance their skills and benefit the property. I strongly believe in staff welfare and development and ensure that they are always motivated. We make sure that our team members are either promoted or getting transferred and I can proudly say that I have experienced the lowest resignations in my department. Moreover as the Chairwoman of the KHH I organise regular meet up for the housekeepers to exchange valuable insights and best practices. I have also participated in community services and have conducted several activities to raise funds and organise laundry trips for differently abled and kids suffering from Down syndrome. I am also an active member supporter of Green Engage’, ‘Reduction of Carbon Footprints’ and health awareness campaigns. Self-development is my key focus area as I believe that one can never stop learning and developing self. Apart from active participation in all IHG training programmes to enhance my skills I also attend the housekeepers meet in Dubai and India including several housekeeper’s events across the world. For instance, I have been to a linen factory in Turkey to understand and learn more about linen and its production. This in turn helped us to understand the handling of linen in our laundry department.
Every successful housekeeper needs to excel in expense management and yet deliver best services. Besides, addressing to the operational, brand and marketing issues the housekeeper should also keep up with the market trends and restructure the internal organisation if and when required. The IHG Hotels are innovators and leaders in the hospitality segment and I am proud to lead one of the biggest and best housekeeping teams in the region. Our housekeeping practices are very contemporary and digitised. We use the HOT SOS (maintenance system) interface and a digital system called “I CLEAN” for our hotel operations. We also adapt to the latest and eco-friendly chemicals for cleaning and laundry. On the other hand we are targeting to go plastic-free within the next two years. Besides, we are always working towards recycling and reducing our carbon footprint. We also give immense importance to training hence we have designated trainers in each department to ensure that our staff is complaint with the brand’s guidelines as well as to motivate our team members. My focus has always been on improving not only the financial results but also quality and guests recognition. Receiving positive guest comments for offering the best guest experience is the result of having a motivated team - always ready to chase perfection. Also, we give immense importance to review policies and procedures with greater emphasis on training at our property in order to be in line with the latest trends and standards.
Being in the hospitality industry for last 25 years I have achieved many milestones both at a personal and professional level. In fact, by working with renowned properties since the start of my career, I have learned to adhere to strict guidelines, best practices and working towards sustainable initiatives. My strategy has always been revolutionising and revitalising. In my career I have dealt with the most difficult task at a hotel with ease whether it’s day to day hotel operations or re-branding of a hotel. I have achieved this by being flexible and not always following the conventional way of doing things. I have instead come up with out of the box solutions. Streamlining operation effectiveness and implementation of measures to reduce running costs like including in-house marble polishing and in-house window cleaning services have resulted in savings of as much as 12,000 USD pm for both our hotels.
The best part of your job
The best part of my job is to help create a memorable and comfortable guest experience by offering them with a clean and beautiful ambiance. I feel proud to see my staff growing and evolving into better professionals and individuals. With the positive strokes we do have to face some challenges too. The most challenging aspect of our job is to create a harmonious balance between the team members, quality of services and the cost involved.
Effective and smart use of technology will help smoothen the daily operations in the housekeeping department. Also, having an efficient internal communication will ensure serving the best guest experience. In addition to this, every housekeeper should keep a track of the evolving trends and latest products launched along with sustainable best practices. All this will ensure that the housekeeping services are in sync with the need of the time.